Silas is a lawyer and legal aid advisor at Himiza Social Justice, one of the implementing partners in Clarity. 

He works since 2016 for the organisation. Coming from a small scale mining family himself, he’s very motivated to support victims of the large mining companies. As many Tanzanians, he is critical on the way the government handles the goldmining industry. For example, the use of mercury for gold mining is forbidden because of the damage it does for people’s health as well as the environment. While large scale miners have means to use alternatives, small scale miners still use mercury, that is for sale in shops in the mining areas. During the Clarity meeting, a government official claimed that the government is creating a lot of awareness about the health hazards of using mercury, and figures show that there is a decline in the use of mercury. Silas responded that the government is also still allowing the import of mercury, what is in contradiction to their policies.  

Training paralegals 

Together with LEAT, Himiza trained paralegals to support people in the community facing problems with large scale mining. By community monitoring, pictures and stories are recorded about land evictions, houses damaged by mining blasts, land degradation, pollution, mining in nature reserves, companies not warning people in advance when blasts are used and corruption in the grieviance systems. A public road around MNGM/Barrick mine is closed after 6 PM to prevent intruders. People coming home from work have to make large detours. If somebody tries to pass the road, Tanzanian police does use violance to keep people away. There is also a list of CSR projects of large mining companies supporting surrounding communities that are seen as window dressing  . For example, a school built by a mining company is of very low quality, while the budget was very high. Another school for 800 pupils was destructed because the land was sold to the mining company. Three years after a new school is still not build.  

Complaints are recorded and directed to those responsible, and shared with local leaders. Silas and his team follow up cases, and discuss them at multi-stake holder platforms. 

Public road closed after 6 PM