'The time is right' for dialogue about sustainable ASM in Tanzania


IIED's second country dialogue on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) took place in Geita, Tanzania, in November 2017. The four-day event brought together around 90 participants, including miners, government officials and representatives from large mining companies and civil society organisations.

IIED's Fitsum Weldegiorgis presents at the action dialogue on artisanal and small-scale mining in Tanzania (Photo: Steve Aanu)

IIED's second country dialogue in a series of local multi-stakeholder dialogues on ASM started in Tanzania in September 2016. The dialogue event followed months of intensive research and engagement conducted in collaboration with our national partners, HakiMadini and MTL Consulting.

Mining in the East African country is a major and rapidly growing part of the economy. Approximately one-and-a-half million people are directly involved in ASM. Artisanal miners dominate most of the country's coloured gemstone production, which includes many coveted stones such as tanzanite, tourmaline and garnets. Women make up 27 per cent of the overall ASM workforce and often face the greatest hardships. 

Preparation was key

IIED and its partners ran a series of preparatory workshops and thematic discussions in six key mining regions during 2017. These sharpened the research and helped build trust and good will among stakeholders. 

IIED research partner MTL Consulting undertook substantive fieldwork. They visited more than seven sites that mine gold, gemstones, diamonds and industrial and building materials. Haki Madini, the convening organisation, rolled out a communications strategy to inform and engage stakeholders. 

This pre-dialogue phase helped participants become ready to work collaboratively to set out priority actions and focus areas.

Tanzania dialogue on artisanal and small-scale mining (Photo: Steve Aanu)

Scroll through a gallery of images from the Tanzania dialogue by clicking on the side arrows (Photos: Steve Aanu) 

A focus on solutions

Participants agreed to concentrate on solutions and good practices that demonstrate how ASM can be an engine for sustainable development in Tanzania. 

Their reflections started at the mines. Participants spent two days visiting four small-scale mines in Geita, one of Tanzania's main gold-producing regions. They spoke with miners and communities, and saw at first hand the types of changes needed in the sector. Six 'solution pillars' were identified, which were:

  • Formalisation
  • Access to finance
  • Access to data, technology and equipment
  • Access to markets
  • Strengthening ASM businesses, and
  • Empowering women in ASM.

Participants set out immediate actions for each of the six pillars. These were organised as changes needed to policy and regulation; knowledge and research gaps; communication and engagement needs; and capacity and resources needed.

The journey to participatory reform

IIED will continue to work with its Tanzanian partners to refine the results emerging from the dialogue. This will include developing a 'road map' that can guide future actions and setting up a Learning and Leadership Group to steer its implementation. A series of additional thematic dialogues are planned to follow in 2018.

    IIED's work on ASM

    IIED is convening dialogue processes in Ghana and Tanzania, and supporting GIZ in Madagascar (Image: IIED)IIED is working in a number of countries to convene multi-stakeholder dialogues on artisanal and small-scale mining. Further locally driven processes are already under way in Ghana and Madagascar.

    Related links


      Artisanal and small-scale mining in Tanzania – Evidence to inform an ‘action dialogue’, Willison Mutagwaba, John Bosco Tindyebwa, Veronica Makanta, Delphinus Kaballega, Graham Maeda (2018) Research report

      Action dialogue on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in Tanzania, Fitsum Weldegiorgis, Frances Reynolds (2018) Event/workshop report

      Informing dialogue on artisanal and small-scale mining in Tanzania. A thematic review of challenges and solutions, Fitsum Weldegiorgis, Abbi Buxton (2017) Discussion paper

      Small ventures, big hopes, Gabriela Flores (2017), IIED report

      ASM dialogue programme: IIED scoping mission in Tanzania (2016), Steve Bass, Gabriela Flores-​Zavala, Fitsum Weldegiorgis, IIED project information