Geita Gold Mine
|Website||AngloGold Ashanti website|
In 2008, the mine accounted for 6% of the company's overall annual gold production and employed close to 3,200 people.
Gold mining in Tanzania in modern times dates back to the German colonial period, beginning with gold discoveries near Lake Victoria in 1894. The first gold mine in what was then Tanganyika, the Sekenke Mine, began operation in 1909, and gold mining in Tanzania experienced a boom between 1930 and World War II. By 1967, gold production in the country had dropped to insignificance but was revived in the mid-1970s, when the gold price rose once more. In the late 1990s, foreign mining companies started investing in the exploration and development of gold deposits in Tanzania, leading to the opening of a number of new mines.
The Geita mine commenced production in 2000, initially as a joint venture of AngloGold and Ashanti. With the merger of the two companies in 2004, the mine became fully owned by AngloGold Ashanti. The mine was inaugurated by then-Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, who pledged more incentives for investments in the sector. But the opening of the mine also raised fears within environmentalists from Tanzania and Uganda that its closeness to Lake Victoria, 20 kilometres away, could cause further environmental damage to the already affected water system. Unlike the North Mara Gold Mine, where a spill caused extremely high levels of arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, copper, chrome, nickel and zinc at the area around, at Geita the situation was found to be less acute. But at Geita, too, higher than natural levels of arsenic and other metals in sediments were found.
The mine started to experience production difficulties from 2007 onwards, starting with the failure of the highwall in the Nyankanga open pit, continued with some significant breakdowns of major mining equipment and in the process plant. Geita continued to underperform in 2009, producing 272,000 ounces of gold for the year, 43,000 short of the anticipated 315,000 ounces.
In March 2010, a gang of robbers stormed into the mine, tied up a security guard, seized his gun and stole 14 boxes of explosives. The police later managed to arrest one of the gang members and retrieved 12 of the 14 boxes but the incident raised questions in regards to the security at the mine.
At the end of September 2012, Charles Kitwanga, the deputy minister to the vice president’s office singled out the mine for its environmental efforts, citing it as a great example of how mines do not go hand in hand with pollution.
Production figures of the recent past were:
|Year||Production||Grade||Cost per ounce|
|2003 ||661,000 ounces||3.60 g/t||US$ 183|
|2004 ||570,000 ounces||3.74 g/t||US$ 250|
|2005 ||613,000 ounces||3.14 g/t||US$ 298|
|2006 ||308,000 ounces||1.68 g/t||US$ 497|
|2007 ||327,000 ounces||2.01 g/t||US$ 452|
|2008 ||264,000 ounces||1.92 g/t||US$ 728|
|2009 ||272,000 ounces||1.89 g/t||US$ 954|
- Country report: Tanzania AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 24 July 2010
- Tanzania Mining History tanzaniagold.com, accessed: 24 July 2010
- Tanzania: Gold mining adds new problems to Lake Victoria World Rainforest Movement website, accessed: 24 July 2010
- Dangerous Levels of Arsenic Found Near Tanzania Mine Mining Watch Canada website, published: 17 November 2009, accessed: 24 July 2010
- Beef up security at Geita Gold Mine The Citizen (Tanzania), published: 23 March 2010, accessed: 24 July 2010
- Tanzania: Mine Wins Praise for Keeping Clean Environment, Africa: Allafrica.com, 2012, retrieved 3 October 2012
- Annual Report 2005 AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 11 July 2010
- Annual Report 2006 AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 11 July 2010
- Annual Report 2009 AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 9 May 2010
- AngloGold Ashanti website
- Geita mine (TZA-00057) Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States website