This was said in Dar es Salaam yesterday by a representative from the small-scale mining department in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Engineer Chacha Marwa, during a national stakeholder?s workshop on minamata convention national action plan.

Eng Marwa said in those centres alternative method of ore processing such as gravity separation or concentration methods like carpet sluices, magnet based methods and centrifuges will be demonstrated to small- scale miners.

?Those methods have great potential to reduce mercury which is simple technologies and affordable by small scale miners,? he said. He further said the centres will also be used to provide training to small-scale miners and the surrounding society the effect and protection measures of use. He mentioned few areas where the centres will be constructed as Rwamagasa in Geita, Tarime and Mpanda.

On other measures taken by government to reduce the use of mercury they have provided grant to small-scale miners for them to easily implement alternative method of ore processing.

Expounding further he said they have provided grant to more than 111 small scale miners for them to be able to purchase machines which will assist them in alternative method of ore processing without using mercury.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

This Convention was a result of three years of meeting and negotiating, after which the text of the Convention was ratified by delegates from 140 countries on 19th January 2013.

The two-day workshop was organised by Agenda for Environment and Responsible Development (AGENDA) and attended by small-scale miners from different parts of the country. AGENDA chairperson, Prof Jamidu Katima, said mercury was still a challenge though small scale miners kept on using it.

?We all understand mercury is dangerous but small scale miners cannot just stop using it without alternative method as they depend on it to sustain life,? he said. Prof Katima said in the country mercury pollution to human and environment in mining industry was caused by amalgamation process where in the process mercury was added to all of the ore being processed during crushing, grinding or sluicing.

This is the most polluting way to use mercury. Assistant Director, Vice- President?s Office, Division of Environment, Mr Issaria Mangalili, said health impact of elemental mercury include neurological and behavioural disorders.

Specific symptoms include tremors, emotional ability, memory loss and insomnia. Mangalili said mercury releases from the gold recovery process therefore was serious global environmental and human health problem as well as main large emitter of mercury in the country.

By HILDA MHAGAMA, Tanzania Daily News


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