Sunday, August 5, 2018


  Malunde       Sunday, August 5, 2018

By Andrew Kuchonjoma – Songea

Coal mining at Ruvuma Region in Tanzania is a silent killer of living organisms into water bodies such as in Lake Nyasa. 

The government of Tanzania should be congratulated for discontinuing transportation of coals by using ships, boats and any kind of transportation across Lake Nyasa in order to conserve and control water pollution and to safeguard living organisms into water bodies. 

The government stopped transportation of coals after detecting that, minerals when touching water, tends to create poison which kills living organisms into water including fish which were found dead and float over the water surface at Lake Nyasa in 2013. 

Most of Tanzanians do not know that, coal mining has negative impact in environmental aspects if its extraction conducted locally or without regarding precautions on environmental aspects. 

Before, in Ruvuma Region if not in Tanzania, nobody thought that coals can lead to damages or death of living organisms into water bodies till the episode occurred when fish started to die and float over the water surface of Lake Nyasa in 2013. 

Majority around Lake Nyasa were not aware if the incident caused by coals which dropped into water by ships during transportation of it across the lake towards Malawi and Itungi Port at Kyela in Mbeya Region. 

As a results most of people said the incident was due to the rapid movement of current water underground of the Lake and others believed that was superstition done by some aged people around the Lake Nyasa and some of them argued that was poison immersed in Lake Nyasa by the Government of Malawi who claimed that Lake is belongs to them. 

So, that rumors was spread all over the Ruvuma Region and fishermen stopped fishing temporally and people in Ruvuma disagreed to eat fish from Lake Nyasa because of their wrong perceptions. Remember by that time the government of Tanzania and Malawi under President Joyce Banda were not in a good term due to misunderstanding of the country’s borders. 

Therefore, I went to investigate at Lake Nyasa and it was true that fish were dying and float over the water surface while besides Lake Nyasa at Ndumbi area I found a bulk of coal which has been set aside ready for transportation. Luck enough, at the ground of the Lake, I found pieces of coals which was fallen down during shipping and the water looked black in colour. 

Hence, I went back home at Songea town and I made a call to geologist Eng. Emmanuel Nyamusika who was working at MANTRA company dealing with Uranium extraction at MkujuNamtumbo Ruvuma in order to get a scientific clarifications of coals. 

Nyamusika said, during extraction of coal there other types of minerals found within, such as Pyrites and coal mining activities have exposed rocks containing the sulphur-bearing mineral pyrite. Pyrite reacts with air and water to form sulphuric acid which cannot support fish communities in water such as in Lake Nyasa. 

Apart from Pyrites there are Coal sludge, also known as slurry, is the liquid coal waste generated by washing coal. It is typically disposed of at impoundments located near coal mines, but in some cases it is directly injected into abandoned underground mines. Since coal sludge contains toxins, leaks or spills can endanger underground and surface waters. 

One of the most serious environmental concerns associated with coal mining is the production of acid mine drainage. Coal mining exposes sulfur-bearing minerals to atmospheric oxygen and water. Pyrite is the principal source of acid production in coal spoils (Rose and Cravotta, 1998). Concerns associated with acidic coal-mine drainage include sedimentation of chemical precipitates, soil erosion, and loss of aquatic habitats in contact with waters with high metal loads (Williams et al., 2002). A bimodal distribution of coal-mine drainage has been observed, with acidic (pH 3–5) and near-neutral (pH 5–7) pH values (Brady et al., 1997). 

So, up to the moment the bulk of coal which has been set aside Lake Nyasa is still there and during the rainy season coal flow towards Lake Nyasa although the National Environmental Monitoring Council (NEMC) this year (2018) ordered the TANCOAL Mining Company to remove it immediately for the sake of rescuing living organisms in Lake Nyasa and people along the lake who use water for home consumption. 

When a Journalist of this article asked Manager of TANCOAL Mining Company David Kamenya said it is true that the bulk of coal are still there but there are in process of removing them because they are waiting for the bidder to start removing them and sand back to the camp of TANCOL Company at Ngaka Mbinga in Ruvuma Region. 

The government of Tanzania must cut across to make sure that, the bulk of that coal found at Ndumbi area are removed as soon as possible for the sake of rescuing the life of people, aquatic organisms, flora and environment in general. 


The production of coal in Tanzania has largely been underdeveloped for many years. Tanzania has an estimated 1.9 billion tones of reserves and is believed to have the largest reserves of coal in East Africa.

Coal reserves in Tanzania are estimated at 1.9b t, 25% of which are proven, according to the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency (TMAA). Production of bituminous coal in Tanzania rose significantly during 2010–2013, from 179t to 128,920t. Coal in Tanzania is currently exploited in small scale at Kiwira Coal Mine in Mbeya Region and Tancoal Energy Limited Mine at Ngaka in Ruvuma Region.

Kiwira Coal Mine 

The Kiwira Coal Mine is 100% owned by Tanzania’s State Mining Corporation (STAMICO). STAMICO owns a 25-year special mining license within the Ivogo Ridge of the Songwe-Kiwira coalfield which is situated South-East of Mbeya City within Ileje District. The Ivogo ridge is estimated to have over 35m t of reserves. STAMICO is now looking to develop a 1.2m t per year opencast coal mine and a 200-MW thermal power plant (TPP) at Kiwira.

