By Lake Zone Watch Writer
Authorities in Tarime District have announced a new initiative that aims to motivate the youth, giving them alternative means of income so they may not engage in unlawful activities, including invading North Mara Gold mine.
Addressing villagers at Nyabichune, one of the villages surrounding the gold mine, Tarime District Commissioner Col. Michael Mntenjele guaranteed support to the youth if they would form economic groups saying poultry, dairy farming and horticulture were all potential opportunities at their disposal.
“We propose that you form economic groups. Experts will come to give you the required education on the areas of your choice and how to run the projects profitably,’’ the DC said during a public rally at the village early last this week.
He said the gold mine is ready to take care of funding of the youth groups and also hinted that there would be no problem of market for their produce as the mine will be buying from them.
Col. Mntenjele told the villagers to borrow a leaf from their neighbor Matongo village where a youth agro-business project is progressing well.
“The project was funded by North Mara Gold mine and our agricultural experts are offering technical expertise. If you can get capital for such lawful activities, why would you involve yourselves in the invasions of the gold mine and face the long arm of the law?” the DC asked the youth.
Meanwhile, the Tarime DC said the government has donated mining equipment for artisanal miners. This will be helpful to the miners as they will now be guided on where to locate gold before digging can commence.
“Last month President Samia Suluhu Hassan commissioned some mining equipment in Mara Region and our artisanal miners in Tarime are among the beneficiaries,’’ the DC said.
In the meantime, Col. Mntenjele narrated to the villagers the significance of Barrick North Mara gold mine to the local residents and the entire economy of the country.
He said the mine is a partnership between Barrick Gold and the government of Tanzania through Twiga Minerals Corporation in a ratio of 84 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.
Given this situation, the government cannot sit in the fence while saboteurs ruin its investment and that of the investor through intrusions into the mine. These will be punished according to the law, the DC warned.
“Don’t forget that Barrick Corporation President and CEO, Mark Bristow recently donated about USD 30 million( approximately TZS 70bn/-) for secondary schools across the country,’’ said Col. Mntenjele.
Of the amount, 900ml/- was disbursed to Manga Secondary School for construction of three girls’ dormitories, four classrooms and washrooms, the DC said.
Manga is one of public schools located in the gold-rich district of the Lake Zone region.
Besides, Barrick North Mara offers employment opportunities of non-skilled jobs to villagers surrounding the gold mine.
“Recently, 27 people from Nyabichune village were absorbed in the goldmine and about 40 per cent of the mine workers hail from villages surrounding the mine. Why would you then invade the mine only to clash with your own people?” the DC asked the villagers.
Col. Mntenjele also said about 90 per cent of the staff at North Mara are Tanzanians, including the current General Manager (GM) and wondered how anyone would think of invading the mine of such significance to the wellbeing of many people.