Butiama — The government is expected to spend a whopping Sh8.2 billion for mineral resources estimation, a project that would end challenges facing small scale miners.
The project, which is bankrolled by the World Bank (WB), will be carried out at seven centres countrywide during the first phase.
Speaking at Buhemba mining area yesterday, the Acting Director of Exploration and Drilling from State Mining Corporation (Stamico), Mr Alex Rutagwelela, said the project would result into a win-win situation where the miners and government will benefit equally.
Mr Rutagwelela said the project would help in reaching to a lasting solution for challenges that the miners have been facing for many years, including deaths due to poor working environments.
"This project started last year, but we are looking forward to reaching its conclusion in one year time. It will certainly help the small scale miners across the country," he said.
He explained: "We will have seven centres where the miners will bring their products and get a direct connection to the market. I am very optimistic that this will benefit them unlike the prevailing conditions."
"These areas will also be used as training centres for the miners. They have a lot to learn about the mining industry." Mr Rutagwelela said they would soon embark on the construction of the centres after finalising drilling at the sites where samples will be taken to the laboratory for mineral resource estimation.
This, according to him will help them set rules and regulations on how the miners would be carrying out their activities safely and productively.
Mr Rutagwelela disclosed that the first phase of the project will be implemented at Buhemba in Butiama District in Mara, Itumbi (Chunya District, Mbeya), Katente-Ushirombo (Shinyanga), Mpanda (Katavi), Kange (Tanga), Kyerwa (Kagera) and Masakasa (Lindi).
"These will be our centres in the first phase of this project. The government decided to come up with this idea after realising that the small scale miners were carrying out their activities in poor environments, which in most cases resulted into deaths," he added.
"We expect that after some time, our miners will be more knowledgeable about their activities and the government will also benefit through collection of revenues"
The project is implemented by Stamico and Geological Survey of Tanzania (GST).
In a random interview with The Citizen yesterday, a section of the small miners at Buhemba commended the government's decision, saying they have been waiting for it for years.