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Tawoma: Policy needed to spur economic development through artisanal mining

24th January 2013
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The government has been urged to develop a consistent policy that would create steady and sustainable development in small-scale mining so as to jack up rural development economy.

 
This is one of the recommendations made by the Tanzania Women Miners Association (Tawoma) in its draft report titled Review of the Mining Act 2010 and Mineral Policy of 2009 to identify gaps on the rights and participation of women artisanal miners.
 
The report was prepared by Adam Mambi, who is a consultant and advocate of the High Court. 
 
The report said the policy should be based on four strategic pillars which are poverty alleviation, conduicive business climate for the small-scale miners, sustainability in mining, and stabilisation of government revenues.
 
Policy makers need to consider, understand and accept artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) as a long-term economic activity that needs to be developed, sustained and allowed to grow or improve, the report added.
 
The government should focus more on developing ASM as a business enterprise, remove and discourage restrictive permit provisions if any, it said.
 
According to the report, there is a number of reasons for artisanal to continue to operate within the informal sector. 
 
Complicated and bureaucratic legal requirements for formalising mining activities such as licensing, taxation and compliance with environmental standards may contribute more in making the miners to remain under the informal sector, the report stated.
 
Other factors that may contribute to small scale and mining to remain in the informal sector include registration of business or company, possession of a mining title and compliance with environmental legislation requirements (Environmental Impact Assessment -EIA).
 
It added that where communities have traditionally operated outside the formal sector, they may also be reluctant to be legalised, particularly where there are no obvious incentives to do so and where legalisation involves paying taxes that they would otherwise not pay.
 
The report also asked the government to be practically committed to supporting small-scale mining by facilitating the transformation of their present activities into more organised and modernised mining units.
 
Barriers to establishing a business, particularly the lengthy and complex business registration, incorporation and licensing practices have a disproportionately negative effect on women, it said, adding that often it makes it impossible for them to get started. 
In most African countries, governments regard artisanal and small-scale mining as an illegal activity.
 
The inadequate and unclear regulatory and policy framework may hinder formalisation of the small scale mining sector, it said. 
Artisanal and small-scale miners may be attracted to formalise and register their operations if they realise incentives and real advantages to doing so.
 
On the other hand, most women operating as artisanal miners, lack collateral to guarantee them to get financial support from commercial institutions. 
 
They also face poor access to markets and support services and low standards of safety and health, the report said.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN