Dissecting the social license to operate: Local community perceptions of industrial mining in northwest Tanzania

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Discussions on industrial mining often revolve around the sector’s contribution to domestic revenue generation. The local impact on the rural communities wherein most of these companies operate receives much less attention. To bring the voices of these communities to the centre of the debate, IPIS conducted surveys on community perspectives in 32 villages nearby six industrial mines in northwest Tanzania.

Communities living around extractive operations arguably have most to win and lose from the mining industry. A better understanding of their perspectives on industrial mining, of the benefits and harms they feel, of the human rights violations they suffer, of what they appreciate and regret, of the bases of their trust or distrust, is essential for both governmental and corporate actors to inform their policies and practices on improving the societal impact and acceptance of industrial mining.

Community perception surveys were conducted in 32 villages around six selected industrial mines in northwest Tanzania: Buzwagi Gold Mine (BGM), Geita Gold Mine (GGM), North Mara Gold Mine (NMGM) and Nyamahuna Gold Mine, as well as Nyanza Salt Mine and Williamson Diamond Mine (WDM). Perceptions are assessed through the lens of the ‘social license to operate’ (SLO), which refers to the level of trust in and acceptance of mining companies by local communities.

This exploratory study consists of a report, presenting a bird’s-eye view on communities’ relations with industrial miners in northwest Tanzania, as well as two new layers on the IPIS webmap of Mining in Tanzania. The latter allows users to visualize a number of key indicators for each sampled mine and surveyed village.


Download the full report in pdf


Visit the interactive webmap