International Journal of Environmental Protection          
International Journal of Environmental Protection(IJEP)
ISSN: 2226-6437(Print)      ISSN: 2224-7777(Online)
Frequency: Monthly
Editorial-in-Chief: Prof. Kevin Mickus,Missouri University of Science & Technology, USA.
Environmental Degradation under Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Tanzania: Can Innovations in Institutional Framework Help?
Full Paper(PDF, 137KB)
Artisan and small-scale mining (ASM) plays an important role in employment and livelihoods in Tanzania. Estimates suggest that over 1,000,000 Tanzanians are engaged in mining, more than 90 percent of whom are in ASM. However, most ASM activities are taking place using rudimental technology causing negative impact on the environment and human health. Despite having laws and regulations in the mining sector in the country, the enforcement at the ASM has remained ineffective. There is a concern that the institutional framework governing the Mining Sector is not suitable for ASM and innovations are required to effectively governing the ASM activities. This study is a contribution towards achieving this goal. The study conducted a review of the institutional framework governing ASM, focusing on the gold subsector. It also undertook a comprehensive review of literature on ASM. In addition, about 100 ASM operators were interviewed in Nyarugusu area, Geita district. The study intended to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the current institutional framework for ASM operators and suggests innovations to inform the policy and decision making process on how best ASM could enhance livelihoods without degrading the environment. It also adds to the body of knowledge on the current debate of environmental degradation under ASM through publication. The major conclusion is that the current institutional framework is not conducive for ASM activities and innovations are necessary for ASM operators to comply. Most of the decision making and compliancy regulatory bodies are centralised, a high number of ASM operators are not aware of the existing institutional framework and most of the regulations are not compatible with the ASM activities. These include the requirement for ASM operators to register their activities at the head quarters of the Ministry, the condition that each ASM operator to undertake environmental impact assessment (EIA) in his/her plot, insufficient involvement of local authorities at village and district levels to regulate the ASM activities, poor working technology and lack of ASM organisations/associations. The following innovations are recommended: decentralising ASM regulations to village and district levels including capacity building at these levels, introducing block EIA and management plans to accommodate a number of ASM operators and for joint responsibilities, strengthening cooperatives and associations, facilitating ASM operators access to credit and link ASM with medium/large scale mining and providing friendly formalisation processes.
Keywords:ASM; Environmental Degradation; Institutional Framework; Innovations
Author: Agnes G. Mwakaje1
1.Institute of Resource Assessment, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  1. Adams, M, and. Palmer, R. (2007). Independent review of land issues, Volume III. Eastern and Southern Africa. on 20-03-2012.
  2. Banchirigah, S.M. (2006). How have reforms fuelled the expansion of artisanal mining? Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa. Resources policy. 31 (3), 65-171.
  3. Bitala, M.F. (2008). Evaluation of Heavy Metals Pollution in Soil And Plants Accrued From Gold Mining Activities in Geita, Tanzania. A Dissertation Submitted for the Degree of Master of Integrated Environmental Management of the University of Dar es Salaam.
  4. Bratveit, M. 1., Moen, B. E. Mashalla, Y. J. S. and Maalim, H. (2003). Dust Exposure during Small-scale Mining in Tanzania: A Pilot Study. Annals of Occupational Hygiene. 47(3), 235-240.
  5. Bridge, G. (2004). Contested Terrain: Mining and the Environment: Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 29, 205-259.
  6. Buxton A (2011): Fair-trade and formalisation for small-scale miners. IIED Accessed on 6th March 2012.
  7. Crawford, S and Ostrom, E. (1995). A Grammar of Institutions. American Political Science Review. 89(3), 582-600.
  8. GMP. (2007). Final Country Report for Tanzania: Project EG/GLO/01/G34 Removal of Barriers to Introduction of Cleaner Artisanal Gold Mining and Extraction Technologies Global Mercury Project.
