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Tanzania Gold Shipments Increase to Record, Diamonds Decline

Tanzania, which vies with Mali to be Africa’s third-biggest gold producer, increased shipments of the metal to a record last year as prices climbed.

Exports grew to $1.9 billion from $1.4 billion a year earlier, according to provisional Mines Ministry data provided by acting Commissioner Ally Samaje. The central bank will release final data later this year. The value of gold shipments rose even as output dropped to 37,000 kilograms (81,571 pounds) from about 40,000 kilograms a year earlier, he said.

“The increase in exports is attributed to higher prices of gold on the international market,” Samaje said in an interview in Arusha, 330 kilometers (205 miles) north of the capital, Dodoma. Apr. 27. Bullion for immediate delivery rose 13 percent to $1,563.70 in London last year.

Tanzania earned 876.3 billion shillings from its gold, silver and copper resources since 1998, when gold mining began in the East African nation. African Barrick Gold Plc and Resolute Mining Ltd. own mines in the country. Total receipts from minerals increased to $2 billion last year from $1.5 billion in 2010, generating 2.6 percent of gross domestic product in the region’s second-biggest economy.

Gold production may drop further next year when African Barrick’s Tulawaka mine and Resolute’s Golden Pride operations are scheduled to be closed, according to Samaje.

“In Tulawaka, Barrick will conclude surface mining next year,” Samaje said. “They have an option to go for underground production, or close. We have already given them permit for underground production at Tulawaka.”

Deo Mwanyika, vice president in charge of corporate affairs at African Barrick, didn’t answer his mobile phone when Bloomberg called three times today seeking comment.

Feasibility Study

African Barrick’s Nyanzaga project in Sengerema district has yet to produce a feasibility study and the process may take as long as four years before production starts, Samaje said.

“The upcoming projects will still take time, which means our ambition of reaching annual production of 50,000 kilograms may not be achieved soon,” he said.

Gold output in Tanzania peaked at 48,000 kilograms in 2004, from which the country earned $596 million in shipments, according to the ministry’s data. The other company operating in Tanzania is AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., which owns the Geita Gold Mine, the biggest by output.

Shipments of diamonds dropped to $7.5 million last year, the lowest in 11 years, from $16.3 million in 2010, as output dropped to 28,377 carats from 80,498 carats, the data showed.

“This is because production was stopped at Mwandui to rehabilitate the old processing plant,” Samaje said.

Shipments of tanzanite dropped to an estimated $22.8 million last year from $25.4 million in 2010, even as production increased 17 percent to 15,000 kilograms (33,000 pounds) in the same period, according to the data.

Silver exports jumped to $11.6 million from $7.7 million, as output fell to 12,000 kilograms from 10,400 kilograms, while copper shipments fell to $30.2 million from $37 million, according to the ministry.

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