DAR-ES-SALAAM, Tanzanian President John Magufuli has ordered an immediate stop to the issuance of mining development agreements (MDAs) to investors until the government has carefully and strictly scrutinized their economic advantages and impacts.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai, has announced the formation of a special nine-member task team to assess diamond mining activities in the country as Tanzania takes steps to curb undesirable practices in the country's mining sector. The task team will begin work from Monday and has 30 days to accomplish its task.

President Magufuli, who spoke to residents in Geita in northwestern Tanzania, mainly members of the small-scale mining community undertaking their activities in different parts of the region, said he had also called for small-scale miners to continue with their activities while the State reviewed mining practices governing the entire sector.

He said that he had directed the Commissioner of Mines and the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to embark on a fresh modus operandi pertaining to the issuance of mining development contracts, while fully informed of the total mineral resources foreign investors are invited to exploit in the first place.

We need to carry out a thorough scrutiny of the total value of our mineral resources first before giving the green light to foreign investors to dig them up. Suppose the estimated value of our mineral resources is 400 trillion, let us know their incurred investment costs and then talk of a win-win agreement, said the President.

Tanzania needs to be well prepared to counter all tricks by investors, who should be made aware of clear demarcations between their rights and those of the nation, before the line is ultimately drawn, leaving every part satisfied on the sealed deal.

The time has come, the President reiterated, where the country should gain substantially, equitably and profitably from its precious resources, getting rid of irritating clauses like four per cent royalties previously agreed in the abolished outdated MDAs.

It does not click well in mind that an investor comes here and finds us with our land and gold in it, human capital and uses our paved roads let alone enjoying lots of tax exemptions, yet we end up receiving a meagre four per cent in royalty ... we cannot repeat these mistakes again, he said.