While artisanal and small-scale mining have for decades gained attention of both policy makers and academic researchers, very little is known about the organization and governance of sand extraction. Sand extraction is often related to violence and mafia organization. This article goes beyond criminalization and mafia to interrogate different governance regimes around sand mining. It further the debate of sand governance by looking at the formalization process of artisanal and small-scale sand mining in rivers in the Dar es Salaam Region of Tanzania. Based on the interview with different stakeholders, the paper unpacks the key aspects and rationales of the formalization by looking at the roles of different institutions and their relations, the way the formalization process has been perceived across the sand commodity chain and community and the environmental impacts of sand mining. Given booming sand extraction in many parts of Sub-Sahara Africa, policy makers, both at the national and international level, should take stock of governance efforts for sand mining in the Dar Es Salaam area and the integration of, and even clear focus on artisanal mining formalization in this.

Bert Suykens

Affiliated Senior Researcher