Tanzania and coal

From Global Energy Monitor

Tanzania, a country located in East Africa, possesses a considerable resource of low sulphur coal. Currently coal is exploited only on a small scale at Kiwira Coal Mine that operates in the Songwe-Kiwira Coalfield. There is potential for export to neighbouring African and Indian Ocean countries.[1]

Coal mining projects

Tanzania’s coal reserves are estimated at 1.9 billion tonnes, 25% of which are proven. The country's coal production reached 712,136 tonnes in 2019.

Kiwira Coal Mine

In June 2011, China Energy and Mines minister William Ngeleja said the country will invest $400 million in Tanzania’s Kiwira coal mine project estimated to generate 200 megawatts of electricity. The money comes under a soft loan arrangement. Five groups, including Tanzania's National Social Security Fund, applied to run the project, before the government accepted China’s offer.[2] It was announced in September 2011 that the mine would be run by the Chinese government, which invested 400 million US dollars in the mining project.[3]

Mchuchuma Coal Mine

In September 2011 China's Sichuan Hongda Co. Ltd. signed a $3 billion deal with Tanzania to mine coal and iron ore in Tanzania. The investment involves construction of the Mchuchuma Coal Mine and an accompanying 600-megawatt (MW) thermal power station. It is estimated that Mchuchuma coal deposits have more than 480 million tonnes of coal reserves.[4]

Ngaka Coal Mine

The Ngaka project is the largest operational coal mine in Tanzania and in East Africa and is situated in western Tanzania.[5]

The Ngaka Basin comprises the Mbalawala sub-basin in the south and the Mbuyura-Mkapa sub-basin to the north. Total proven coal resources amount to 367 million tonnes.[5]

The Ngaka Coal Project is operated by Tancoal Energy, which is a joint venture between the National Development Corporation of Tanzania (NDC) and Intra Energy Tanzania Limited (IETL), a 100% owned subsidiary of Intra Energy Corporation (ASX:IEC).[5]

Tancoal commenced mining operations at Ngaka in 2011. In FY 2020, sales were 523,027 tonnes, compared to 788,702 tonnes in FY 2019 (-34%). The decrease in sales was due to the effect of Covid-19 on the business of both domestic and export customers and competition from small miners. Production also decreased by 34% in FY 2020 to 496,852 tonnes, compared with 748,874 tonnes in FY 2019.

The Ngaka Coal Project is expected to produce between 2-3 million tonnes of coal for export. At an estimated maximum production rate of 4-5 million tonnes per annum, the Ngaka Coal Project has sufficient proven coal resources for over 50 years of profitable, low-cost production.[5]

Rukwa Coalfields Project

In 2016, UK-based energy and mining company, Edenville Energy Plc received a mining license by Tanzania’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) to develop its Rukwa coalfields project in the country’s southwestern region.

The Rukwa coalfields comprise the Mkomolo, Namwele, and Muze deposits, with 173 million tonnes of measured and indicated coal, sufficient to support a 120 MW coal-fired power plant for 30 years.[5]

In FY 2019, total production amounted to 37,239 tonnes, compared to 75,442 tonnes in FY 2018.[5] The company plans to increase to 10,000 per month, or 120,000 tonnes per annum in the near term.[6]

The latest 2019 annual report of Edenville points out that the Company still plans to pursue the coal to power project. However, in February 2019, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) informed Edenville that the Company had been unsuccessful in moving through the Request for Qualification process to supply power to TANESCO.[5]

Proposed coal-fired stations

Citizens Groups Campaigning on Climate Change

Articles and Resources


  1. "Sea B Gems" Tanzania Coal, accessed September 22, 2011.
  2. David Malingha Doya, "China Plans to Invest $400 Million in Tanzanian Coal Mine, Daily News Says" Bloomberg, June 26, 2011.
  3. "China to run Kiwira Mine" Daily News, Leonard Mwakalebela, September 22, 2011.
  4. "China co signs $3 bln Tanzania coal, iron deal" Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala, Reuters, September 22, 2011.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Tanzania Coal, Tanzania Invest, October 19, 2020
  6. Operations, Edenville Energy, Company Wesbite, accessed November 2020

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