Tanzania has one of the largest unexplored gold resources in Africa. Currently the country is the 4th biggest gold producers in Africa. The country produces about 40 tons of gold annually. This is a huge fraction of the 2.8% that the mining sector contributes to the country’s GDP.
It is expected that gold mining will grow in the coming years given the interests that many foreign-based mining firms have shown in the country. This is further backed by the recent change in the government policy and the legal structure as is evident in the 1997 mining policy and the 2010 mining act.
Gold Mining History in Tanzania
The history of gold mining in Tanzania dates back to the precolonial era when the locals mined alluvial gold along the rivers and exchanged it with Arab traders at the coast. The first commercial gold mining was done by the German colonial masters in the region around Lake Victoria in the 1890s. This mining however came to abrupt end in 1918, when the Germans were defeated in the First World War and they had to leave Tanzania.
British and South African gold prospecting and mining operations began in several places within the country in 1920s and continued until World War 2, when all this activities stopped as gold prospecting was banned. Upon gaining independence, the government nationalized all the gold mining operations under the State Mining Corporation (STIMICO) and the National Development Corporation (NDC). This slowed down development in the sector, as the new government did not have enough resources and capacity to carry out extensive exploration and mining operations. It took the leaders over 20 years to realize this and it was in 1980 when the government begun the process of liberalization of the sector.
The privatization did not amount to much as the private sector where more interested in the already exist gold mine as opposed to carrying out exploration activities. To help improve the mining sector, the government changed its investment policy and set up the investment promotion center to help attract more foreign investors in its mining industry. This led to more investments and the discovery of more gold mines.
Today Tanzania boost of several productive gold mines and gold exploration projects. Some of the gold mines you should consider include:
Buzwagi Gold Mine
This is one of Tanzania’s most important gold mines being the second biggest open pit mine in the country. It is an open pit mine located in the Shinyanya region southeast of Kahama. The mine is owned and operated by Acacia mining. The mine was commissioned in 2009 and produced about 719,000 ounces of gold in 2014.
Bulyanhulu Gold Mine
The Bulyanhulu Gold Mine is an important underground mine located in Shinyanga region about 55km south of Lake Victoria. The mine is owned by the Acacia Mining Plc, which acquired its development license in 1999 from Sutton Resources.
The mine was opened in 2001 and for a brief period of time made Tanzania the third largest gold producer in Africa, behind Ghana. The mine has a mine life of over 25 years and is expected to produce gold up to 2026.
Geita Gold Mine
This is another important open Pit gold mine in Tanzania. The mine is located about 20 km southeast of Lake Victoria in the Geita District of Tanzania. Then mine is owned and run by AngloGold Ashanti.
Golden Pride Gold Mine
This is a rich open pit gold mine owned by the Resolute Mining Limited. The mine is located in Nzanga district within the Tabora region. This was the first new mine to be developed in Tanzania since independence. Prospecting works at the mine began in 1989 but the actual mining commenced in 1999 when the mine was officially opened.
North Mara Gold Mine
The North Mara gold mine is an important mine in northern Tanzania that has both an underground and an open pit mines. The mine is located in the Tarime district of Mara region in northern Tanzania. The mine was opened in 2002 and is owned and run by Acacia Mining.