The National Development Corporation (NDC) of Tanzania is looking for US$ 500 million to set up the soda ash factory, which would enable it to exploit over one million metric tons of soda ash deposits in Lake Natron, bordering Kenya.
The corporation believes that the proposed plant would be able to generate US$ 300 million a year and could create 500 jobs.
NDC Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr. Abel Ngapemba said environmentalists still have their concerns over the project, but NDC would be working closely with the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) and experts from the University of Dar-es-Salaam in addressing the matter, reports East African Business Week.
The sensitivity of the area comes from the fact that 70 percent of the world flamingos breed at Lake Natron and this has raised concerns from residents and environmentalists, but the corporation is optimistic that the project can still take off without affecting the birds.
Mr. Ngapemba said the corporation is keen on the project but more research is needed in order to not affect the ecology of the flamingo breeding sites in the area.
In 2011, President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete called on the Ministry of Industry and Trade to fast track plans for the establishment of a soda ash factory near Lake Natron, saying the move would give a big boost to the country's economy.
Lake Natron, situated in northern Tanzania near Kenya, is rich in soda ash deposits estimated at 300 million tons and is an important habitat for 2.5 million flamingos and is home to endemic algae and some other invertebrates.
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