Covid-19 impacts on small diamond miners  

07Apr 2020
The Guardian
Covid-19 impacts on small diamond miners  

​​​​​​​ADVERSE effects from covid-19 pandemic are being discerned by small diamond miners in Shinyanga region who have been recovering the mineral from waste rock heaps following rapid drop of the buyers thereof.

Dotto Biteko

This was revealed early this week by the Secretary General of Shinyanga region Miners Association (SHIREMA) Gregory Kibusi as he spoke to reporters on the progress of the recovery of diamonds from waste rock heaps from Williamson Diamond Mines at Msagala village, Maganzo Ward in the vicinity of the mines.

Kibusi said the drop of diamond buyers, particularly for the granular type of the mineral whose major market was India which is now under lockdown from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In regard to miners’ complaints over the poor quality of the rock waste Kibusi said the allocated one million tons of rock will continue to be provided by the Mwadui Mines and called on the miners to be patient as the first batch of the rock waste has been already expended.

He said despite the existing challenges, six groups formed from about 100 groups are continuing with waste recovery and have already extracted 639 pieces of tiny diamonds.

On his part the Shinyanga region Minerals Officer Bariki Munuo said the extracted minerals are stored by the region’s mineral office due to lack of capital by diamond dealers – also due to Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the miners Simon Malila hailed the government strategy in enabling the entire exercise but appealed for quality rock waste saying recovery work will be more beneficial to them.

However despite the drop of diamond sales, the small miners said they were still optimistic especially after SHIREMA said it has succeeded to procure better quality rock waste from Mwadui Mines which saw miners fighting for it.

It is about a week now since small diamond miners in Kishapu District in Shinyanga Region started benefiting from the recovery of diamonds from waste rock heaps from Williamson Diamond Mines following directions from President John Magufuli.