Protest Barrick
Home About us Issues International Campaigns Press Actions

Mining policy overhaul urgently needed in Tanzania

This Day
November 25th, 2008

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 corporations.

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 Curtis.

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 non-economic commodity.

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 mineral wealth.

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 figures.

The concerns raised in the Curtis-Lissu report were also largely echoed by the much-praised report produced by the bi-partisan Bomani Committee.

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.


Join our e-mail list