This report was commissioned by the Centre for Energy, Environment, Science and Technology (CEEST) to assess environmental impacts on small scale mining in Tanzania. The case study was made covering major small mining areas of Merelani, Musoma, Nzega, Kahama and Geita. In the process of undertaking the study, some 4, 267 kms. were travelled, 9 artisanal mining locations visited, and discussions held with 30 Government officials, miners co-operatives or associations, claim holders and miners.
Small scale mining in gemstones, gold and other minerals is known to have existed for the last three decades in Tanzania. The recent Government move (since 1990), to streamline and improve the marketing system in mineral trade by offering better prices for mineral commodities (such as gold) has motivated more people to join the sector. The resulting increased production has, on the other hand, caused a tripling effect on the environmental degradation normally associated with artisanal mining activities.
In recognition of the need to sustain small-scale mining activities which have continued to grow in the past five years 1988-93, CEEST found it necessary to assess the nature and extent of environmental destruction which it is hoped would form a basis for further specialized work in this field.
Small scale mining for gold and gemstones are carried out on a large scale around the greenstone belt (for gold), and Merelani in Kiteto district (for gemstones).
Literature surveys were done in Dodoma and Dar es Salaam. Apart from literature surveys, there were field visits to the mining areas. The areas visited were Merelani, Nyabigena, Isungangwanda, Lusu, Ushirombo, Kahama, Nyakagwe, Nyarugusu and Mugusu.
A combination of interviews, site inspections, photographs, and video photographing were among the methods used to get the data and information necessary for the successful completion of this report. Water samples were collected and sent to the Chief Government Chemist for analysis and evaluation of chemical composition.
It took a total of 12 days to cover all the targeted areas in the field surveys. Sample analysis took three weeks to accomplish. The first phase of the study, which concentrated in the Merelani Tanzanite mining area, started on 9-11 July 1993 and the second phase, which focused on the gold mining areas of the greenstone around Lake Victoria, started on 26 August 1993 and was completed on 3 September 1993.