Due to its geological framework, Rukwa Region is endowed with abundant mineral deposits of different kinds including precious metals, base metals, other metals, gemstones, industrial minerals, and building materials. Table 11 shows the types of minerals and the locations where they may be found:
Table 11 Minerals of Rukwa and their locations
Although sulphur is not being mentioned, there are indications of the mineral being available in Sumbawanga Municipal area.
Hard rocks and sand are plentiful for building materials..
Except for the quantity of coal which is estimated to be 18 million metric tons, there are is no information on approximate quantities of the other various minerals in the region.
The mineral exploration and prospecting activities that have been done in the region is very minimal. Large numbers of the mineral occurrences are still unevaluated.
There are about 90 Prospecting Licences (PLs) held by different companies in the region but only 4 PLs are being worked actively. There are 30 valid Primary Prospecting Licenses (PPLs) for prospecting various kinds of minerals in the region. These small scale mineral prospectors help a lot to discover new occurrences of minerals and sometimes result into a mineral rush.
Rukwa Region has only one large scale mineral right. This Mining Licence is for gold located at Singililwa southeast of Mpanda. The licence number is ML 43/99 property of Kapufi Gold Mining limited. The company stopped production since 2002 due to technical reasons related to economic mining.
There are 205 valid Primary Mining Licenses for small scale miners in Rukwa Region. The licenses are for different types of minerals which are gold, lead, gemstones, coal and building materials. Sumbawanga District has 93 PMLs, Mpanda District 92 PMLs and Nkasi District 20 PMLs. A large number of these licenses are not active due to lack of capital for operating them.
Large scale coal mining has started in Sumbawanga rural district. A company named Upendo Group Ltd operating from Sumbawanga ventured in coal mining from 2004. It is currently extracting and supplying to consumers about 500 tons of coal per month. The firm has identified possible markets for a total of 6,000 tons per month but has not been able to supply the same due to i) inadequate operating equipment, and ii) poor road conditions making transportation of the coal to the markets very expensive.
Upendo Group is in the process of securing a bank loan for investing in the coal mining and its plans include producing coal of different qualities for industrial and domestic use.
Presence of favorable policies/acts and regulations (The Mineral Policy (1997), Mining act (1998) and Mining Regulations (1999)
Lack of Capital
Lack of Technology
Lack of Environmental Management Knowledge
Lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS
Lack of Information about Minerals
Natural forests reserves totaling 20 in number occupy 43% of the region much of them being in Mpanda district. Table 7 shows the areas covered by forests in every district.
Table 7 Area covered by Forests by District
A number of forest products are harvested from the Miombo Woodlands, which are predominant in Mpanda and part of Nkasi districts and where commercially valuable timbers such as Mninga (Pterocarpus angolensis) are found. Forest products include timber, fuel wood and charcoal, honey and beeswax. The timber finds its market locally in the region's towns but the bulk is exported to other regions such as Tabora, Manza, Dodoma , Morogoro and Dar es Salaam .
Of the 1.5 million hectares o the plateau, over 700,000 hectares of land are completely deforested resulting in great shortage of wood for both construction and fuel. This forces women to travel long distance searching for fuel supplies.
Efforts are being made to set aside specific areas and hills for regeneration, protect water sources and encourage Local Authorities to buy black wattle seeds for distribution and planting in the villages.
Honey and beeswax have for a long time been produced by traditional beekeepers especially in Mpanda District. Reliable production data is hard to obtain in virtually all districts in the region. However the Table 8 below provides information available on total production and value for the period of five years between 1997 to 2001.
Table 8 Honey and Beeswax Production (1997 2001)
Tanzania honey has proved to be among the best and could comfortably compete with honey coming from Australia , China , Mexico and Saudi Arabia if its potential could be fully taped. The current production of honey country wide is only about 3.5% of the production potential . Given the good demand and market for these products, this sub-sector should be developed and improved through the introduction of modern honey/wax production gear such as modern beehives ad protective gear.
Has the quality of honey in Mpanda been affected by the fertilizers being used for tobacco production?
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