GEITA: When the Geita Regional Commissioner, Hon. Martin Shigela, visited the 2023 Tanzania Mining & Investment Forum at the JNICC on the final day, he cited the opportunities arising from the presence of the major company, Geita Gold Mining Limited (GGML), as a source of economic growth for the region.
In addition to GGML, medium-sized companies and small-scale miners were also cited as boosting the economy of the region, which produces 60 per cent of the country’s gold.
Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam at the JNICC, where Prime Minister Hon. Kassim Majaliwa officiated at the closing ceremony, Shigela said they had come to see the direction of the mining sector, the new technology being used and how small-scale miners could use it.
He said GGML was one of the big companies that was leading in terms of paying taxes in the country, but also in terms of gold production.
He said that President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s efforts to administer legislation, policies and guidelines that require the Ministry of Minerals to ensure that small miners participate in mining through the issuance of concessions have further harmonized the sector.
He cited the example of the Geita region, where about 30 per cent of the gold produced comes from small-scale miners, while 70 per cent comes from large-scale miners.
“The implication is that the mineral resources that exist in our Geita region should benefit all Tanzanians including those with capital and those without capital who also want to enter the mining sector and the only region that can safely mine is Geita.
He said that during the two years of President Samia’s administration, more than 47 tonnes of gold worth six trillion shillings were produced, of which 11 tonnes came from small-scale miners and 36 from large-scale miners.
In addition, he said that the experience they have gained in the mining sector includes earning foreign exchange by selling gold: “In terms of employment, for example, GGML alone has created jobs for more than 6000 Tanzanians.
“Many Tanzanian companies supply goods and services to GGML, and it’s annual purchases alone amount to more than a trillion shillings. The company buys food, clothing for mining activities, it buys fuel, it uses trucks to transport goods, it uses cars and buses to transport workers, all these products and services are available in Geita and supplied to GGML,” he said, adding;
“But there are operators of guesthouses and hotels who provide accommodation for workers who come to work at the mine and also businessmen who come to buy gold,” he said.
He said apart from Geita having a gold market, the third area that benefits from the relationship between the mines and the people is where the region benefits from GGML’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme alone which is worth Shs9 billion every year.
He said the Geita Town Council and Geita District plan a budget so that the funds are ploughed back into the community in the form of services such as water, education, health and socio-economic projects.
In terms of socio-economic projects, he cited the example of agricultural activities with small-scale entrepreneurs empowered by the GGML through efforts to produce and promote the mining sector.
He also urged citizens to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the presence of these resources by saving and opening various businesses.
He also urged other mining companies that have not yet started implementing the CSR programme to work with the community around them, but also to build the capacity of small-scale miners.