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Tanzania to improve working conditions for small-scale miners

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian authorities, through a 3.7-million-U.S.-dollar loan from the World Bank, have embarked on a program to improve working conditions for small-scale miners, a senior official said Thursday.

Alex Rutagwelela, acting director of exploration and drilling with State Mining Corporation (STAMICO), said the program will address challenges facing small-scale miners, including poor mining methods.

“The government decided to carry out this program after it had realized that small-scale miners were conducting their activities in hazardous environments,” said Rutagwelela.

The official said the program will initially be implemented in seven mining areas in the East African nation.

He mentioned the areas as Buhemba in Mara region, Itumbi in Mbeya region, Katente-Ushirombo in Shinyanga region, Mpanda in Katavi region, Kange in Tanga region, Kyerwa in Kagera region and Masakasa in Lindi region.

The program is expected to be completed in one year, said Rutagwelela, adding that the program will also involve construction of seven mining centers.

“The centers will also be used to train the small-scale miners on different skills concerning mining and other skills related to their activities,” he told a meeting with small-scale miners in Mara region.

Omahe Makina, a small-scale miner, commended the government for undertaking such a program, saying it will help in solving problems facing them.

“This program will improve the way we are doing mining activities and subsequently help reduce poverty,” said Machera Mwikwabe, another small-scale miner.

Mwikwabe said poor mining working conditions had been a major roadblock to meeting their goals.

In February, more than five small-scale miners died at Buhemba gold mine in Mara region after they were trapped inside a pit following the collapse of the mine.



Tanzania seizes 428 bags of marijuana in mountain village

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) said Thursday they had seized 428 bags of marijuana on the slopes of Mount Meru.

Fredrick Kibute, a senior official of DCEA, described the consignment as one of the largest marijuana seizures in northern Tanzania this year.

He said that the 428 bags of marijuana was impounded in Engalaoni village in Arumeru District early Thursday.

“Our officials camped in the village for almost one week to unveil the haul of marijuana. But we managed to seize all the bags on Thursday morning when we carried out a house-to- house inspection,” the official said.

He, however, said no one was found in those houses.

“The area where the bags were hidden has no roads, making it hard to be accessed by government officials and security forces ... there is no vehicle getting into the area. This is what encourages people to continue growing the illegal crop.”

Kabute called upon Tanzanians particularly those living on the slopes of Mount Meru to stop from growing cannabis, which is prohibited in the East African nation.

Tanzania is one of the largest marijuana producers in Africa. .



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