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Biblioteca The Land Factor in Mining Gold Reserves in Tanzania

The Land Factor in Mining Gold Reserves in Tanzania

The Land Factor in Mining Gold Reserves in Tanzania

After three decades (following independence) of being overwhelmed by command-economy policies, in the 1980s the Tanzania’s gold mining industry benefited from policy reforms that started with the economic recovery programmes (ERP). These reforms freed in part the major means of production from state ownership. The accompanying paradigm shift allowed artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) to register claims and retain much-needed foreign currency for rural development long before mining companies started operations. The reforms also translated into rises in gold production, which reached a level of over one million ounces per year in the new millennium.

Tanzania has re-entered large-scale gold mining with a bang, with six gold mines opening up since 1998. Production is high and rising, and today the country is the third-largest gold producer on the continent after South Africa and Ghana. In 1995 the adoption of the National Land Policy was followed in 1999 by enactment of the Land Act and Village Land Act. These Acts came only a year after a  new Minerals Policy and the Mining Act came into force, and all took on board the essentials of the ERP. However, the two frameworks remained separate and contradictory, to the detriment of the relationship between stakeholders.

The concerns – of communities over land tenure and of mining companies over land access – are yet to be reconciled within the land and mineral regulatory frameworks. Governance in Tanzania’s gold mining industry remains an area of serious concern, as conflicts over land and licensing issues are prevalent among stakeholders, and ensuing conflicts indicate that mining contracts are lopsided. The potential contribution of gold to the Tanzanian economy is limited by these conflicting laws and policies, which give rise to issues of land degradation (by small- and large -scale mining), access to land and compensation for the loss of land

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