Small-scale gold mining is an important avenue for sustainable development
Artisanal miners often rely on mercury to extract gold from ore. A heavy metal and a neurotoxin, mercury is harmful to human health and the environment.
In addition to harming health and the environment, mercury is a highly inefficent way to process gold.
Mwamba provides artisanal gold miners with clean and efficient processing technology that is mercury-free.
Transitioning to mercury‑free processing has real impact on real people.
Milembe Maliwa, single mother, provides for her five children through her work as a gold miner
Milembe was born in 1972 in Nyankumbo district. Unable to afford school, Milembe was married to a miner at an early age. Milembe has since mothered five children, of which two have sickle cell. In 2013 her husband died in a land slide while mining, leaving Milembe to provide for her family on her own. She now works at the Matebe Gold rush, crushing ore by hand. Years of inhaling dust released during the crushing process have left Milembe with pulmonary cancer. She continues to crush ore by hand to provide for her five children.
Milembe and many women like her rely on mining to provide for their families. In rural Tanzania mining is far more lucrative than agriculture, especially in the dry season. Mining is providing critical livelihood support to those who engage in it, but at a terrible cost. Mining has the potential to lift entire communities out of poverty, however there are key issues that must be addressed.
“Gold mining is the best income I can provide for my children.”
We use the UN Sustainable Development Goals as our framework for impact.
Our work touches on many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We focus largely on the goals below.
Mwamba’s processing service helps miners earn twice the pay for half the work by optimizing labor and gold extraction.
Mwamba allocates 2% of all profits for common good projects in its areas of operation.
Turning small‑scale gold mining into an environmentally and economically sustainable sector promises to lift entire communities out of poverty.
There are 1.5 Million artisanal miners in Tanzania today. The UNEP estimates there are 3+ jobs created for every individual directly involved. Often those involved in small‑scale gold mining belong to rural communities beyond the reach of recent economic development.
“Investment in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of economic growth and development. Technological progress is also key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges.” -UNEP
Processing infrastructure promises to unlock significant value for artisanal miners and enable broader investment in needed civic infrastructure.
Artisanal mining pollutes 1400+ tons of mercury to the environment each year. -UNEP
A heavy metal and a neurotoxin, mercury poses a severe health risk to laborers, their communities, and the food chain at large. Mercury persists in waterways and bioaccumulates in the food chain, amplifying it’s toxicity and extending it’s reach globally. By eliminating incentives to engage mercury methods, Mwamba is making a positive impact on the health of communities and ecosystems around the world.
We are living in a phenomenal age. If we can spend the early decades of the 21st century finding approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits and recognition for business, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce poverty in the world.