A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR SMALL SCALE MINERS IN TANZANIA, ONLY IF THE MINDSET CHANGES

 

Nezha Zouaidi is the managing director of GOLDEN CONNECTION LTD in Tanzania for more than 6 years. She understands the situation at the mine, its challenges and opportunities for the local small scale miners as no one else. Tanzania is among the countries having abundant mineral resources gold, diamonds, gemstones and others. The small-scale miners play a key role in the livelihood conditions of the people, hence, providing a means of living and source of income for rural communities and poverty-driven population. However, it has played a vital role in the development of Tanzania ranked the third after South Africa and Ghana in gold and diamond production.

The future for small scale miners in Tanzania would be bright only if some challenges could be solved:

  • Evacuation of their mining places is one of them. This has become a big problem to the small miners due to lack of license security, most of the time big investors with big mining license are given first priority than small scale miners who own small primary mining licenses.
  • Small scale miners are unable to secure loans from banks and other financial institutions for their starting capital and this is especially the case for female miners, due to lack of collateral.
  • Equipment and machinery, is also one of the reasons why small scale miners are classified as small-scale miners, because of the kind of tools they use. In most mining sectors in Tanzania, small-scale miners use traditional techniques. The absence of machinery means work has to be done manually.
  • Poor technologies used by small scale miners also pose a danger to the miners themselves who are constantly harmed and even killed due to poor occupational safety standards, measures for prevention of mining accidents and other fatalities do not exist or are not properly enforced.
  • Skills on the mining sectors, has also been seen as a big challenge to small scale miners, most activities to support mining sectors have focused on large scale mining operations as a result the small scale miners earn very little from the  raw materials.
  • Market information and access to it is another challenge facing small scale miners in different mining regions in Tanzania. Most miners have inadequate knowledge of pricing their products mostly on Diamond and Gems, this can be clearly manifest itself in how the miners sell their stones and the prices they sell it for, in comparison  to the real value of the stone.

These challenges could be solved if there is more law enforcement, action from development planning, where local authorities protect more small scale mining by ensuring access training, demonstrating centers to cover most mining area, training program aimed at training artisans and encourage miners to establish miners associations that they can easily associate with.

Text ©Golden Connection