Miners urged to eye local, halt smuggling

The Mining Commission Chairman, Prof. Idris Kikula has charged miners to use local market established in the country instead of smuggling minerals. Smuggling minerals is denying the country’s revenue and economy, he said during a training for small- scale miners in Chunya, Mbeya.

The training aimed at imparting small miners from Chunya and Songwe a broader understanding of safety, health, environmental protection issues. “Trading minerals outside the marketing system and mineral trading centres is illegal, severe penalties are imposed including the nationalisation of minerals as well as vehicles used to transport the relevant minerals. So, I strongly urge you to use the local markets and established mineral trading centres,” said Prof. Kikula.

He added that smugglers of minerals should be treated as economic saboteurs. According to him, to ensure that miners benefit from mining activities, the government through the Mining Commission has established 38 mar- kets and 39 mineral trading centres. In resolving challenges in the mining sector, Prof. Kikula said the government has established regional resident mineral officials and resident mining officers in all mineral-producing regions to bring services close to the people as well as abolish many taxes that were a nuisance to small-scale miners.

He added that education has also been provided to small-scale miners, especially in environmental management to ensure that they run their operations safely and avoid various accidents while paying various taxes to the government, stressing that so far education has been provided in Singida, Katavi and Manyara.

Chunya District Commissioner, Mayeka Simon urged miners to co- operate with the government through the regional resident mineral offices. He urged them to be patriotic by reporting unscrupulous small- scale miners who smuggling minerals outside instead of the established mineral trading centres. Sailon Mpashila, a small gold miner at Makongolosi area in Chunya District in Mbeya region, praised the level of education provided by the government.

“Experts from the Mining Commission have done a great job of educating us on how to run our operations smoothly while taking care of the environment, this will reduce accidents that have been occurring from time to time,” said Mpashila.