The North Mara Gold Mine (NMGM) has been given
ten days in which to compensate members of 30 households claiming to
have been affected by its poisonous heavy metals.
The notice has been issued by residents of Kemambo and Nyamongo ward in Tarime district, Mara region.
They have also urged the mine management to install reliable ponds
to contain chemical contaminated water from the mine's processing
This follows reports that one person and five cows in the two wards
died of chemical poison after coming into contact with Tigithi River
The water is said to be contaminated by heavy metals from the NMGM sewerage treatment pond.
The residents claimed that fish in the river was also found to have
been killed as a result of the river�s water being contaminated by the
The river pours its water into Mara River which, in turn, pours its water into Lake Victoria.
The firm's Public Relations and Communications manager, Mr Teweli
Teweli, however, maintained that the Tigithi River water was not
Speaking over the phone and in a statement yesterday he admitted,
however, that the pH (level of acidity) of the water had risen.
"Investigations and water sampling show that the current pH levels
in the Tigithi River have returned to normal," Mr Teweli said.
He explained that the mine's environmental and water specialists
investigated the matter and found out that the pH levels approximately
1000 meters downstream dropped to 4.8.
He said the mine had taken immediate steps to address the run-off
and water discharge from its water storage pond and ore stockpile.
Councillors for the Kemambo and Nyamongo wards, Mr Augustino Neto
Sasi and Machage Baltholomeo Machage, respectively, said residents of
their wards were worried about their health as a result of the
�contamination� of water from the Tigithi River.
The Member of Parliament for Tarime, Mr Charles Mwera, said he was informed of the incident.
He said the parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals was
scheduled to visit one of the country's four large-scale mines
belonging to Barrick Gold Tanzania.
Mr Mwera told members of the Nile Media Network (NMN) last weekend
that he had endorsed the demonstration by residents of the two wards.
They want to press the mine management to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
"Work to intercept and divert water coming into contact with the
river is scheduled for completion next week. Several options are under
consideration to address the problem in the long-term," Mr Teweli said.
He said the Tarime District Commissioner; Ministry of Energy and
Minerals, Lake Victoria Basin Authority and the National Environmental
Management Council (NEMC) were aware of the development.
Communities had held meetings to inform their colleagues about the
matter and enlist their support in the search for a long lasting
solution, he said.
"The situation results from increased rainfall and vandalism to
pond liners," said Mr Teweli. He revealed that the liner material was
regularly damaged and stolen.
Besides NMGM, Barrick Gold Corporation, which is the world's
prominent gold mining company whose shares are listed on the Toronto
and New York stock exchanges, also has a stake in Bulyanhulu or Buly,
as it is widely known, Tulawaka and Buzwagi gold mines.