DAR-ES-SALAAM, Tanzania has been losing trillions of shillings in revenue, according to a report sumitted by a committee formed by President John Magufuli to investigate the amount of copper and gold contained in mineral sand and its value.

The probe team has also recommended that the government reinforces its ban on mineral sand exports until the proper royalties are paid to the State, while investigations and legal steps are taken against employees involved.

The probe committee revealed that all minerals found in the 277 containers of mineral sands examined included gold, silver, sulfur, copper and strategic minerals worth between 829.4 billion (372 million US dollars) and 1.438 trillion shillings.

Presenting the report findings to President Magufuli at State House in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, Committee Chairman Professor Abdulkarim Mruma said his team unearthed huge quantities of gold concentrate in the mineral sand investigated at between 671 grammes per tonne and 2,375 gm per tonne, an average of 1,400 gm per tonne, meaning 28 kilogrammes of gold in one container weighing 20 tonnes of mineral sand.

So, using this average measurement of 671gm per tonne, the 277 containers detained at Dar-es-Salaam Port and dry port contains between 7.8 tonnes and 13.16 tonnes of gold worth 676 billion shillings, he explained.

Using the higher measurement, which is 2,375 gm per tonne, Prof Mruma said a 20-tonne mineral sand container will have 47.5 kg of gold, meaning the 277 detained containers will have 13,157.5 kg worth 1.146 trillion shillings. Therefore, the amount of gold found in the 277 containers is worth between 676 billion and 1.146 trillion.

Prof Mruma explained that the committee received reports from the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency (TMAA) and mining companies showing that the mineral sand had an average of 200 gm per tonne, meaning 4.0 kg per container.

Comparing the 4.0 kg with the average of 28 kg of gold, you'll find that this is a big difference. Therefore, the 277 containers will have 1.2 tonnes of gold worth 97.5 billion shillings, which is a small amount compared to the value unearthed by the investigation, of between 676 billion and 1.146 trillion shillings. This huge difference shows there are huge losses of government revenue and problems in computing royalties paid to the State, he stressed.

The committee also revealed that there were other strategic minerals present, which were not identified in the list of exported minerals by both the TMAA and mining companies worth between 129.5 shillings and 261.5 billion shillings,

The committee recommended that the government should ensure that smelters are constructed in the country as soon as possible, to process the mineral sand which will allow identification of all minerals present in the mineral concentrate.

It also recommended that the TMAA should seal the mineral concentrate containers immediately, to control cheating, after the sample have been taken for testing and for the mineral agency to test and identify all metals present in the mineral sand, which will also help in computing government revenue.

TMAA should also identify all minerals present in a mineral concentrate container regardless of what is given by the mining company in transportation documents, which will be useful not only to the government but also to the owner who will know the type of minerals present, Prof Mruma explained.