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Mining sector reforms to transform miners, jewellers

THE establishment of minerals centers of excellence and mining markets in the country will boom economic development if artisanal and small-scale miners are supported with all they need to produce and trade at their full potential, the university don has said.

“Small scale miners plays a major role in micro economy for their areas of working feels direct impact of urbanization, money earned is circulated directly in the circulation despite being regarded as environmental polluters,” said Dr Japhace Poncian, a researcher and Lecturer at the Iringa based, Mkwawa University College of Education (MUCE).

Mr Poncian said the government has been conducting various programs in the mining, opening up mineral centers, but more is to be done to support the small scale miners to benefit from their labor and natural resources.

“Small scale miners need support to grow to medium and lager scale miners. This can be done if the established centers of excellences go concurrently with offering skills, working tools and loans for them to have more capacity of improving their labor and earnings.”

He said that so far statistics show that the country has up to 1.5 million small scale miners scattered in different regions.

The southern highland regions, north-eastern and the lake zone regions have a good number of small scale miners.

The chain may indirectly benefit up to nine million Tanzanians as it is a quick option for the jobless population according to him.

The don also hinted that considering the country’s determination of industrialisation, the newly opened mineral markets must as well have ways of linking with the value chain of all mining stakeholders.

“Mineral markets established in many regions have positive results in combating mineral smuggling. They should have platforms for local jewellers processors to have access to raw materials and therefore, maximize earning and graduate into industries as well than just being centres for controlling mineral smuggling.”

In its research report released last year, the International Peace Information Service (IPIS) dubbed; Mapping artisanal and small-scale mining in northwest Tanzania: A survey on its nature, scope and impact, suggests that, artisanal and small-scale miners constitute a key livelihood and business opportunity in Tanzania.

It says that artisanal and small-scale miners, is moreover a relatively rewarding source of employment to a large proportionate of people.

The average monthly income of gold miners and processors lies between 82 and 110 US dollars, which is more than double the common wage for agricultural labour in Tanzania.

“We estimate that, in the four focal regions, up to 121,000 people are directly engaged in mining and processing in times of high production. When auxiliary services are added, this estimate rises to over 485,000 jobs,” the report reads further, citing four focal regions as Geita, Shinyanga, Mara and Kigoma.

IPS report also says that some outstanding the reforms should address more issues facing the artisanal and small-scale miners, including health and safety in their mining areas, avoiding use of toxic chemicals in processing mined stones. While work relations still poses a great setback.

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