Mara — AFRICAN Barrick Gold (ABG) has this week pumped over 8.12bn/- to compensate hundreds of local people living near its North Mara Gold Mine, Tarime officials revealed on Thursday.
Mr Amos Sagara, the Tarime District Council Chairman, confirmed that ABG has already deposited the money into the council's account ready for disbursement to 382 people.
"Things are going well and eligible people will start receiving their payments next week," the top council leader said in a morning press briefing on the mining company's latest compensation to communities living near the mine.
The money will enable the villagers to pave way for the expansion of mining activities at one of Tanzania's largest gold mines. The latest compensation targets two villages of Kewanja and Nyakunguru, according to Mr Sagara.
"I call upon targeted people to turn up and receive their payment and after receiving they should move from the areas to enable the mine continue with its activities," Mr Sagara, who is also the Councillor for Sirari Ward (CCM), said.
ABG has at different intervals coughed billions of shillings to compensate local people between last year (2012) and this year (2013). A few months ago, the mine says it spent 18 million US dollars (about 22bn/-) to compensate around 1,500 people between April 2012 and February 2013.
The mine has been operating since 2002 when it was officially inaugurated by the then President Benjamin Mkapa and it has passed under the hands of several giant world's giant gold mine companies like Placer Dome Tanzania, Africa Mashariki Gold Mine (AMGM) and African Barrick Gold.
ABG is now seen here as the first company committed to honour pledges made by the mine to local communities, a move that has greatly helped to reduce frequent conflicts between the miner and the surrounding communities as compared to the past.
For example ABG's budget on local development has been raised from nearly 5bn/- last year to 8bn/- this year, according to Mr Gary Chapman, the North Mara Mine General Manager.