A quarterly news online magazine of the Centre for Exploration Targeting, (CET), says ‘Handeni Region’ appeared on the basis of the aeromagnetic interpretation to represent an extension of the Lake Nyanza Super-terrane which contains the most prospective segment of the Lake Victoria Goldfields in the Sukumaland Terrane to the west-northwest.
Amphibolite belts of similar size and shape to the greenstone belts of the Lake Victoria Goldfields were identified in the aeromagnetic data and confirmed on the ground. However, the mining sector is largely dispersed and dominated by artisanal miners who are scattered in so many areas, conducting their operations without proper equipment while the government gets almost nothing from their operations.
Although artisanal and small scale miners are an important sub-sector in Tanzania, they usually carry operations using crude technology, such as traditional hand tools and processing equipment.
Thousands of artisanal and small scale miners in Kilindi are engaged in a complex and arduous mining operation with hammers, picks and torches in deep and narrow pits.
They do pound large chunks of rocks into smaller pieces traditionally for amalgamating processes Speaking in an interview at Kilindi District’s headquarters, in Songe, the DC, Selemani Liwowa said a geological survey shows a mineral rich district with potential to contribute to development.
“Currently, there are small scale gold and ruby miners only who do not have ideal equipment. Mining has thus not benefitted the district in terms of levy from licenses,” the DC pointed out.
In an appeal to the government, Kilindi legislator Omari Kigua has asked the government to take deliberate measures to invest in the sector to make the district an economic giant.
He mentioned the supportive sectors as opening of mining office in the district, formalizing artisanal miners operations, imparting skills and availing them with modern technology, reliable markets, improving access roads and power supply.
Currently, artisanal miners said they were front runners in discovery of minerals but have ended up being chased away by Prospective Mining License (PML) owners.
At Msagalu village mining area, artisanal gold miners who were interviewed by the ‘Daily News,’ said it was sad they were left ‘in the cold’ after making a discovery. Siraji Mbwana said apart from asking for modern equipment, mining officers must educate them on proper procedures to become PML owners.
“We cannot just be artisanal gold diggers forever,” he emphasized. Hamisi Foleni, another miner said the government could mobilize them to form groups to prospect for minerals for better income and revenue.
A treatise on Challenges of small-scale mining in Tanzania by Alex Ruchyahinduru, access to credit and finance to small scale miners has been mentioned as a big challenge to artisanal and small scale miners.
In Tanzania, 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 and for miners who operate without licenses. This is also due to lack of collateral and the possible inability and unwillingness of the miners to pay back their loans.
Mobilizing them into groups, could help solve that problem and that of lack of equipment and machinery and lack of skills. The absence of machinery means work has to be done manually, thus resulting in fatalities.
Many mines are not carefully planned due to the fact that they are illegal and therefore, structures are made in such a way that they are easily concealed. Lack of market information and access is another challenge facing small scale miners in different mining regions in Tanzania. Most miners lack education, have inadequate knowledge of pricing their products.
The miners think the opening up of the district through a tarmac road could provide an answer to the problem of marketing apart from increased power supply, which could encourage investors to install refining plants in the district.
Foleni said a good road could enable miners to send their products themselves to markets and avoid miners falling into the hands of a few unscrupulous individuals who rob them of their profits.
The legislator asked the government to speed up plans to construct the Handeni – Kiteto – Singida Road, including an appeal to think about constructing Kibirashi – Songe – Kikunde to connect it with the Morogoro – Dodoma Highway to ease up transportation problems facing miners and Kilindi residents in general. The District Commissioner said that the district had some initiative to ensure that the district enjoy the full benefits of its mineral potential.
Liwowa pointed out that they have already taken initiative to discuss the matter with Handeni Resident Mining Officer. He also oversees Kilindi District to advise them on what procedures to follow to enable the district to benefit from minerals being extracted from the district.
“After discussions with the Handeni Resident Mining Officer, it has been agreed that the District would now get information of all old and new licenses conducting mining activities in the district,” Liwowa pointed out.
“This would enable the district to chart ways of benefitting from mining activities,” he added. The District Executive Director (DED), Ms. Mwajina Lipinga agreed that despite the small amount of funds the district gets for road maintenance they were now currently doing all they can to make spot improvement on several areas of the rural roads to make them passable all the year round.
Credit: All Africa