A history of Mica mining in Morogoro district, 1890s-1960.

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Dar es Salaam
This study investigated the history of mica mining and its impact on the local communities in Morogoro district from the 1890s to 1960. In particular, the study explored the origins and evolution of mica mining in Morogoro district; examined the labour question, including labour acquisition and deployment, labour relations in the workplace and general conditions in the mica mines; and assessed the socio-economic impact of mica mining on the local communities in the district. The data for this study were gathered from three primary sources, namely government reports, archives and oral interviews, and from libraries and the Internet as secondary sources. They were collected and analysed using qualitative methods and techniques. Political economy theory guided the analysis of the data. The findings indicate that mica mining and use existed in the district before the advent of colonialism, though not in a commercial setting. The findings also show that the colonisation of Tanganyika led to the beginning of organised, large-scale, commercial mica mining. The significant demand for mica in both Germany and Britain, and the discovery of rich, mica-bearing ores in Tanganyika influenced the commencement and development of commercial mica mining in the territory. The industry attracted foreign investors and gave rise to the recruitment of local labour and some skilled foreign labour. The majority of the labour force came from the local Luguru communities. The workers engaged in the mica mining were drawn into the industry as wage earners, though most of them tended to divide their productive time between work in the mines and peasant subsistence production on a seasonal basis. Moreover, mica mining redefined the social division of labour, giving rise to new roles for women in the household economies. It created new threats to the local flora and fauna, which were met with efforts at reforestation. Transport infrastructure and communication facilities were improved, and the mica industry provided new economic opportunities to the larger population in the district, beyond those directly involved in producing the mineral. By the mid-1950s when foreign investors in mica production withdrew from the territory, mica mining had became such an important part of the lives of the local workers in the industry that a significant part of them continued to produce mica as entrepreneurs in their own right, either as individual producers or as members of producer and marketing cooperative societies.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF DT449.M67T34M8624)
Mica, Minerals, History 1890s - 1960, Morogoro, Tanzania
Mwakalinga, S. M. (2018). A history of Mica mining in Morogoro district, 1890s-1960. Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam.