MAC: Mines and Communities

Tanzania: Barrick investors risk being "chased away"

Published by MAC on 2011-07-11
Source: The Guardian (2011-06-19)

Residents of African Barrick's North Mara mining district, backed by their MP, are threatening to close down the UK-listed company's operations, if it fails to honour  pledges to the community.

Last month, five people were shot dead by police safeguarding the mine, as hundreds of local farmers and workers allegedly invaded the mine site to steal gold. See: Tanzania: Murders at North Mara

North Mara investors risk being kicked out

By Florian Kaijage

The Guardian (Tanzania)

19 June 2011

Tarime District residents have threatened to halt mining gold operations at North Mara, Nyamongo area, if the mine proprietors, African Barrick Gold, continue dishonouring an agreement with communities in the mine’s neighbourhoods.

Tarime Member of Parliament (MP), Nyambari Chacha Nyangwine, told Parliament that nobody should be surprised if such development takes place.

He was speaking on Friday during debate in the House for the national budget for 2011/12 year.

“I insist in this august House that we tell North Mara investors to honour their pledges and if they don’t, one day they will find themselves chased away.

“Let them fulfill what they pledged on water, roads, education, health and electricity. Therefore, I ask them to fulfill that… if not we will take harsh measures,” he said.

Nyamongo residents are desperate… they see precious minerals being excavated from their native land but they benefit nothing from them, he added.

“Tarime people should rest assured that we represent them and I will be at the forefront to safeguard their interests and believe we can find a lasting solution to problems facing Nyamongo and Tarime.

“…Forming a commission of inquiry to find out what caused the killings and take stern legal measure against all the people involved in the incident,” said MP Nyangwine.

Last month five people were shot dead by police in charge at the mine, claiming that hundreds of local residents had invaded the mine intending to steal gold and gold concentrate.

He added: “I request wise people, even clerics, to come to Tarime to pray for peace…but for those who intend to cause chaos, the elders have declared that they don’t need them.”

The agreement between Barrick and Nyamomgo is for the former to set aside money equivalent to one percent of the company’s income, specifically for improving various social services.The agreement also covers demarcating an area for small scale miners.

Relations between North Mara and the surrounding communities soured in 2009 as the mining settlement was accused of letting contaminated liquids into a nearby river. Livestock, mainly cattle, that drank water from the river reportedly died.

Africa Barrick Gold, with four mining cites in different areas, is the major player in Tanzania’s gold mining industry.

Apart from North Mara, they own Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi in Shinyanga Region as well Turawaka in Biharamlo District, Kagera Region.

Kabanga Nickel mine in Ngara District, Kagera Region, is also owned by Barrick.

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