- Aug 2, 2010
By MIKE MANDE The EastAfrican
Posted Saturday, December 8 2012 at 14:53
- The special mining licences (SML) 17/96 and 18/96 will be based on the same terms as the previous licences.
- The original North Mara SMLs were issued in February 2000 and had expired in September 2011 but the mine continued to operate due to the rollover provisions contained in the Tanzanian Mining Act.
Tanzania has renewed African Barrick Golds North Mara mining sites licence for a 15-year term despite controversy surrounding the area.
The special mining licences (SML) 17/96 and 18/96 will be based on the same terms as the previous licences.
The original North Mara SMLs were issued in February 2000 and had expired in September 2011 but the mine continued to operate due to the rollover provisions contained in the Tanzanian Mining Act.
ABG said it had worked with the government over the past 18 months to get the renewal under the Mining Act 2010.
However, Nyambari Nyangwine, Member of Parliament for Tarime Constituency, said his constituency is considering blocking the mining area until the agreement with the villages around it is fulfilled.
Mr Nyangwine said that by mining gold from Nyamongo area, ABG had polluted potable water supplies, scarred landscapes and damaged sensitive ecosystems.
Barrick Gold was at the centre of negative publicity due to the human-rights abuses allegedly occurring at its mines at North Mara in 2011.
For example, seven people were allegedly shot dead at the mine after 800 people stormed the project protesting relocation of 10,000 families, the loss of farmlands and livelihoods and the ongoing poisoning of local residents.
ABG chief executive Greg Hawkins said that joint water sampling with the National Environmental Commission and an independent third party, to test the quality of the output from the water treatment plant at North Mara continued through the period.
ABG aims to complete this exercise in the fourth quarter of 2012, he said.
Mr Hawkins said that once successfully completed, the environmental protection order should be lifted to allow North Mara to discharge water from the mine site.
Since the issue of the original North Mara SMLs 12 years ago, the mine has produced over two million ounces of gold and has a further 3.5 million ounces of gold remaining in reserves.
The SML 17/96 now covers 31.3 sqare kilometres and includes both the Gokona and Nyabigena pits. The SML 18/96 covers 10.5 square kilometres and includes the Nyabirama pit.