The fact sheet’s case study, states “a small scale farmer and miner discovered gold in her upcountry farm in 2010. In order to get a Primary Mining License she has to follow ten lengthy procedures, which can take up to one year. Until the Zonal Mining Officer approves her request for a primary mining license she cannot be considered a legal miner.
On the other hand the Minister can issue within a short time a Prospective License (PL) to large scale miners. This license can give rights over large tracts of land including villages and sometimes already allocated land to small miners.
While the small miner needed permission from the village authorities to get a primary mining license, big miners don’t need this. According to the Mining Act the land belongs to the village government but the minerals in the same land belong to Central Government.”
According to the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, there are some concerns of small miners that are very genuine and the government is working to address them.
Recently, the Ministry held a meeting with artisanal miners in Dodoma to learn about the challenges they encounter while conducting their activities. The small mining operators highlighted some of the challenges such as lack of permanent mining areas and meager budget which do not benefit majority of them.
They said that the government should address the challenges to make the sector contribute fairly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
TOWOMA wants policy changes that will bring simple and transparent licensing system and new law that will clearly indicate access and use of mineral rights and land.
According to the ministry’s Medium Term Strategic Plan 2012-2016, although the government has taken efforts to provide extension services to small scale miners, small scale mining is still underdeveloped due to the use of inappropriate technology and lack of capital.
In 2010, the mining sector contributed 2.8 per cent to Tanzania’s GDP and employed about 14,000 people which some politicians and experts argue that the contribution is too small taking into accounts the big mining deposits the country is endowed with.
Chairperson of Tanzania Women Miners Association (TAWOMA) Eunice Negele says there are many areas in the country which are owned by large scale miners who do not develop them. It is high time the government repossessed them and allocated the same to small scale miners”.
Negele said unfortunately artisanal miners were suppose to register at the village offices but large scale miners do not go to the village because they secure big areas where by a site can involve almost 10 villages thus it is not possible for them to go and register in each village as a result they took the areas of small scale miners.
She criticizes the entire system of issuing license to small scale miners saying the responsible ministry should collaborate with the zonal mineral offices to identify small scale miners and henceforth issue them with licenses.
“More education should be provided to local government leaders who do not have mining ideas and encourage them not to harass small scale miners,” Negele adds
On market, Negele said the government should establish a joint market for artisanal miners to enable them sell their minerals at reasonable prices hence control illegal exportation of the country’s minerals.
She says small scale miners lack common market for selling their minerals as a result they sell them at exploitative prices hence fuel illegal exportation of the country’s minerals.
“If artisanal miners will have a joint market they will sell their minerals at justifiable prices without any inconveniences,” says Negele.
Tawoma Secretary General Shamsa Diwani stresses the need for the government to organize mineral trade fairs in the country to enable small scale miners to advertise and sell their minerals.
The government should also establish minerals marketing centers where the miners could sell the minerals, says Diwani.
“We want people from outside the country to come and buy the minerals from our country this will help the miners to benefit as well as the country,” she says.
Diwani says value addition to the minerals was crucial for the miners to earn more.
“When we export raw minerals we lose because those who buy them raw get profit fourth to ten times of the prices they bought from us…the government should train its people and provide them with equipment so that they can add value to the minerals before they were exported,” says Diwani
Another small scale miner George Mwaikela from Mbeya Region says lack of permanent areas for the artisanal miners is a big challenge facing them asks the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to address conflicts that occur between them and large scale miners by allocating permanent mining areas for artisanal mining.
He says most of the mineral rich areas are in the hands of the large scale miners leaving them with poor and no permanent areas to conduct their activities.
“As a result, we have witnessed an increased number of conflicts between small scale miners and the large ones fighting for the ever decreasing land,” he says.
This is not good for the development of the economy,” he said.
In order to avoid such disagreements, he says, the government should conduct a countrywide land survey and allocate specific areas for small scale miners.
A Treasurer with TAWOMA Leilla Jumbe says that the budget set aside for small scale miners is not enough to meet their needs.
Jumbe says the ministry of energy and minerals should involve them during the budget preparations so that it could easier for the ministry to know the actual needs of the artisanal miners.
She said only two people from TAWOMA have benefited from the funds while the association comprised of 500 members.
Chairman for the association of small scale miners in Mara region Stephano Moseti demands the government to name the beneficiaries of the budget set aside for artisanal miners.
Moseti says in 2010/2011 budget the government set aside 2bn/- and it has also allocated 8bn/- for the coming financial year 2020/2013 asking the government to for explain where the funds have been channeled.
“Every year the government is allocating budget for artisanal mining but I have not seen its impacts because the budget does not reach the intended people,” Moseti said.
Stanley Mshana Chairman for small scale miners association in Rukwa questions the criteria used to allocate budget for artisanal miners.
Chairman for Tanzania Mineral Dealers Association Sammy Mollel asks the government to eliminate taxes on machines used for cutting and polishing of minerals so as to add value to the country’s minerals.
Mollel says Mineral Policy of 2009 encourage small scale miners to add value to their minerals. He says if the government will exempt taxes on cutting and polishing machines as well as establishing colleges for people to lean on adding value to the minerals it will help to improve the sector in the country.
Responding, Minister for Energy and Minerals Sospeter Muhongo said that the government has started addressing some of the challenges facing artisanal miners.
He said that although the budget set aside for small scale miners was small but some miners have benefited from it.
The minister however admits the prevailing disputes between small scale and large scale miners saying that the government has started working on it including directing those who were retain big areas to return them to the ministry so that they can be distributed to other people.
The government also promised to create conducive environment for the mining sector so as to attract private companies to invest in value addition for the minerals and commissioned universities to conduct researches for successful mineral explorations.
The government has increased the budget from 2.5bn/- in 2011/12 to 8.9bn/- this year to support small scale miners.
The government promised to continue supporting small scale miners through provision of supportive extension services and establishment of mechanisms for accessing capital.
Presenting his budget estimates for financial year 2012/2013, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said the government has taken various steps to improve mining sector for the nation to benefit more.
He says the steps include strengthening the State Mining Corporation so that it can hold share on behalf of the government in new mining sites expected to be established.
Pinda says another step was to empower small scale miners to establish centers where they can access loans and buy modern tools for extracting minerals.
The centers will be established at Rwamgasa in Geita, Londoni in Manyoni and Pongwe in Bagamoyo.
The Premier called upon small scale miners, community surrounding mining areas and owners of big mining sites to cooperate closely so as to avoid unnecessary disputes.
In February this year while launching the Presidential Award on the Extractive Industry Corporate Social Responsibility and Empowerment (CSRE) programme President Jakaya Kikwete called upon large-scale mining companies to use their economic strength and technological capacity to help small mining operators improve their operating systems, increase productivity, and production.
“I believe, this will reduce jealousies, minimise friction, and avoid unnecessary hostility and increase friendship and cooperation. If large companies assist small operators and treat each other as partners, instead of competitors or contenders, it will very much improve relations between the two players.