October 28, 2011

Barrick not liked by local communities

AFRICA Barrick Gold (ABG) has no 'social' licence to operate North Mara Gold Mine, Energy and Minerals Parliamentary Committee Chairman, January Makamba declared here on Wednesday citing endless conflicts between the Canadian investor and surrounding communities.

"You are not liked here. You may have a legal licence to operate this mine but you don't have a social licence to operate it," Mr Makamba told the North Mara Gold Mine's top management shortly after meeting local leaders and artisanal miners from the villages located near the mine.

He challenged the mine to find lasting solutions on issues that have contributed to worsen its relationship with the surrounding villagers.

This was the first time for the Energy and Minerals Parliamentary Committee members to visit the troubled mine after the 2010 general elections.

North Mara Mine General Manager, Mr Basie Maree, said various initiatives were now put in place to improve relationship between the mine and surrounding villages.

"For example, we have spent 350,000 US dollars to upgrade a hospital here and we have donated an anaesthetic machine to the regional hospital.

"We are doing a lot of things not because we have to do but because we want to and the villagers have welcomed the new initiatives," the GM told the visiting parliamentary committee.

Local leaders and villagers have hailed Mr Maree, saying that he is the first general manager to show commitment to end conflicts between them and the mining company.

The parliamentary committee also expressed disappointment by absence of ABG senior staff from Dar es Salaam to respond to some of their questions during their visit at the mine which is located in the Northern Tarime District, Mara Region.

"We are very disappointed by the absence of senior management of ABG. We are not happy and we are going to take this matter to parliament," Mr Makamba said.

Source: Daily News

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