RAMPANT mineral smuggling among the small and medium miners in the country remains a serious challenge that needs concerted efforts by all stakeholders to rescue the government's massive revenue loss.
Surveys carried by some experts' show that small and medium sized gold miners produce around 20 tones annually but the hardly one tone is captured in the government books.
According to Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency (TMAA) Managing Director, Eng. Paul Masanja, also small miners produce about four kilogrammes of tanzanite daily but only one kilogramme goes to the government records, an indication that between 60 and 75 per cent of all Tanzanite production is undocumented.
Eng. Masanja gave the appalling statistics during a two-day seminar on procedures for export and import of minerals in Dar es Salaam."There is a wide network of illegal mining activities that calls for serious attention and cooperation by all stakeholders in the mineral business. TMAA, Immigration, the police, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and the intelligence services have to closely work together," said Eng. Masanja.
He said there was still little cooperation from the stakeholders to curb the illegal mineral business, warning that TMAA alone however determined it is, cannot manage to control the malpractice. Eng. Masanja also mentioned low public awareness on varied mineral regulations as impediments to efforts to curb the malpractices.
To address the problem of mineral smuggling, the TMAA boss said the agency has established special desks at Julius Nyerere International Airport, Kilimanjaro International Airport and Mwanza Airport to inspect and ensure all export-import procedures were properly adhered to.
An individual was, for instance, nabbed at KIA recently with minerals worth 16,000 US dollars without having export permits.With regards to large scale mining, Eng. Masanja said the government through TMAA has put in place stringent control systems that have facilitated in tracing the whole process from the mining areas to the market places.
For example, Geita Gold Mine (GGM) has paid to the government more than 270bn/- as corporate tax and in the quarter ending in 2012, the company disbursed 60bn/-. Tulawaka gold mine has paid to the government more than 72bn/- corporate tax.
TMAA is tasked with monitoring and auditing quality and quantity of minerals produced and exported by large, medium and small scale miners; to determine revenue generated to facilitate collection of payable royalty.
Presenting a paper on the mineral export-import procedures, Mr Julius Moshi from TMAA said the Mining Act 2010, section 6 (4) states that an individual nabbed conducting illegal mining business be fined 10m/- or three years jail while a company is penalised 50m/-.