  9. Goergen, A. A. Mohamed, E., Mhando C. H. & Mlay A. (2001). Artisanal and small-scale mines: ticking bombs in need of workplace HIV/STI interventions: Sexual Health Exchange 2001.
  10. Hamza K. F. S and. Kimwer, E. O (2007): Tanzania’s Forest Policy and Its Practical Achievements with Respect to Community Based Forest Management in MITMIOMBO. Working Papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 50. References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase this article.
  11. Hilson G. Hilson CJ and Pardie S (2007): Improving awareness of mercury pollution in small-scale gold mining communities: Challenges and ways forward in rural Ghana. Environmental Research, 103 (2), 275-287.
  12. Hurwicz, L. (1994). Economic Design, Adjustment Processes, Mechanisms, and Institutions. Economic Design, 1(1), 1-14.
  13. Ikingura J. R. and Akagi H. (1996). Monitoring of fish and human exposure to mercury due to gold mining in the Lake Victoria goldfields, Tanzania: The Science of Total Environment. 191 (1-2), 59-68.
  14. Ikingura J. R. Mutakyahwa M. K. D and. Kahatano J. M. J. (1997). Mercury and mining in Africa with special reference to Tanzania. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 97 (3-4), 223-232.
  15. Kambani S.M (2003): Small-scale mining and cleaner production issues in Zambia.Journal of Cleaner Production 11 (2003), 141–146.
  16. Kelsall, T., S. Lange, S. Mesaki, and M. Mmuya. 2005. Understanding patterns of accountability in Tanzania. Component 2: The bottom-up perspective.
  17. Kishe M. A. and Machiwa J. F. (2003). Distribution of heavy metals in sediments of Mwanza Gulf of Lake Victoria, Tanzania: Environmental International, 28 (7), 619-625.
  18. Lange S (2008): Land Tenure and Mining in Tanzania. CMI Report. CMI. CHR Mechelsen Institute.
  19. Mbendi. (2007).Tanzania Gold Mining Overview. (accessed 10 March, 2010).
  20. MEM. (2006).Mineral Sector overview. The United Republic of Tanzania. Ministry of Energy and Minerals. (accessed 20 April 2010).
  21. URT. (1998). The Mining Act. United Republic of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam.
  22. MMSD. (2002). Chapter 13 Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining: Part III: Challenges: Draft Report for Comment: (accessed 22 May 2010).
  23. North, D. (1990). Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  24. OECD. (2006). Institutional Framework.: (accessed 2 May 2010).
  25. Poliski, M.M and Ostrom E. (1999). An Institutional Framework for Policy Analysis and Design. W98-27.
  26. Sundet G (2005): the 1999 land act and village land act: A technical analysis of the practical implications of the Acts. Working Draft. Unpublished.
  27. Taylor H., Appleton J.D., Lister R., Smith B., Chitamweba D., Mkumbo O., Machiwa J.F., Tesha A.L. and Beinhoff C. (2005) Environmental assessment of mercury contamination from the Rwamagasa artisanal gold mining centre, Geita District, Tanzania. The Science of Total Environment, 343 (1-3), 111-133.
  28. Tenga, R., ND. Legislating for pastoral land tenure in Tanzania: The Draft Land Bill (accessed 15.06.07),
  29. Tesha, A., L. 2000. Cooperation between small-scale and large-scale mining. Paper presented at the ‘Growth and diversification in mineral economies Regional Workshop for mineral economies in Africa’, Cape Town, 7-9 November.
  30. UNIDO. (2001) Artisanal Gold Mining without Mercury Pollution: Vienna, Austria.
  31. URT. 2007. An overview of Village Land Act, no. 5 of 1999. Presented at a Workshop on Tanzania’s Property and Business Formalisation Programme, Handeni, 15.05.07.
  32. Wily, L.A. (2003). Community-based land tenure management. Questions and answers about Tanzania’s new Village Land Act, 1999. Issue paper No. 1.