Dar es Salaam. Over 55,000 tonnes of coal have been exported through Mtwara Port to European and Asian countries, including Belgium, France and Spain.
The coal exported last week was mined in the Kitai Mines in Ruvuma Region by Jitegemee Holdings and Mighty Logistics. Between November 2021 and September 2022, 548,000 tonnes of coal were exported through the port, according to the port's data.
During the period, Ruvuma Coal Limited shipped 526,000 tonnes, while Jitegemee Holdings Company Limited exported 22,000 tonnes. Prices for thermal coal used for electricity generation have leapt to record levels as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
This has led to many European countries losing access to vital supplies of natural gas and coal from their top supplier, Russia. Buyers from Europe and other regions are now competing to pay top dollar for coal coming from frequently inaccessible mines in nations like Tanzania, Botswana, and possibly Madagascar.
The resurgent coal demand, driven by governments trying to wean themselves off Russian energy, while keeping a lid on power prices, clashes with climate plans to shift away from the most polluting fossil fuel. Mighty Logistics operations manager, Mr Masan Fazal, said in Mtwara that over 100 trucks have been involved in the transportation of the 55,000 tonnes of the coal exported to the port.
"These trucks have created jobs for over 500 drivers since the commencement of operations. This significantly assists the government in addressing the challenge of unemployment in the country," he said.
"We commend the sixth-phase government for creating a conducive business and investment environment for local and foreign investors to benefit from the available opportunities in the country," he added. Acting Mtwara port manager Norbeth Kalembwe called on Tanzanian investors and businessmen to grab the available opportunities by using the port for the export of cargo.
"Since 2021, the port has been consistently receiving large ships for the shipment of coal to various locations across the globe. We have the responsibility of ensuring that the ships' arrival is consistently maintained for the benefit of individual players and the general public," he said.
Ruvuma regional resident mining officer Hamis Kamando said the region has 328 million tonnes of coal deposits. He said the mining sector generated Sh21 billion in revenue in the 2021/22 fiscal year, surpassing the Sh12 billion target by 175 percent.
"In the 2022/23 fiscal year, we have been given a target to collect Sh26.3 billion in revenue. Sh23.1 billion, which is equivalent to 87 percent of the target was collected between July 2022 and January 2023," said Mr Kamando.
According to him, the new revenue target has been raised to Sh35 billion by June, this year. Jitegemee Holdings Company Limited's supervisor and board member Boscow Mabena said a total of Sh7.01 billion has been paid to the government in terms of taxes and levies since the company's commencement of operations in 2021.