DAR ES SALAAM, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian parliament said on Sunday it will review the east African country's mining contracts with foreign firms aimed at improving proper documentation of exported copper concentrates for the benefit of the country.
The parliamentary action came just a day after the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) in collaboration with security agents impounded over 260 export-bound shipping containers with copper concentrates from Buzwagi Gold Mine (BZGM) stored in Dar es Salaam.
Last week, Tanzanian President John Magufuli visited the Dar es Salaam port and ordered the seizure of 20 containers ferrying copper concentrates from the same mining firm.
On Sunday, President Magufuli sacked the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Justin Ntalikwa, apparently in connection with the copper concentrates exports.
Job Ndugai, Speaker of the National Assembly, accompanied by a team of Members of Parliament, inspected the seized containers with copper concentrates at the Dar es Salaam port and said the parliamentary review team will analyse the process of transporting the copper concentrates and how they were exported abroad for smelting.
"There has been a feeling that we are being cheated as a nation on this issue, therefore as parliament we have decided to play our role of advising the government on the issue," said the House Speaker.
Ndugai added: "We want to get details of how the copper concentrates are analyzed, packed and exported from the source. This task will also involve reviewing mining contracts."
Deusdedit Kakoko, TPA Director General, said more than 50,000 containers with copper concentrates move out of the country every year.
Kakoko said since the country passed laws to allow the exportation of copper concentrates in 1998, over one million containers with copper concentrates have left the country.
He said newly installed scanners at the port have helped to a large extent to seize containers ferrying copper concentrates, adding that there has been a good collaboration from various governments' agencies in seizing the containers.
"We are sure that the copper concentrates in these containers have 90-percent mineral content, therefore we need a special team that will carry out a second analysis of the concentrates so that we find out what the content is," said Kakoko.