STAMICO’s development plan also includes expansion of the existing underground mine to increase coal production from its designed capacity of 150,000t to 300,000t annually. To achieve this STAMICO is looking for a contractor to develop the project. According to an earlier tender issued by STAMICO, the joint venture partner is expected to provide 100% financing of the project and participate in the operations of the project. 

Ngaka Coal Project

The Ngaka Coal Project is operated by Tancoal Energy, which is a joint venture between the National Development Corporation of Tanzania (NDC) and Intra Energy Tanzania Limited (IETL). The Ngaka project is located in South-Western Tanzania. The Ngaka Basin comprises the Mbalawala sub-basin in the south and the Mbuyura-Mkapa sub-basin to the north. Tancoal has proven coal resources of 212m t, and expects this figure to increase significantly as further drilling at Mbalawala and Mbuyura-Mkapa is conducted.

Tancoal commenced mining operations at Ngaka in 2011, with the initial goal of selling up to 250,000 tons per annum (Mtpa) of unwashed coal to Tanzania’s domestic customers. The Ngaka Coal Project is expected to produce between 2-3Mtpa of coal for export. At an estimated maximum production rate of 4-5Mtpa, the Ngaka Coal Project has sufficient proven coal resources for over 50 years of profitable, low-cost production. 

The currently exploited coal in Tanzania is used for industrial applications. Tanzania’s industries use coal for thermal applications, particularly in cement factories and agro-processing industries, while coal briquettes for cooking are being promoted. Tanzania Coal Potential The 2015 National Energy Policy of Tanzania indicates that according to geological information the country’s coal reserves potential could be 5b t. Coalfields with the highest potential are Ketawaka-Mchuchuma in the Ruhuhu Basin, Ngaka fields in the South-West of Tanzania and Songwe Kiwira fields.

Rukwa Coalfields Project At the beginning of 2016, UK-based energy and mining company, Edenville Energy Plc (LSE:EDL) was granted with a mining license by Tanzania’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) to develop its Rukwa coalfields project in the country’s south western region. 

The company plans to invest USD176m in an open-pit coal mine and a 300MW coal-fired power plant. According to MEM, the coal-fired power plant is planned to start construction works between February and April 2017. Tanzania currently generates less than 1% of its total installed capacity of 1,754MW from coal-fired power plants that are fully supplied by imported coal according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

In 2013 Tanzania imported USD1.35m of coal briquettes to supply its coal-fired power plants, mostly from Malawi, accounting for 86% of the total imported according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). According to Edenville, the Rukwa Coalfields could potentially help diversify Tanzania’s energy feedstock in partnership with a power provider. 

Tanzania Rukwa Coal Project

Tanzania Energy May 31, 2017 Rukwa Coal to Power Project Receive Government Request to Go Ahead London-listed energy and mining company Edenville Energy (AIM: EDL) has recently announced that it has received a formal request from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.

Kibo Mining projects in Tanzania

Tanzania Mining March 2, 2017 Pinewood and Morogoro Uranium Coal and Gold Projects to Cease Kibo Mining (AIM: KIBO; AltX: KBO) announced on 24th February 2017 that it will cease activities at its Pinewood and Morogoro uranium coal and gold.

Mbeya Coal Power Project

Tanzania Mining March 1, 2017 Mbeya Coal to Power Project Reach Advanced Stage Kibo Mining (AIM:KIBO, JSE:KBO), a Tanzania focused mining company, recently announced that the Mbeya Coal to Power Project has reached a very advanced stage following.

Tanzania Rukwa Coal Project

Tanzania Mining February 7, 2017 China to Support Rukwa Coal to Power Project Development UK-based energy and mining company Edenville Energy (AIM: EDL) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chinese hydropower company Sinohydro Corporation for codevelopment.

Ngaka Coal Power Station

Tanzania Mining January 9, 2017 Ngaka Coal Mine Achieve Record Sales in December 2016 Tanzanian based coal exploration and development company Tancoal Energy achieved record coal sales of 38,877 tons in December 2016 from its mine at the Ngaka… Tanzania Rukwa Coal Project Tanzania Mining January 3, 2017 Proposals Received for Construction of 120–135MW Rukwa Coal Power Plant UK-based energy and mining company Edenville Energy (AIM:EDL) has recently received several technical and financial proposals for the construction of a 120–135MW power plant at… Ngaka Coal Power Station Tanzania Mining January 2, 2017 Ngaka Coal Production Capacity Set to Increase Tanzanian based coal exploration and Development Company Tancoal Energy is set to increase the production capacity at the Ngaka coalfield in southwestern Tanzania.

Ngaka Coal Power Station Tanzania Energy November 2, 2016 Australia and China to Develop 270MW Ngaka Coal Power Station Australian mining company Intra Energy Corporation (ASX:IEC) and Chinese hydropower company Sinohydro Corporation will jointly develop the 270MW Ngaka coal power station in south-western Tanzania. 

General Electric Mbeya coal power project Tanzania, Tanzania Energy September 21, 2016 General Electric to Participate in Mbeya Coal to Power Project Kibo Mining (AIM:KIBO, JSE:KBO), a Tanzania focused mining company, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with American corporation General Electric (NYSE:GE) for the development, tanzania minerals occurence Tanzania Mining May 26, 2016 Liganga Iron Ore and Mchuchuma Coal Projects to Start in 2016 The Liganga iron ore and the Mchuchuma coal mining and power projects, worth USD3bn, will be implemented by the Tanzania China International Mineral Resources Ltd.

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