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Tanzania coal exports exponentially soar as Europe flocks to Africa for natural resources

Tanzania coal exports exponentially soar as Europe flocks to Africa for natural resources

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European governments had already earmarked almost 500 billion euros ($496 billion) in the last year to shield citizens and companies from soaring gas and power prices, according to research by think-tank Bruegel.

In the last few months, Tanzania’s coal entered the European market, thanks to a contract between Ruvuma Coal Ltd. and Hong Kong-based Kenexon Co, according to the Citizen Tanzania.

Through the one-year contract, the companies in May transported 60,000 mt of coal to the Netherlands.

Tanzania's coal reserves are estimated at 1.9 billion tonnes, 25% of which are proven. According to reports, coal production reached 712,136 tonnes in 2019, compared to 257,321 tonnes in 2015 (+177%), according to Tanzania Invest.

Tanzania holds 297 million tons (MMst) of proven coal reserves as of 2016, ranking 50th in the world and accounting for about 0% of the world's total coal reserves of 1,139,471 million tons (MMst).

Tanzania has proven reserves equivalent to 904.4 times its annual consumption, according to the tracking website Worldometer.

This means it has about 904 years of coal left (at current consumption levels and excluding unproven reserves).

In June this year, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said discussions were underway to revive the Bagamoyo port project.

"The Bagamoyo port project should be implemented for the benefit of the country," President Hassan told a meeting of the Tanzania National Business Council at the State House.

She said the government is also in the process of reviving other flagship projects, including projects to mine coal and iron ore at Mchuchuma and Liganga in southern Tanzania.

Buyers in Europe and beyond are now vying to pay top dollar for coal from often remote mines in places such as Tanzania, Botswana and even potentially Madagascar, writes Reuters.

The 2015 National Energy Policy of Tanzania indicates that according to geological information, the country’s coal reserves potential could be 5 billion tonnes, according to energy analysts.

Coalfields with the highest potential are Ketawaka-Mchuchuma in the Ruhuhu Basin, the Ngaka fields in the South-West of Tanzania, and the Songwe Kiwira fields.

The resurgent coal demand, driven by governments trying to wean themselves off Russian energy while keeping a lid on power prices, clashes with climate plans to shift away from the most polluting fossil fuel, say climate change activists.

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