Artisanal miners at risk of unemployment following mercury ban

03Apr 2021
The Guardian
Artisanal miners at risk of unemployment following mercury ban

​​​​​​​A huge number of artisanal miners are at risk of losing their jobs following decision by mining companies to reduce operating costs in protest to a government move to ban usage of mercury in smelting minerals.

The small scale miners told journalists who toured the mining site at Mpitipi village in Singida Region that mining companies spend millions in generating energy for smelting minerals.

One of the small scale miners, Mussa Maduhu said they have been using a lot of money to buy diesel because the electricity generation company has failed to connect power at the mining area.

He said due to the fact that miners use a lot of money in operating the mining they opt to retrench workers to save money.

“If the use of mercury is banned, we will fail to afford the costs of using alternative chemicals,” said Rebecca Mgana one of the miners.

Acting Commissioner for Energy in Singida Region, Lucy Kimaro said that authorities in Singida are working to address the challenges facing small scale farmers adding that various initiatives have been put in place.

“Lack of knowledge about chemicals is a big challenge among the processors. Therefore, it is our hope that the training will enable us to reduce chemical’s impacts to the environment and people’s health,” he said.

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