What is missing from World Bank-supported interventions in the mining sector in Tanzania?

The World Bank has supported governance improvements in Tanzania’s mining sector for over a decade, with loans totaling close to US$100 million. The Government of Tanzania updated its mining laws in 2017, which led to some improvements, but gaps in environmental and child protections remain, particularly in the management of artisanal mining where mining sites are left unmonitored and children are often exploited.

Mining is an important sector in Tanzania, employing over 500,000 Tanzanians, principally in traditional small-scale activities. Recognizing this, the World Bank intervened beginning in 2009 to improve governance, specifically supporting the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and implementation of Tanzania’s 2017 mining law reforms. These laws are designed so that a greater share of mining revenues and value-added remain within Tanzania, through local processing of minerals.  However, the laws appear to have done little to address the environmental and social impacts of mining, particularly Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM). 

The Foundation for Environmental Management and Campaign Against Poverty (FEMAPO), a Tanzanian NGO based in Arusha, reviewed in partnership with BIC the impacts of the Tanzania Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources project (P151124). The project aimed at building the institutional capacity of Tanzania to manage its mineral resources to increase the socio-economic benefits of those resources. FEMAPO specifically examined: (1) project benefits to artisanal and small-scale miners, (2) to what extent stakeholders were engaged in project implementation, and (3) its environmental and social impacts, particularly in mining communities.   

In visits to mining areas, FEMAPO confirmed an increase in ASM activities, which has increased government revenues both for those districts and for the central government. Similarly, FEMAPO determined that there was a significant increase in government recognition and formalization of ASM in different mining areas, which has supported locals’ involvement in ASM as miners and as mineral brokers. However, these mining activities are still inadequately regulated and cause significant damage to the environment, and children still work as miners in these areas. Inadequate support from the government to implement programs on child rights in mining areas is endemic.

Drawing from the research and findings, BIC and FEMAPO recommend that: 

  1. The government of Tanzania and other key stakeholders of the mining sector, including the private sector, put more emphasis on environmental management in mining areas, especially with artisanal miners, engaging them and local communities, on sustainable means of improving environmental management in mining areas. This should include creating environmental management plans, for groups of miners in one place, so that they can manage their impacts and rehabilitate the environment after mines are closed.  The World Bank should support these processes financially, through loans or technical assistance.
  2. The government of Tanzania budgets for social development activities in mining areas so that more interventions related to child protection can be implemented. Children are currently at risk of being subjected both to exploitative labor and sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEA/H) in ASM areas. This requires awareness raising and advocacy on child rights and protection in these areas along with the implementation of appropriate safeguards. The government and other stakeholders should train child protection committees at district and village levels on child rights so that they can monitor and advocate for child rights in the communities.
  3. The World Bank provides technical assistance for capacity building, safeguards expertise, and related training to address child protection concerns, specifically around child labor and child SEA/H issues in the mining sector. 

You can read FEMAPO’s full report here.