Sub-Sahara Mining & Industrial Journal
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Kabanga nickel, brand Tanzania: Can we take advantage

Nickel after extraction. Tanzania has potential to join other nickel producing countries around the globe after discoveries were made at Kabanga in Ngara District, Kagera Region. It is crucial that all the minerals exported must have their final products branded as having originated in Tanzania. This condition must be attached to all exported minerals.

Just a thought, what if Tanzania decided to pass a condition that any mineral exported from the country and used to produce various articles, then those finished productes must show that the raw ores did originate in Tanzania? We have been exporting minerals for ages, but whatever out it goes to make, it is never branded that it was from Tanzania.

Let us take the case of Tanzanite, which is only found in our dear motherland. Every jewellery in India worth a name, has some stocks. For a long time Tanzanite in India, Kenya, China and many other countries is treated as a viable investment. People buy it, keep and sell later, as it has an annually growing market. But is it branded Tanzania? Nope. Some buyers don’t even know where its origins are.

Now let us go to the world of nickel, which Tanzania has become part of it. Indonesia and Australia are said to have the world’s greatest nickel reserves. Indonesia is at the moment the world’s number one nickel producer. The first has 21 million tonnes nickel reserves and the second has 20 million tonnes, followed by Brazil with about 16 million tonnes.

In the recent past, nickel deposits in Tanzania have made headlines across the world. The Kabanga mining area in Kagera Region has 58 million tonnes ore which includes over 1.52 million tonnes of nickel. The project is expected to produce class 1 nickel, cobalt and copper refined metals.

Before we dig further, let us mind what Nickel is used for. The computers we use, the phones, which we use to get internet are partly made of nickel.

Note that home used products like spoons, gas cookers are made of stainless steel. For them to be durable, at the factory, nickel was used. Even coins are made partly using the metal in question.

And for the future, we have nations adopting the use of electric cars. This means that nickel will become more and more valuable as the demand for rechargeable batteries, which are all made with nickel alloys, increases. Actually all the metals at Kabanga – nickel, copper and cobalt, are VERY important for the Electric Vehicle (EV) battery production.

In February last year, I wrote in this space that Tanzania, should not export graphite, but instead should work hard to become the number one producer of electric vehicle batteries! America, Europe and Scandinavian nations are racing against time to fully adopt the use of electric cars.

My concern was mining of graphites in Mahenge, Ulanga District, for export, which are used also as resources for making batteries for electric vehicles.

Imagine car batteries made with Tanzania Nickel or graphite, then the finished products are shipped to Tanzania as imports made in another country. It makes one feel bad, as much as it is business and no illegality has been done.

In Tanzania’s long walk to adopting usage of electric cars, recently French minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness Franck Riester launched electric cars in Dar es Salaam, thanks to partnership of several firms in the country.

The firms aim (not to make) but to convert from diesel engine cars into an electric motor, powered by energy photovoltaic.

This could be a baby step, but offers a big hope, that soon than later, we can have electric cars, or at least accessories made in Tanzania. We need to take up brand Tanzania to new levels, by producing finished products, with proudly made in Tanzania, branding.

It would be great if finished car batteries needed by electric cars in USA, China, India and other nations would have a market of “made in Tanzania” brand. Maybe I am dreaming, but I believe this is very possible.

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