Australian miner at odds with Minister Biteko has invested over 137bn/

22Aug 2019
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Australian miner at odds with Minister Biteko has invested over 137bn/

AN Australian Securities Exchange listed mining company which is at odds with Minister of Minerals, Dotto Biteko over irregularities in its partnership with Ngwena Tanzania Limited in implementing Ntaka Hill Nickel Project in Mtwara, said it has invested over U$60 million (over 137.9bn/-).

Mining Minister, Dotto Biteko when he visited Ntaka Hill Nickel Project in Mtwara last week. File photo.

In its quarterly report for year ending June 2019, Indiana Resources Limited said Ntaka Hill is an asset of high value because of increasing nickel prices at global markets. “Ntaka Hill remains an asset of key value and Indiana is keen to make sure the value of this asset is realised for shareholders and Tanzania,” the report signed by the company’s Chairman, Bronwyn Barnes and Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary, Jim Moran, stated.

It further pointed out that the invested money was spent on exploration at Ntaka  Hill which has been found to have significant  high-grade  intersections  recorded  and  large  mineral  resource  defined.

The second quarterly report for the year pointed out that Indiana’s board representative, Bob Adam met with a senior representative of the Ministry of Minerals in order to progress discussions with regards to resolution of tenure for Ntaka Hill and confirm commitment to progressing development plans for the project.

Putting its confidence in recent progress made by several companies such as Australian based peers, Walkabout Resources Limited, Black Rock Mining Limited and Kibaran Resources Limited in their discussions with Ministry of Energy, Indiana’s report stated that the company expects to get support and endorsement from the government.

“Indiana is encouraged by these developments and  remains  committed  to  working  with  the  Tanzanian  Government  on  a  suitable  development  plan  for  Ntaka Hill. Sulphide  nickel  is  a  key  component  of  the  lithium-ion  technology  underpinning  the  electronic vehicle battery  storage  market push and there has been a renewed focus on developing high grade nickel sulphide assets that can meet  this  demand,” the report added.    

“The  meeting  in  Tanzania  was  very  positive,  with  Indiana  confirming  its  commitment  to  progressing  development plans for Ntaka Hill and its willingness to engage with the government on ensuring changes to the resources industry legal and regulatory framework are incorporated into those development plans,” the second quarterly report stated.

To support its negotiations with government and demonstrate its commitment to Ntaka Hill, the company is actively working on a submission for the Ministry of Minerals that will address three key areas – regulatory, development and financing.

Minerals Minister Biteko who was appointed to the portfolio by President John Magufuli earlier this year and ordered to crackdown on illegal mining activities and loss of billions of shillings through smuggling and other irregularities, has questioned Indiana and Ngwena’s partnership which is not officially recognised by his ministry.

Biteko who visited Ntaka Hill mines in Mtwara last week met with Adam earlier this week demanding information relating to the Australian company’s legal status to justify continued partnership with Ngwena in implementing the nickel project.