Small scale miners win support

Prof Muhongo
The Ministry of Minerals and Energy has been urged to address challenges facing small scale miners across the country.

This was said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend by the Tanzania Women Miners Association (TAWOMA) Chairperson, Ms Eunice Negele.

She particularly asked the new Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo to take up the matter seriously. 

“We are happy the new minister has started very well. Taking the initiative to call representatives of small miners, listening to our problems on first hand basis means a lot to us,” she said.

She said their meeting with the minister in Dodoma recently has given them a new hope that small scale miners are now assured of getting out of poverty.  The minister had called for the meeting with the artisanal miners to discuss best ways to improve their activities.

Ms Negele said that small scale miners have been facing a myriad of problems for many years. She highlighted some of the challenges presented to the minister who promised to work on as education on mining business, title deeds on the land they occupy, access to loans, modern mining equipment and setting up a common market.

“We have also asked the minister to help in setting up a processing plant for value addition as well a reduction of conflicts between small and big miners.  Ms Negele said small scale miners lack common market and as a result they sell at exploitative prices.

“If artisanal miners will have a common   market it will help them to sell their minerals at justifiable prices,” she said.  She added that most of the mineral rich areas are in the hands of large scale miners, leaving artisanal miners with poor and no permanent areas to conduct their activities.

On her part,TAWOMA Secretary General Shamsa Diwani stressed the need for the government to organize mineral exhibitions to enable small scale miners to market their products.  She urged the government to establish minerals marketing centres to minimize risks and exploitative prices.

Ms Diwani further said that value addition to the minerals was crucial for the miners to earn more.  She asked the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to involve them during preparations of its budget so that it could also include their views.  Currently, the association has 500 active members.
Source: The Daily News,http://www.dailynews.co.tz 
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