ALMOST all mineral producing regions have identified potential areas for establishment of mineral centres as per President John Magufuli’s directive.
But, before setting up the centres, there will be a series of consultations for thorough discussions and agreement on the best operations of the centres.
Speaking after opening the stakeholders’ meeting here yesterday, the Minister for Minerals Dotto Biteko said as soon as President Magufuli ordered establishment of the centres, the Regional Commissioners’ (RCs) meeting was convened, with each RC identifying suitable areas for the centres.
“We convened the meeting of all RCs who identified suitable areas and these two days, we will meet with 130 district commissioners with minerals to solicit more views,” said the Minister.
The workshop which was jointly organised by the Uongozi Institute and the Ministry of Minerals will also discuss among others the proposed Mineral and Germ Houses Regulations of 2019.
According to the Minister, another directive by the president which has been worked out is about strengthening the Mirerani wall by installing the CCTV cameras with Mr Biteko confirming the job will now begin next week.
Together with installing the CCTV cameras, the minister said special scanners will also be fixed to detect trespassers and any attempt to steal Tanzanite, one of the precious minerals available only in Tanzania.
Commenting on the development of the small scale mining activities, the minister said the government has also decided to stop dishing out cash subsidies formerly allocated to small scale miners across the country following a report showing the money were massively misappropriated.
He could not disclose the actual amount, but at least revealed that almost 60 per cent of the funds were misused with some reportedly using it to buy cattle, adding that some of the culprits have been handed over to the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) for questioning.
However, the minister said it was agreed that the banking institutions should be approached to provide loans to small scale miners in serious need of start up and running capital but on condition that they must cultivate a culture of keeping their records properly.
On exploration of potential mining cites owned by small scale miners, the minister noted that his ministry has undertaken a survey on 76 demarcated potential areas countrywide and has allocated 8bn/- for surveys in this fiscal year.
“On the area of exploration I just want to put clear that the government will only provide exploration support to small scale miners who cannot manage the task. Otherwise the rest will have to carry out the exercise on their own according to the requirement of their licences,” warned the Minister.
Ahmed Gao and Francis Kiganga both small scale miners thanked the government for finally implementing an idea of establishing mineral and gem marketing centres saying the approach if properly implemented will benefit them and the country’s economy as opposed to the past.
Kiganga was of the view that for many years small scale miners were forgotten but much as the state has resolved to embrace them by coming with regulations that will govern marketing of their product, the better.
Members of the workshop came from twelve regions of Dodoma, Arusha, Geita, Shinyanga, Mara, Manyara, Kagera, Tabora, Singida, Mbeya, Morogoro and Ruvuma.