Residents from the
Kewanja village at a
recent community
meeting with ABG
at North Mara
 
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — 27 March 2012 – Within a few weeks of President Jakaya Kikwete’s inauguration of the Extractive Industries Corporate Social Responsibility and Empowerment Presidential Award (EI-CSREPA), some mining companies in the country have responded to the government call to support the local communities in Tanzania.

The first foreign company to respond was African Barrick Gold (ABG) “’Tanzania’s largest gold producer “’ which has announced a three-year investment worth US$8.5million for community infrastructure in Mara region. The deal will see the seven villages surrounding the North Mara gold mine get better infrastructure such as roads and bridges, reports East African Business Week, quoted by allAfrica.com.

ABG has just reached the completion of a key stage of the North Mara Co-existence Plan, which has been developed to continue to improve community relations and the social licence to operate at its North Mara Mine.

ABG vice-president for corporate affairs Deo Mwanyika said that the nature of investment among the villages would differ, but in general it would include development of school infrastructure, provision of clean water, upgrading of the local health centre, improvement of the roads, and extension of electricity lines.

Mwanyika explained that the multimillion agreement deal with villagers was part of ABG’s commitment to give back to local communities. The deal would also benefit surrounding villages such as Nyakunguru and Matongo which had very poor infrastructure system.  Implementation of the deal would see better roads in the villages of Nyangoto, Kewanja, Matongo, Kerende, Genkuru and Nyamwaga.

ABG has also contracted a local contractor to supply clean drinking water to local villagers, and he has created a waste collection scheme along the major roads in the village which employs over 90 women.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Kikwete urged foreign investors “’ specifically from companies extracting minerals, natural gas and oil “’ to incorporate local procurement of goods and services into their companies’ policies along with empowering communities surrounding their areas of operation.

“This will ensure good relationship between the mining companies and the communities where they operate, otherwise hostilities between the two cannot be avoided,” he said.

Source: allAfrica.com through East African Business Week. For further details click here.