Tarime — TARIME District Council has said it is now seeing remarkable development in the villages surrounding the North Mara Gold Mine at this time compared to the past.
Located in Nyamongo area, North Mara Gold Mine is one of Tanzania's largest gold mines operated by African Barrick Gold (ABG) "There are big things happening in Nyamongo.
Nyamongo of today is not Nyamongo of the past", Tarime District Council Chairman Mr Amos Sagara told a full council meeting at the District Council Conference Hall recently.
The latest full council meeting which sat to discuss development issues was attended by all Tarime councillors including those hailing from the villages around the mine and senior government experts based in the area.
The top council leader commended ABG, Tanzanian largest gold producer for speeding up implementation of Villages Benefits Implementation Agreements (VBIA's) signed between the mine and surrounding villages late 2011.
Implementation of the VBIA's has witnessed the miners pouring millions of shillings to support various community development projects in the target villages.
The beneficiary villages included Nyangoto, Kewanja, Kerende, Nyakunguru, Nyamwaga, Genkuru and Matango. "Things have real changed in the villages after the signing of the VBIA's. Roads are passable, education, health and water sectors have also given a huge boost by the mine", Mr Sagara told the packed meeting.
He urged continued good relations between the mine and local communities that have also improved in the recent years. He hoped for greater changes in 2014.
ABG's budget on local development at it's North Mara Gold Mine site has climbed from around 5bn/- in 2012 to nearly 10 bn/- last year (2013).
The mining company has further started investing heavily on economic sustainable projects aimed at transforming the lives of youths and women within the surrounding communities.
In the past few months, the miner says it has spent more than 400m/- to support local youths start a wide range of economic generating projects in the villages.
Support on youth group's development is also seen as one of the most significant decisions to help in eliminating intrusions at the mine. The mine has already rehabilitated Sungusungu Health Centre and has up modern educational premises at Ingwe Secondary School.
The miners have also drilled boreholes in some needy villages. In 2011 the mining company signed a deal dubbed "Village Benefits Implementation Agreements (VBIA)" with several villages in order to implement agreements that were not honoured by previous companies.
Implementation of the deal has witnessed the miners pouring in billions of shillings to support local development initiatives with provision of social services with education, health, water, rural roads getting top priority.