The ambiguity of transparency in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector of Tanzania

Anna Frohn Pedersen*, Jonas Østergaard Nielsen, Finn Mempel, Simon Laursen Bager, Jesper Bosse Jønsson, Esteve Corbera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the newly established mineral markets in Tanzania. These markets aim to ensure tax revenue collection and enhance the transparency of mineral trade within the artisanal and small-scale mining sector. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in the Geita Region, we show that the enhanced transparency facilitated by these new markets has benefitted artisanal and small-scale gold miners. However, the living conditions of the miners and opportunities for profit have not changed significantly and the miners do not expect that a more transparent value chain will improve their lives. Many miners continue to depend on sponsorships from more powerful actors, which narrows their ability to profit from transparent market structures. Based on these findings, we discuss the ambiguity of transparency, as its transformative potentials are both important and limited and we argue that transparency for small-scale producers is not a straightforward path towards their empowerment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101004
JournalExtractive Industries and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Artisanal and small-scale mining
  • Empowerment
  • Mineral markets
  • Tanzania
  • Transparency


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