The recent geological survey by Ministry of Energy and Minerals shows that Tanzania has huge reserves in eleven key minerals which include Gold, Nickel, Tanzanite, Diamonds, Copper, Iron ore, Coal ,Limestone, Soda ash, Gypsum and Phosphate. Only Gold, Diamonds and Tanzanite are being fully mined by multinational companies and shipped abroad, at the end of the day, the companies acquire 97% leaving only 3% of the profit as royalty to Tanzanians who are original owners.
Apart from leaving the inhabitants with nothing, the mining companies have become deleterious to threaten human life in Tanzania. Recently there has been devastating reported deaths and skin injuries of our fellow compatriots with their cattle and flocks leaving near North Mara Gold mines owned by Barric Tanzania. This was a result of poisonous water from the mining plant being channeled to river Tigithe. It was fortunate to me that when I heard of this havoc my friend who works in that mining plant was beside me, he was on his 28days holiday after 56working days in the plant. Therefore, It was a high time for me to know in detail on how the mining regime operates and mineral processing it performed in general, under friendship bases I was sure that he could tell me to the bottom the truth. He said that, plant workers are not allowed to get into the mines with their cell phones especially those with cameras, thus he is always offline during his 56 workdays in the mines. He went on saying that, the poison that killed people was cynide, then I surprisingly asked him, why such a poisonous and deadly element to human vicinity?I remembered ten years ago the “story of cyanide element” my chemistry teacher told us in class, that until then none knew the test of cyanide. It’s discoverer died of the poison when testing just before writing how it tests.
The friend said that, despite its deadly poisonous effect, cyanide is the best and world-class reagent used in purification of alluvial gold. It extracts about 80% of pure Gold from its alluvial ores. Then, I was eager to know about the dumping and handling of the remains after purification because I know that the residues still contain cyanide. He said that, the residues are dumped in special tile tanks excavated within the plant surrounding. He said confidently that, cyanide leakages from these tanks could be the source of poison within river Tigithe.Being familiar to the area he resumed that, the river is the source of domestic water for nearby killed and injured inhabitants with their cattle and flocks.
I am not very sure whether everyone is aware that such cattle and flocks are a source of beef to the people living in towns and cities’ including Dar-es-Salaam.Apart from that water from this river is an integral of drainage system of that area. It is connected to other rivers and Lake Victoria by either underground or upper ground flow water systems, this makes me think of the aquatic biota and its wide spread human uses.
It was unfortunate that before concluding our conversation a friend had to leave to respond an emergency call that compelled him to be somewhere he did not tell me.At this time I had many questions in my mind with none to respond to them; what does the government say? Where will this poisonous residual be taken after closure of the plant? How safe is the beef and fish we eat from such areas, is the problem local or countrywide? Of what value are these blood minerals if it makes us suffer and die?