MORE details on the findings of a study on possible water contamination
due to acid seepage from the North Mara Gold Mine will be known when
the final report on the matter is presented in Parliament in Dodoma
The Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals, Mr
William Shellukindo, was commenting on a research report by an
inter-faith committee that focused on the levels of trace metal
concentrations in soils and water samples drawn from rivers, ponds and
from cultivated lands near the mines in Nyakabale and North Mara.
Done under the precipices of the Norwegian University of Health
Sciences, the study has revealed that the concentrations of some of the
elements in water at the mentioned sites were above the World Health
Organisation (WHO) drinking water recommendations while other samplings
showed traceable metal concentrations below the government’s standards.
“The soil analysis shows that apart from the incident site in
Tarime, not very high contents of trace elements,wheras the waters and
sediment samples contained higher contents of the investigated
elements,’’ the findings note.
Results indicated that in some places levels of trace metals were
higher than what is permitted by the government and WHO standards.
“We will express the feelings of these communities when we speak in parliament,” Mr Shellukindo said.
But members of the committee, who have seen the chief government
chemist’s report, confirmed that it had similar findings as the report
The issue of water contamination by effluents from the North Mara
Gold Mine stirred debate in the 16th parliamentary session where the
government immediately heeded to the House’s resolution in the light of
a select committee comprising MPs to investigate claims of toxic
According to members of the inter-faith committee, the study, done
in seven villages, witnessed a shift in the search for water resources
in the area and deaths of 17 heifer cattle and six abortions between
May and August.
They, therefore, recommended an environment audit, medical
examination of those affected and for the government to give a position
as to whether the water was safe or not.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Land, Natural
Resources and Environment, Mr Job Ndugai, said that the two mines,
North Mara and Geita, were by initial design close to the communities.
Though some religious leaders suggested that the North Mara Mine be
closed, the committee advised that that should be left to the
discretion of agreement of parliament and central government.
According to the Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy
and Minerals, Mr Daniel Nsanzugwanko, the committee’s directive that an
alternative source of water be found had to be effected with ‘a sense
of urgency.’ Kibiti MP Abdul Marombwa asked the Mara area to have faith
in the government as the issue would be openly tabled on Wednesday next
But Barrick CEO Deo Mwanyika told the ‘Daily News on Saturday’
yesterday that acts of sabotage by some local criminals could harm
lives of people.
He said a $0.5m fence put around the area two weeks ago had been
brought down again by some individuals. In May, some people, he said
had broken into the mine and cut the liners where the chemicals were
protected, leaving the Toxic Sludge into River Tigithe in oblivion of
the mine management.
River Tigithe, which is used by thousands of residents, especially
the rural population, flows into Mara River that discharges water into
Lake Victoria on the Tanzania side.