Soda ash mining in Lake Natron, Tanzania

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Lake Natron Resources Limited, a company jointly owned by the Government of Tanzania and TATA Chemicals Limited of Mumbai, India proposed to develop a soda ash facility at Lake Natron in the Arusha Region of Tanzania in 2006.The company plannned to construct a soda ash extraction and processing plant and associated infrastructure, a coal fired power station, road and rail links, and others at Lake Natron to produce 0.5 million tonnes of soda ash per year The plans have attracted concern and condemnation from around the world, sparking an advocacy campaign in early 2007 that led to the formation of the Lake Natron Consultative Group consisting of 48 member institutions in May 2007. Lake Natron is designated as a Ramsar site and is a crucially important breeding site for the Lesser Flamingo, with nearly all of East Africas estimated 1.5 - 2.5 million of this bird (75% of the world population) having been hatched at Lake Natron. The Lesser Flamingo is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List 2007, as it is vulnerable to disturbance or ecological change at a small set of key sites. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none"> BirdLife International, a global Partnership of national grassroots conservation organisations (including Nature Kenya) working to conserve birds, their habitats and biodiversity, has been at the forefront advocating against the soda ash project because the proposed plant poses major risks to the Lesser Flamingos. In addition, the scientific understanding of Lake Natron and of the Lesser Flamingos ecology is currently so scanty that any proposal for large-scale soda ash extraction poses unacceptable risks, and should not be allowed to go ahead. <br/><br/> BirdLife International has started a think pink campaign as a way of raising awareness on the threat to the Lesser Flamingo. The project will also threaten the livelihoods of the local Masai, both regarding their livestock and access to water and will also scupper the plans of several Masai Ranches to build a connection between Amboseli and the Masai Mara for tourism to see the flamingos. Tata chemicals formally exited the Lake Natron development project in January 2009. <br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Soda ash mining in Lake Natron, Tanzania</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/tanzania">Tanzania</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Northern Tanzania</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Arusha District</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>MEDIUM regional level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Biodiversity conservation conflicts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Wetlands and coastal zone management<br /> Mineral processing</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td>Soda Ash</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns">The company plans to produce 0.5 million tonnes of soda ash per year. The plant will have associated infrastructure, including a new tarmac road, living accommodations for an estimated 1,225 construction workers and 152 permanent staff and their families. In addition, the plant will consume 11.5 megawatts of power and utilise 106,000 litres of fresh water per hour. At this rate, the plant will consume 1,600,000 litres of water within 10 hours which is sufficient to meet a days needs for the 40,000 livestock in Magadi division. Fresh water is extremely scarce in this area; coming from the Ewaso Nyiro river system in Kenya and Pinyiny, Moinik and Ngare Sero rivers in Tanzania. Abstraction of such huge amounts of fresh water will therefore create a water crisis in the border area. As things stand, the water supply is not sufficient to meet domestic, wildlife and livestock and the proposed plant will completely destabilise any existing balance. <br/><br/></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>125,000 </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>450000000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>05/2007</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/tata-group'>Tata Group</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/india'><small>India</small></a> - <small> through Lake Natron Resources Ltd National Development Corporation of Government of Tanzania (Tanzania)</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Tanzanian Government; National Environment Management Authority;Uganda Wildlife Society;; Kenya Wildlife Service</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/corporacion-financiera-internacional'>CorporaciĆ³n financiera internacional,</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Nature Kenya; BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat; African Conservation Centre;Born Free Foundation; Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Law (CREEL; Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE;Djibouti Nature; East African Wildlife, Environmental Liaison Centre Intl.;, Ethiopia Wildlife and Natural History Society;Forum for Environment (Ethiopia);Game Rangers Association of Africa;Horn of Africa - Regional Environment Centre/Network; Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia;, Ilkisongo Pastoralist Initiatives;, Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET);, Kenya Alliance of Residents Association; Kenya Community Based Tourism Network (KECOBAT;, Kenya Water and Sanitation Network (KEWASNET;Kenya Wetlands Forum (KWF); Lake Naivasha Riparian Association; Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT); Tanzania, Maa Civil Society Forum;Miliru-Bushi Organization Kenya;Nature Uganda;, PIBI Biological Research Foundation;South Rift Association of Landowners (SORALO; The Heritage Society; Wildlife Clubs of Kenya (WCK); Wildlife for Sustainable Development, Youth For Conservation</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Indigenous groups or traditional communities<br /> International ejos<br /> Local ejos<br /> Pastoralists</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Development of a network/collective action<br /> Media based activism/alternative media<br /> Objections to the EIA<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Loss of livelihood</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>loss of revenue from tourism</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Proposed (exploration phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Application of existing regulations</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>More studies to be done on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the project.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Even though Tata Chemicals Limited pulled out, the Tanzanian government is committed to the project and continues to build the necessary infrastructure to enable the project kick off</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania; The Environmental Management Act 2004; The Tourism Act 2008; The Wildlife Conservation Act 2009; Water Resources Management Act 2009.<br/></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> (1)Think Pink campaign ( )<br/><a class="refanch small" href="www.birdlife.org" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (2)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.unpo.org/article/13509" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (3)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.birdlife.org/community/2011/04/fresh-concerns-as-president-orders-lake-natron-soda-ash-mining-fast-tracked/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Factory may destroy Natural Wonder:<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/jul/12/india.conservation" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Serah Munguti</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>08/04/2014</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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