Tanzania is expected to export the first consignment of iron ore and steel in four years, according to Tanzania’s National Development Corporation (NDC).

The NDC announced this month that the sector is set to produce 1.1-million metric tonnes annually.

Tanzania is set to be one of the top four iron producers in Africa, once commercial production of the commodity takes off, the NDC said in a statement.

Iron processing complex

Acting NDC MD Mlingi Mkucha Tanzania’s told East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam that an iron and steel metallurgical complex is in the works, which will result in the creation of hundreds of job in the country.

He said that the NDC received two mining licenses for processing plants, which plan to start operating in early 2015.

The two licenses for Liganga Iron Ore and Mchuchuma Coal Mine were presented by the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo.

Plant construction

“The construction of the iron ore mining and iron smelting plants at Liganga will start early next year and production is scheduled to start in 2018,” Mkucha said.

The construction is a joint venture between China International Mineral Resources (TCIMRL) and NDC. About $3 billion will be spent on both projects.

“As we will be producing 1.1-million metric tonnes a year, Tanzania will save a lot of revenue as the importation of iron will be reduced to pave way for local production,” commented Mkucha.

He said considerable iron and steel are imported for the construction of bridges and high-rise buildings. These imports can be steadily reduced once local production gets underway.

Iron ore deposits

According to the study, more than 364 million tonnes of coal and 219 million tonnes of iron ore deposits have been confirmed at the Mchuchuma and Liganga projects.

It is estimated that three million tons of coal will be mined annually and it will take more than 100 years and 2.9 million iron ore deposits every year for not less than 90 years.

The Liganga Iron Ore project is the biggest in Tanzania. The project is being developed by TCIMRL as an integrated project with Mchuchuma.

The Liganga iron ore mine and Iron and Steel Complex is expected to produce one million metric tonnes of iron and steel products, vanadium pentoxide and titanium dioxide.

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