North Mara Gold Mine
|Company||African Barrick Gold|
|Year of acquisition||2006|
North Mara Gold Mine is an open pit gold mine in the Tarime District of the Mara Region of Tanzania. It is one of four gold mines African Barrick Gold, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange, operates in Tanzania, the other two being Bulyanhulu and the Buzwagi Gold Mine.
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 North Mara mine, which opened in 2002, consists of three open pits, a process plant, waste rock dumps, a tailings containment pond, and other associated facilities. As of 2012 there was an expected mine life of 10 years remaining.
In 2008 a group of 200 people broke into the North Mara mine site and destroyed approximately US$15 million worth of Barrick property, including setting some of it on fire. The vandalism resulted in temporarily closing an open pit, and an increase in security on the property. Motivation for the attack on the property was not determined, the local police suggested they were attempting to get gold from the pit.
In 2009 a Tanzanian Member of Parliament, Harrison Mwakyembe, demanded the Mara Gold Mine be closed, due to the deaths of eighteen villagers from Nyamongo which had been attributed to drinking water polluted by the mine. In February 2010 the National Assembly of Tanzania ordered the government to have a study completed to determine if the North Mara Gold Mine was polluting the Tigithe River (the drinking water supply for more than 250,000 people), thereby killing people and livestock, as had been reported. The government accepted the "principle" of doing the study, and stated that there had been minimal environmental monitoring done in the area because the National Environment Management Council is quite small, with only 20 environmental inspectors for the entire country.
In June 2010 the Tanzanian government declared the Tigithe River free of pollution, following changes made to Barrick's environmental program. The government stated the water is potable and suitable for human consumption. Barrick had replaced 40,000 square metres (430,000 sq ft) of liner within their effluent pond, which they claim was destroyed by vandalism.
- Tanzania Mining History tanzaniagold.com, accessed: 24 July 2010
- North Mara tanzaniagold.com, accessed: 24 July 2010
- Obulutsa, George (15 December 2008). "UPDATE 1-North Mara gold mine operational -Barrick Tanzania". Reuters. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- Mwita, Sosthenes (28 July 2009). "MP:Close down North Mara mine". Daily Citizen. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- Bariyo, Nicholas (28 June 2010). "Tanzania Clears North Mara Gold Mine Over River Pollution-Min". Morning Star (Dow Jones Newswires). Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- Mwakalebela, Leonard (9 February 2010). "MPs demand fresh probe on North Mara toxic effluents". Daily Citizen. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- African Barrick Gold website
- North Mara mine (TZA-00044) Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States website