Innovative Small-Scale Mining Initiative Kicks Off in Tanzania

November 24, 2014

Nuru Mwasampeta / Ministry of Energy and Minerals of Tanzania

  • A new initiative aims to improve the working conditions of small-scale miners and improve relations between them and large-scale mining companies
  • The initiative brings together diverse stakeholders in Tanzania from government, large-scale mining (LSM) and artisanal-small scale mining (ASM) in a Multi-Stakeholder Partnership
  • Improving conditions for miners in Tanzania will positively impact the country’s economic growth

GEITA, November 19, 2014 – A landmark pilot project will help small-scale miners in Geita’s gold-mining region work together with large-scale mining companies in a healthy, safe environment, increasing their income and improving economic growth in the country.

The pilot project is part of the Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Initiative (MSPI) launched earlier this year by the Government of Tanzania, World Bank Group (WBG), two major gold mining companies and an association of small scale miners. The project aims to improve conditions and livelihoods for small-scale miners, decrease environmental degradation and facilitate peaceful co-existence between Artisanal and Small-scale mining (ASM) and large-scale mining companies (LSM).

“They (artisanal miners) will earn an income and lead better lives,” if the MSPI pilot succeeds, said Christopher Kadeo, of the Geita Region Miners Association (GEREMA), who sits on the steering committee of the MSPI and represents the views of the small-scale miners.

Kadeo said other associations of Tanzanian small-scale miners will replicate the success of the Lwamgasa village co-operative and “it could create between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs.”

The launch event, held in Lwamgasa village, was attended by officials from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, senior managers with the large scale mining companies AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) and African Barrick Gold (ABG), and about 500 artisanal and small scale miners. 

“Today is a proud moment to see the collaborative efforts of all the different stakeholders come together to enable this program launch,” said Michael Van Annan, the managing director of AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita gold mine. AGA will be offering its technical expertise to the village cooperative, and contributing $160,000 to the project.  

For Tanzania, peaceful co-existence of large and small scale miners is critical to the economic growth of the country. Revenues from the extractive industry in Tanzania have quadrupled recently to $468.2m in 2012 from $102.1m in 2009. A full 80% of Tanzania’s extractive revenues come from mining.

“We appreciate the contribution made by the large scale mining companies, but at the same time we recognize the important contribution made by the small scale miners in job creation,” said Stephen Masele, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister of Energy and Minerals.

The MSPI aims to ensure a fairer share of benefits from the mining boom for the ASM community through participation in government programs, and access to the expertise of the LSMs which are donating the time of technical employees to assist the ASM in the areas of mining, geology, metallurgy, health and safety issues. Small-scale miners will also have access to new bookkeeping and accounting skills.  Special measures in the MSPI project will include strengthening “no child labor” and “no mercury” policies. 

Mamadou Barry, senior mining specialist at the World Bank, emphasized the contribution of the mining sector to the development of Tanzania and the importance of the more than 1 million jobs generated by small-scale mining.

“By investing in the livelihoods of small-scale miners we are thereby strengthening the economy and national income levels,” said Barry. 

Ms. Shamsa Diwani, secretary general of the Tanzania Women Miners Association, said that the MSPI will allow “small scale miners to learn how to mine in sustainable ways using modern equipment, and organizing themselves.”