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By Fumbuka Ng‘wanakilala
DODOMA, Tanzania, June 8 (Reuters) - Tanzania plans to introduce a 1 percent clearing fee on the value of mineral exports in 2017/18 (July-June), its finance minister said on Thursday, part of government measures aimed at getting a bigger share of revenues from the east African country’s natural resources.
“The government will not allow the direct export of minerals from mines,” finance and planning minister Philip Mpango said in his budget speech in parliament.
“The government will set up clearing houses at international airports, mines and exit border points where a 1 percent clearing fee will be imposed on the value of mineral exports.”
Mpango said the government would announce more details on the new mineral clearing fee at a later date.
Last month, President John Magufuli fired his mining minister and the chief of the state-run mineral audit agency after an investigation into possible undeclared exports by mining companies.
A second audit of the mining sector is now underway after Magufuli said the first audit committee said it found Acacia Mining had 10 times more gold in its containers than the company had declared, as well as undeclared minerals such as iron and sulphur.
Acacia has denied any wrongdoing and said the state’s audit of the company’s gold and copper ore was inaccurate and has said it would consider its options in the east African country.
Introduction of the clearing fee also comes after Magufuli ordered a ban on exports of gold and copper concentrates in March to push for domestic value addition of minerals through the construction of a copper smelter.
Magufuli also announced in May that his government would enforce a new rule requiring mining companies to list on the country’s stock exchange by August 23.
Major foreign-owned mining companies in Tanzania that will be affected by the requirement to list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange include Acacia Mining, AngloGold Ashanti and Petra Diamonds.
Tanzania is Africa’s fourth-biggest gold producer and also has vast deposits of coal, uranium and precious gemstones.
Magufuli said he hoped the listings would bring more transparency and offer the public a share of the mining industry’s profits.
Since coming into office in November 2015, Magufuli has targeted large companies, particularly mining and telecoms businesses, in a crackdown on tax evasion. (Reporting by Fumbuka Ng‘wanakilala; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Mark Potter and Jane Merriman)