Get the CIFOR publications update

CIFOR publishes over 400 publications every year on forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy, agroforestry and much more in multiple languages.

The new face of informality in the Tanzanian mineral economy: Transforming artisanal mining through foreign investment?

The new face of informality in the Tanzanian mineral economy: Transforming artisanal mining through foreign investment?

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) has long been a mainstay of Tanzania’s rural economy, contributing to the livelihoods of more than three million Tanzanians. ASM is nonetheless yet to realise its full development potential, with the sub-sector continuing to be beset by social, environmental and economic underperformance issues as a result of structural resource and capacity constraints.

Like countries such as Ghana, Cameroon and Zimbabwe, foreign investors, often of Chinese origin, are increasingly participating in Tanzania’s ASM chains, which bring in much-needed capital, technologies and know-how. Such investments have the potential to contribute to resolving ASM barriers to upgrading, but could also pose a threat if not properly regulated.

This paper aims to offer new insights into the opportunities and risks associated with leveraging foreign private capital in support of ASM development. It does this by examining:

  1. The nature and scope of investor participation in Tanzania’s ASM,
  2. How (well) this participation is regulated, and
  3. The attendant sustainable and sector development implications.

Our analysis reveals how investor participation in Tanzania’s ASM sector has evolved in recent years and how such investments have contributed to fulfilling basic livelihoods needs of rural populations.

Authors: Schoneveld, G.C.; Chacha, M.; Njau, M.; Jønsson, J.; Cerutti, P.O.; Weng, X.

Topic: economy, investment, mining

Geographic: Tanzania,China

Pages: 76p

Publisher: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, UK

Publication Year: 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78431-565-8

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Download Option:

Export Citation

Related viewing


CIFOR website usability survey

We're conducting research on our website and we'd love to hear from you about your experience on This will help us make improvements and prioritize new features. The survey should only take 5 minutes, and your responses are completely anonymous.

If you have any questions about the survey, please email us:

We really appreciate your input!

Start survey
I don’t want to participate
Remind me later