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Attacks on gold mine worry Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC)

by Felix Mwera, MusomaThe Citizen (Tanzania)
March 18th, 2009

The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) has expressed its concern about the frequent attacks on the North Mara Gold Mine by neighbouring villagers.

North Mara Gold Mine is situated in Tarime District, Mara Region, and is operated by Barrick Gold Tanzania Ltd.

TIC has called for an immediate end of criminal incidents targeting Barrick Gold mine operations in Tarime before the situation gets out of hand.

"We are appealing for the regional and district authorities to see how best to tame this problem because if what is happening on the ground goes beyond the borders, we will not get investors", TIC executive director Emmanuel ole Naiko said in Musoma.

Mr ole Naiko was speaking at an entrepreneurship and investment seminar that was attended by around 200 participants from all districts of Mara Region.

The two-day seminar that ended yesterday was opened by First Lady Salma Kikwete on Monday at the Mara Regional Conference Investment Centre.

Mr ole Naiko showed the seminar participants a number of inhuman attacks, pictures portraying some of the past criminal incidents.

"If these pictures reach overseas countries, we will not get investors – let us do everything in our power to contain the problem," the TIC boss appealed.

The First Lady was shocked when she saw the pictures and urged Mara residents to stop engaging in violent incidents against the Canadian investor.

"These incidents being carried out against Barrick mines are not good, they are likely to chase him away – when that happens, won't come back", warned Mrs Kikwete.

She urged Mara residents to abstain from taking laws in their hands and instead, follow the laid down procedures in claiming their rights.

The First Lady concurred with Mr ole Naiko that if the insecurity situation at the mine was left unchecked, the investor might end up suspending his operations in the area.

Production at the North Mara Gold Mine started in 2002 but since then it has been encountering the highest rate of crimes. A large number of intruders have been invading the mine to steal gold, sand and fuel.

In December last year an intruder was shot dead and the mine equipment worth 15 million US dollars was set ablaze after 400 intruders from the surrounding villages invaded the mine and clashed with anti-riot police.

Other gold mines operated by Barrick in the country are Bulyanhulu, Tulawaka and Buzwagi, which is still under construction at the cost of $400 million.


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