A person was shot dead when thousands of
gold seekers invaded Barrick`s North Mara Gold Mine in Tarime District
and destroyed equipment worth 15 million US dollars.
According to a statement issued in Dar es Salaam yesterday by
Barrick Gold Tanzania public relations and communications officer
Teweli Teweli, the incident occurred on Thursday at around 1830hrs.
Teweli said an estimated 400 invaders descended into the Nyabirama
pit as Barrick employees were preparing to blast high grade ore, while
another 3,000 invaders kept watch from the top of the pit.
He said the intruders stoned the security personnel relentlessly
until they overpowered them. The guards abandoned their posts and
retreated to safety.
``At this point, the rest of the intruders were seen entering the
Nyabirama pit and started destroying mining equipment,`` he said.
He said at about 22.00 hrs, two Field Force Unit vehicles arrived
at the pit and successfully cleared the pit and the surrounding areas,
thus enabling Barrick`s emergency response teams to fight the fires and
attempt to rescue equipment.
Teweli said among the equipment destroyed included a CAT Loader 988, an RH 170 shovel and RH 120 shovel and a DI 600 drill.
``The estimated equipment damage stands at 15 million US dollars.
There will also be significant loss of production and revenue as a
result of the invasion,`` he said.
He said a meticulous examination of the damage and security of the
area was underway, adding that the company was working closely with the
authorities to determine the next steps.
Acting Mara Regional Police Commander Deusdedit Katto identified
the dead person as Eziron Mwita. He said four police officers were
injured during the fracas.
Katto said the people of Nyamongo wanted to seize the mine while the miners were blasting the ores.
He said a number of police officers had been sent to the area to
restore order and that blasting activities at the mine had been