2008-12-19 07:30:00 Gold firm revises loss estimates By The Citizen Reporter Barrick Gold Tanzania said yesterday it overestimated losses incurred when villagers recently invaded its mine in Tarime District. In a statement issued a day after some villagers invaded the North Mara Gold Mine last week, the firm said the invasion had cost it $16 million. However, in another statement on Wednesday, the company's public relations and communications officer Teweli Teweli said the actual loss was $7 million. The police reportedly shot dead one civilian in the commotion that ensued from the invasion of the company's Nyabirama pit by about 400 villagers who set the firm's equipment on fire. On Monday, some villagers implicated security personnel at the mine, whom they accused of accepting bribes of between Sh100,000 and Sh500,000 to allow gold dealers to enter the pit and steal gold sand. Mr Teweli said the company regretted the death of one Hezron Marwa who was shot dead as the police fired to dispel villagers from the mine. "Regrettably, the police have reported that one Hezron Marwa was shot and died when they attempted to scatter the people away," he said. He also said several security personnel and four police officers were seriously injured. Operations at Nyabirama pit have been suspended, and officials said more information on the invasion would be released once investigations were complete. Villagers said the company had itself to blame for the invasion after giving them "poor compensation" when it displaced them. In an unrelated development, Kahama residents said the lack of awareness on the benefits of investments among people living in mining areas is the main cause of conflicts between villagers and investors. Members of the communities around the Buzwagi Gold Mine in Kahama District said most people were engaged in conflicts with mining investors due to ignorance. "The Government must educate people living close to mines well before investors begin operating to prevent unnecessary conflicts, and avoid costs of settling such disputes," the residents said.