Mwanza — MORE than 10bn/- will be dished out to small scale miners in the country to support their operations for the next financial year and two third of the allocated amount would be given to artisanal miners in the Lake Zone based miners.
The boost will include purchase of two drilling rigs worth 1.8bn/- which will be allocated to small scale miners in the Lake Zone and another in the South West Zone in Mbeya for exploration of the new mine deposits.
The Commissioner for Minerals in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Eng. Paul Masanja, told reporters that local participation in the mining exploration among the licensed companies so far was encouraging.
"The fact is that Tanzanians now own 70 per cent of the mining licences, while foreigners possess 25 per cent and the remaining five per cent is possessed in partnership between foreigners and locals," he said.
He said the financial boost and equipment donated to the small-scale miners target to boost them economically, adding that the government will increase more resources to keep supporting them.
Out of the 10bn/- allocated for the small-scale miners, according to Mr Masanja, 5.7bn/- has been donated by the World Bank as subsidy, while the government has set aside 2.5bn/- as loans to 18 groups of the small scale miners.
Mr Masanja said so far a total of 31 areas of 2,166 square kilometres have been surveyed for small scale miners and that more areas will be surveyed and allocated to them.
Apart from creating the mining areas for economic empowerment of the locals, the commissioner said the government is determined to make sure regular conflicts between small-scale, middle and large miners reported in various areas in the country are solved.
However, he said there have been trends where small scale miners are not ready to stick to their allocated areas and keep on loitering from one place to another in search of new mining deposits, insisting that habit should come to an end.
"It is due to that scenario that I have decided to conduct a special week long tour to the areas reported with regular and notorious conflicts in Geita, Kahama, Misungwi, Nzega and Tarime and I am determined to solve them," he said.
He said the government in collaboration with largescale miners is finalising procedures that will lead to allocation of special areas for small-scale miners in Nzega, Kahama and Igunga in Tabora Region for the sake of solving the emerging conflicts.
He directed the responsible mining officers to make sure mining licences are prepared and given to small scale miners as soon as they are ready, cautioning miners to remain patient during the licensing processes.
Giving statistics, Eng. Masanja said up to April, this year, a total of 39,958 licences were issued, 13 to large scale miners, 381 to medium scale miners and 36,094 to small-scale miners.