According to Minister for Minerals Doto Biteko, 37 Chinese companies expressed interest after the government invited bids from mining firms to build smelters and refineries there.
“After carefully assessing the financial capability and history of those companies, we have issued licences for the construction of two gold refineries and a smelter,” Biteko said as cited by Reuters.
“We will also soon award special mining licences to two companies to build large-scale mines, whose individual investment is above $100 million,” he added.
The government said it had set up 28 mineral trading centers since March to improve revenue collection from small-scale miners.
“Gold worth a total of $60 million has been traded through the new mineral centers since March and the government has collected $3.3 million royalty and clearance fees,” Biteko said.
Tanzania is Africa’s biggest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali. Small-scale miners in Tanzania produce around 20 tons of gold a year but 90 percent is illegally exported, according to a parliamentary report.
The country’s President John Magufuli said revenue collection from mining had increased over the past two years, after his government tightened controls.
“African countries have not been benefiting from their natural resource wealth, including minerals” said Magufuli.
Gold exports are a key source of foreign exchange for the country. Central bank data showed Tanzania exported $1.549 billion-worth of the precious metal last year, up from $1.541 billion in 2017.
Some $130 million in mining revenue has been collected in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. That figure rose to $134 million in 2018-2019. The government aims to collect $204 million in 2019-2020.