26 November 2012

Tanzania: Govt Vows to Probe Mining Investors' Brutality

Photo: Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
Artisanal diamond miners at work in an open-pit mine.

THE government will soon conduct investigations over allegations that mining investors are harassing and even killing residents around mining sites.

Energy and Minerals Deputy Minister, Mr Stephen Masele said here over the weekend that of late, the State has been receiving a lot of complaints from the public on the matter calling for regional and district commissioners in the affected areas to conduct special investigations to obtain the truth.

"We have come across serious allegation that investors are harassing and even killing residents allegedly entering mining sites without permission. If the allegations are confirmed we will take action regardless of the status of an investor," he said. Mr Masele said the government was in the final process to conduct a countrywide census in order to come to an exact number of small-scale miners, assist them and provide them skills on the best mining practices.

He was responding to complaints by residents who said the relationship between mining investors and local residents particularly in Geita was not good calling for the government to intervene before it was too late.

Explaining on the contributions of the mining investors in improving social services citing an example of Geita Gold Mines (GGM), the Deputy Minister for Water, Dr Binilith Mahenge, said the company is contributing a lot in improving various areas such as water for the locals.

He said GGM has contributed 4.5bn/- for the implementation of some water projects in the area such as that of connecting water from Lake Victoria to the district. He was confident that the construction of a water plant and pipes from the lake is now complete by 90 per cent while over 60 per cent of the pipes have been procured to facilitate water connection.

When fully completed, according to the deputy minister, the infrastructure will be able to increase the availability of water for the locals to 4 million litres a day up from just the current 0.4 million litres. He said the government has also allocated 10bn/- to facilitate the distribution of water and construction of infrastructure.

Emphasizing on good governance in operating mining activities, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office-Regional Administration and Local Governments, Mr Agrey Mwanri, directed Regional and District Commissioners of the areas hosting mining operations to conduct investigations over torture allegations by mining investors.

He said their report will assist the government on prompt action to be taken to solve the existing problems once and for all.

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