Environmental degradation due to mining regulations and practices in small scale mining in Tanzania

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Shija, Isandiko ,John
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Small-scale mining (SSM) activities in Tanzania are conducted using rudimentary mining tools such as shovels, hoes, picks and chisels. In most cases, mining practices do not use engineering plans and designs and usually are done haphazardly resulting in abandoned shafts, pits, trenches and other dug-outs, which result not only in land degradation but also pose great danger to both miners and other land users.The abandoned workings, waste dumps, tailings, and debris are the major environmental degradation in SSM sub-sector in Tanzania. The other environmental degradations arise from gold processing technologies, which use mercury by both legal and illegal miners. Furthermore; deforestation, siltation, sedimentation, river blockages and deviation of sources of surface water are common environmental degradation particularly in gemstones SSM centers.The study has also established other factors contributing to environmental degradation. These include inadequacy of institutional framework support, weak enforcement of relevant clauses in the mining legislation and limited financial investment in the sub-sector.Furthermore, the study has established that, the legal and regulatory framework structure in relation to environmental management in the SSM sub-sector is adequate.The solutions to combat the cause of environmental degradation by the SSM sub-sector must take into account many factors such as adequate fimding from the Government and the private sector to assure application of appropriate and environmentally friendly technologies, for sustainability of SSM sub-sector. Furthermore, the Government needs to promote a better understanding of the environmental impacts of SSM activities among small-scale miners including legalization of illegal miners to conserve the environment for the benefit of the present and fiiture generations.
Small scale mining , Tanzania