THE government has revoked 1,000 out of 1,444 mining licences issued to small and medium-scale copper miners in Mbesa Village, Tunduru District of Ruvuma Region for failing to comply with mining regulations.
Tunduru District Commissioner, Mr Juma Homera said here that the owners had been holding onto mining licences for many years without operating, a move which is against the law.
Mr Homera made the revelation when briefing the Deputy Minister for Minerals, Mr Dotto Biteko (pictured) who visited the area to inspect development projects, as well as addressing challenges encountered by small-scale miners in the area.
Responding, Mr Biteko commended the move, saying the government initiated the plan that has led to cancellation of the mining licences, with the aim to ensure the country's mineral resources benefit its citizens and the nation at large.
He said the government among others, had reviewed as well as establishing the mining regulations in order to ensure the State's mineral resources benefit citizens mostly those who live in poverty.
The establishment of the new Acts and reviewing of others was aimed at getting rid of laws that had given priorities to foreigners in the sector and thus depriving citizens from enjoying their own resources.
Mr Biteko said that since the overhauling of the mining laws, the nation has seen improvements in control and monitoring of mineral exportation with the view to ensure enhanced revenue collection from minerals.
Among major changes, initiated by the new laws, include dissolving the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency (TMAA) and all zonal mine offices.
The DC told Mr Biteko that the cancellation of the mining rights has left the area (Mbesa) with 444 copper mining licences mostly for small-scale miners. Among them (444), 283 licences are hogged by various mistakes and queries.
Homera said the government set aside 15,605.30 hectares in Mbesa District since 2013 for copper quarrying. In 2017/18 government mining officer awarded mining rights to 20 eligible business people out of 27 who had applied for the rights for a period of one year.
According to the RC, the government also awarded seven smallscale out of 43 artisanal gold miners and other Tanzanians eligible for buying gold minerals in Tunduru.