Lindi — THE Ministry for Energy and Minerals is contemplating to revoke mining licences from owners who occupy a good number of plots and leave them unutilized.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Mr Eliakim Maswi said here on Thursday that the axe will fall on the owners whose plots have not been utilized for seven consecutive years.
"We want to get rid of the speculations that we favour some miners by giving them licences that they don't utilize. We need serious miners," he cautioned.
Mr Maswi made the remarks after visiting the Kilwa Kwanza gypsum mining areas, during his eight-day tour to inspect natural gas, mining and electricity projects in Coast, Lindi, Mtwara, Iringa, Ruvuma and Dodoma regions.
His remarks follows a report that says that 1,000 licences have been issued in Lindi and Mtwara regions, but only a small number of the plots had so far been developed.
The Commissioner of Mining in the ministry Mr Paul Masanja said they are well prepared to ensure that the Mining Act is being enforced for a developed sector.
He said between 2012 and 2014, the ministry revoked licences of 463 large scale miners and 621 small-scale for failure to use their licences as required. "The act is very clear, once one is issued with a licence, he/she is supposed to use it for seven years, in nothing happens after such a period we do not re -issue and at times we write a default notice before revoking them," he said.
Mtwara and Lindi Zonal Mining official Mr Benjamin Mchwampaka, said many of the licencees have been used to apply for more than three plots, but very few have been developed.
"It is not always that they do not want to conduct production in the plots as required but equipment remain a challenge to most of them," he said.
Meanwhile, a salt miner Mr Said Tamimu has urged the government to see how best it could assist miners through grants to enable them purchase the needed equipment for their increased production.
"We cannot compete as we do not have equipment that will help us add value to the product. We currently sell a 50kg of stone salt at 3,000/-but when processed it fetches 75,000/-," said Mr Tamimu.
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