JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Tanzanian Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) has included Kibo Mining’s Rukwa coal-to-power project as a strategic component of the Tanzanian government’s National Energy Strategy, the coal explorer said on Monday.
The MEM would undertake to “participate proactively in procuring the establishment of this vital infrastructure node in the Mbeya region” and confirmed its support for the expedited development of the project, Kibo pointed out in a statement to shareholders.
The Rukwa project was situated close to the Mtwara Corridor – an area in which the government had committed to infrastructure development and which had seen recent multimillion-dollar investment in coal, coal-fired power stations and uranium exploration.
The most recent discussions between Kibo and the MEM would now allow the company to conclude the final selection process for an appropriate development partner acceptable to the company as well as the State.
Kibo CEO Louis Coetzee said the inclusion of Rukwa in the National Energy Strategy was the company’s most significant milestone since its readmission to the London Stock Exchange's Aim, in 2010.
“The Rukwa project is intended to be one of the cornerstones of a regional infrastructure development node on the Western gateway of the Mtwara Corridor, and we are honoured to have this opportunity to continue to build value for our shareholders and the people of Tanzania,” he commented.
Kibo was currently developing five project areas in Tanzania, of which the Rukwa coal project was the most advanced.
A significant mineral resource of thermal coal at Rukwa had already been defined, providing what the company believed to be nearer-term development and commercialisation potential.
“This is further supported by strong support expressed by the Tanzanian government for the expedited development of a coal mine and mine-mouth coal- fired power plant based at the Rukwa project,” the company noted.
Through a subsidiary of its majority-owned Mzuri Energy, Kibo signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012 with an Asian conglomerate to develop a 250 MW to 350 MW power station alongside the Rukwa coal project.