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Tanzania: Lake Natron mining plant must go ahead

A soda ash mining plant planned for Tanzania“s Lake Natron, the breeding ground for east Africa“s endangered lesser flamingos, must go ahead, according to President Jakaya Kikwete.
“There is no nee…

A soda ash mining plant planned for Tanzania“s Lake Natron, the breeding ground for east Africa“s endangered lesser flamingos, must go ahead, according to President Jakaya Kikwete. “There is no need for further delay of the project, which will give the country“s economy a big boost,” Kikwete said. Kikwete said Lake Natron“s reserves of soda ash deposits were big enough to make Tanzania the world“s leading producer of the product. The plant, which will be able to process up to 500,000 tonnes of soda ash per year, has attracted criticism from environmentalists who say that the project and its associated infrastructure will destroy the flamingos“ breeding ground. According to Kikwete, however, destruction of the breeding grounds could be avoided. “We cannot continue with poverty while we have vast resources, including our minerals that are lying untapped. We can just apply the right technology that is not harmful to flamingos,” he said. Industry minister Cyril Chami said that environment and social impact assessments should be completed by the end of April. The plant, which was put on hold in 2008 on environmental concerns, will be built and operated by Tata Chemicals, will feature a grid of pipes running across the lake, as well as infrastructure for workers on the shore.

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