Geita. Regional authorities are planning to open a gold market to reduce smuggling.
Geita Regional Commissioner Robert Gabriel told the full council’s meeting on Wednesday, February 14, that the mineral was being smuggled out of Tanzania, denying the government of revenue. “That has been happening because we have no reliable gold market.”
He hopes gold auctioning will open up economic opportunities for the region as buyers from various countries will be flocking to Geita.
Regional geologist Ali Said told The Citizen on Tuesday that since the market was unreliable small-scale miners had been selling gold to middlemen who take it to dealers in Mwanza and Dar es Salaam and sometimes exporting it.
“Starting gold auctioning in the region will not only reduce smuggling, but also increase the government revenue.”
According to him, more 40 per cent of gold sold in the country comes from Geita.
He cited 2016/17 statistics, which show small- and medium-scale miners produced 754,992.49 grammes of gold worth Sh52.722 billion. They generated Sh2.31 billion in royalty.
Between July and October last year 304,580.48 grammes of gold were produced in the region by small and medium-scale miners.
The gold was worth Sh23.787 billion and the government earned Sh1.287 billion in royalty.
Geita Gold Mine produced 6,502.83 kilos of gold between July and October last year worth $227,254,394.12 and that the government earned Sh13,637,108.76 in royalty.
Small-scale miners are happy that middlemen will no longer be exploiting them.
Small-scale miner Ahmed Mbaraka, of Nyarugusu, said in spite of working in a harsh environment, he was being exploited.
“Auctioning will increase prices as there will be competition among buyers,” he said.
The council’s chairman, Mr Leornard Bugomola, who is also a small-scale miner, said black market had been thriving, denying the government of revenue.