22 September 2011

Tanzania to Export Rare Earth Mineral

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — Tanzania is set to venture to export a rare earth, bastnaesite, following the discovery of a wide zone of the rare earth of the low grade earth material used mainly in the production of hi-tec products

The rare earth mineral has been discovered in the course of drilling done by a Canadian firm, Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd, at the Tumbili target at the Wigu Hill Rare Earth Project some 170 km south-west of Dar es Salaam city, and 68 km south of Morogoro.
According to the Minister for Energy and Minerals Resources, William Ngeleja, said the discovery shows Tanzania has huge potential for mining, and urged small Tanzanian miners to venture into the exploitation of such rare minerals.

"The Government will look for ways and means to help small miners around Wigu Hill to access the deposits according to the laws of the land," said the Minister.

He said that the Wigu Hill's first competitive advantage is that it is simple carbon material, unlike many rare earths which are found in deposits that are complicated by radioactive materials or silica, creating all kinds of processing, and costs.
Mr Tony Harwood, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Montero Mining and Exploration Limited told The East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam that the completion of a 1,525m drilling program at the Tumbili target on the South East side of Wigu Hill carbonatite complex and the discovery of a broader zone of mineralized carbonatite breccias will now map Tanzania among the Rare Earth producers in the world.

He said at present China produces 97 % of world supply of Rare Earth Elements (REE's), and due to the 21st Century technological progress and environmentally sustainable development associated with the rising prices of REE's and China's control over export quotas, it is becoming imperative that the rest of the world develops new rare earth resources to meet the increasing demand from 'green technology.'

Demand for rare earth metals is likely to rise by 48% due to digital revolution and popular hi-tech products such as iPods and smartphones.

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