The government has intervened to resolve the long standing dispute between a large mining firm and small scale miners over ownership in a gold-rich village in Chunya District, Mbeya Region.
The conflict, pitting Shanta Gold Mining Company and small scale miners in Saza village within the district has prevailed for two years.
Addressing the villagers recently, Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Adam Malima, asked the small scale miners, who claim the area to be theirs, to submit their prospecting licence to his office.
“I have been informed that the current investor was issued with a mining licence in 2007. Now, I ask any one of you who claims he has a right in this area to submit his licence so that we fizzle out the matter,” he told them.
He said most of the small scale miners do not legalise the mining areas they possess, and as a result they cause problems.
“When a large investor is provided with a mining licence and intends to make further development by evicting people in the area it is when problems start,” he stated.
In order to minimise or do away with chaos, he urged small scale miners to secure licences and pay the rightful taxes to the government.
In another development, Minister Malima urged the management of Shanta Gold Mine to establish good relations with the community surrounding the mine.
He directed the firm to recruit a corporate external affairs officer to bridge the gap between the company and the community, hence avoid unnecessary conflicts.
Malima urged the company to recruit the villagers living in the area in order to improve their livelihoods.
“You have to recruit corporate external affairs officer and provide employment to youth so as to stimulate sound soicio-economic relations in the area,” he stressed.
Since Shanta started operations in the area few years ago, small scale miners have come up claiming that the mine belongs to them.