Developing a Mine-to-Market Model

posted by Eduard Cornew

Co-Founders Samwel Bahebe and Thomas Cornew speaking with an ASGM village leader in Nzega, Tanzania.

Learn how Mwamba developed a mine-to-market business model to eliminate mercury and build capacity in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) communities.

Learning the Gold Trade

Mwamba first established itself in Tanzania as a gold broker/dealer with the help of experienced executives in the gold refining industry. Mwamba sources gold exclusively from mercury-free mining operations and sells into refineries globally. Operating as an intermediary has helped Mwamba grow a large network of miners, processors and geologists in Tanzania.

Recruiting Mining Expertise

After confirming its ability to source gold in Tanzanian and sell internationally, Mwamba recruited Tony Bainbridge to help them execute a mercury intervention in Tanzania’s Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector.


Tony is regarded as one of Asia’s top gold mining geologists. He brings technical expertise and nearly 40 years of experience owning and operating mines in strategic metals throughout the Asian and African continents. Tony has implemented mercury  interventions and run Tier 1 gold mines in some of the world’s most challenging operating environments. Today Tony is the Chairman of Asia Intercept Mining and the Mining Director of Mwamba.

Surveying the ASGM Market

Under Tony’s direction, Mwamba conducted an extensive survey of small-scale gold miners and processors in Kahama, Tanzania. Collating this data allowed us to network with miners and processors in the region, map their location and compare the regions demand for ore-processing against the existing supply.


The survey showed that…

  • MINERS desired excavation equipment to increase the safety and productivity of their mining activities and access to modern processing technologies to increase their gold recovery.

  • PROCESSORS wanted to rent unused capacity in their centers and improve the efficiency of their gold processing circuits.

Barriers to Collaboration

Mercury processing is cheap and almost instantaneous whereas modern processing technology has high upfront and variable costs, taking days sometimes week to complete. Small-scale miners who have made enough money to invest in modern processing facilities are the overwhelming minority. They fill their centers with ore produced from mines under their own management. These centers often sit idle while management stockpiles sufficient ore to run a processing cycle.

Processors are generally happy to rent unused capacity in their facilities to mercury dependent miners. Most miners, however, are too cash poor to  post payment for the service or even support themselves during the processing cycle.

Small-scale miners and processors wish to collaborate with one another but lack the resources and organization to do so.

Mwamba’s Mine-to-Market Model

Mwamba partners with established miners and processors, vertically integrating them in its responsible gold supply chain.

  • Purchase ore from miners
  • Rent processing capacity from processors
  • sell gold in formalized markets

Mwamba invests in the safety and efficiency of its partners, providing 3rd party verification, documentation diligence and distribution.

Eduard Cornew

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