Arusha — THE newly-discovered gold deposits in Karatu District will not be leased out to foreign investors or large-scale mining firms, but are to benefit Tanzanians.
The Assistant Commissioner for Minerals, Engineer Benjamin Mchwampaka, who oversees the Northern Zone precinct, revealed here that the new gold mines found in the remote Endabash section of Karatu District in Arusha Region have strictly been set aside for artisan miners.
"We have already issued 700 mining permits to local Tanzanians who have taken up plots to set up quarries in the 298 square kilometers of the new gold region which continues to attract small-scale extractors," stated the zonal mining officer.
Apart from the Endabash Mines, the government is also setting aside other newly discovered mines of Mwajanga in Simanjiro District, Manyara Region for local artisan miners. "The Mwajanga Mines will soon be famous for both Yellow and Green Tourmaline minerals and even these will only be mined by local Tanzanians; no investor will be allowed to set up extracting factory there," said the Assistant Commissioner of Mining.
Eng. Mchwampaka was speaking at the Kilimanjaro International Airport terminal where the Tanzania Mineral Audit Agency (TMAA) is conducting a special seminar for mineral and gemstone agents in the Northern Zone which is in the series of similar training conducted countrywide in efforts to curb precious mineral smuggling through ports of entries.
The two-day training also involve airport officials, immigration workers, police officers and other workers involved in the transportation and handling departments. "We are starting with airports and so far, Julius Nyerere International Airport and, currently, KIA, have undergone the training, soon it will be Mwanza and Kigoma and afterwards we are going to deal with border posts such as Namanga, Tarakea, Holili and the rest," the Director of Finance and Administration at TMAA, Mr Bruno Mteta, stated.
The officials have also expressed concern that despite being given priority by the government, most local miners and gemstone dealers were notorious for evading taxes.