LAST week an international human rights and business conduct watch dog,
Business and Human Rights Centre, published on its website two
statements from the country’s two leading mining sector multinational
Canadian-headquartered Barrick Gold Corp. and South African-based
AngloGold Ashanti had been invited by the centre to respond to a
research report released by two mining activists, Tundu Lissu and Mark
The Business and Human Rights Centre which tracks some 4,000
multinational corporations’ activities in 180 countries of the world
(including Tanzania), posted Barrick and AngloGold’s response verbatim
on its website.
Barrick, which last year was at the centre of a political storm
over the Buzwagi gold mining project, warned that any major fiscal and
regulatory changes may force private investors to leave the country.
The company went on to assert that the authors of the report,
Curtis and Lissu, missed the point when they stated that Tanzania has
an estimated fortune of $39bn in gold reserves. According to the
Canadian firm, such a reported wealth is immaterial because unless
there is someone to extract the gold from the ground, it remains a
We would like to applaud the authors of what we think is a highly
illuminating report on the sorry state of affairs in the country’s
mining sector. Most of the issues raised in the research report were
pertinent and aptly reflected the ongoing exploitation of our nation’s
We expect multinational corporations that come under public
scrutiny respond to such claims and allegations against them with facts
and figures, instead of using abusive and arrogant language against
individuals or a whole country.
If giant mining companies were actually finding our great country’s
environment as non rewarding and claim to be posting massive losses
year after year, why then do they keep investing in new projects?
It is worth noting that AngloGold attempted to respond to some of
the allegations detailed in the report with their own facts and
The concerns raised in the Curtis-Lissu report were also largely
echoed by the much-praised report produced by the bi-partisan Bomani
In conclusion, we would like to state that we fully support efforts
by President Jakaya Kikwete’s government to implement major reforms in
the country’s mining regime. Rather than continue with the current
unsustainable state of affairs where the country earns peanuts from its
mineral wealth, we should leave the minerals to just sit there in the
soil until we come up with a better mining regime or develop our own
capacity for extracting minerals. After all, gold and other valuable
minerals are not perishable goods.