MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Africa update

Published by MAC on 2007-03-30


Africa update

30th March 2007

Nearly two months ago we were sceptical that the Tanzanian government would substantially increase taxation on mining companies, despite a promised "new look" at the country's legislation in the face of evidence that the country was being ripped off by the companies.

[see: http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Action/press1363.htm.]

Now the government has said it probably won't change existing laws in case it "scares" away prospective investors, while its minerals' commissioner has offered what amounts to an apologia for the industry.

In 2006, the world's biggest gold miner, Barrick, paid the Tanzanian government $7 million as a "goodwill gesture" following the government's decision to review mining contracts. Of course, any speculation that the payment was intended to prevent undue scrutiny of Barrick's own contracts would be unfounded and irresponsible. (Wouldn't it just?)

Meanwhile, according to Nicholas Mgaya, deputy secretary general of the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania, workers in Tanzanian mines are paid on average 160,000 to 300,000 shillings (US $128 to $240 a month - while Barrick's president and CEO, Greg Wilins, received just under US$9.4 million in his pay package for last year.

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