GEITA region with vast gold reserves that merit it to be fondly called “the Golden State” of Tanzania was until 2000 not seeing much benefits from the mining sector, making its residents life ordinary or poor lives.
Close analysis has it that the industry was not contributing much towards the communities’ development projects in health, education, road infrastructure and entrepreneurship, among others, until strict government policies intervened that mining companies in the area, live to their contracts.
For instance, the Geita Gold Mining Limited (GGML) toeing the line of Africa Mining Vision (AMV) for sustainable social investment came in with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to support the local surrounding communities, and since then fortune knocked doors of the residents.
It was known that AMV, Africa’s own response to address challenges in the mineral sector was coined by the continent’s Heads of State in February 2009 at African Union (AU) summit.
The AMV’s strategic goal of integrating mining into local countries development policies at grassroots, national and regional levels, when followed to the letter, would trigger economic growth in the areas.
This has seen the GGML for instance, partnering with the local government authorities and other stakeholders to drive inclusive socio-economic development in Geita and address calamities in the region.
Talk of strategic investments to fight Covid-19. Here, the company during the peak of the disease rolled out a series of interventions, which included donating 1.1bn/- to support in saving the lives of the residents in public places in the area.
Handing over the assistance, GGML Vice-President-Sustainability, Simon Shayo said: “GGML has already donated 1.1bn/- to national level interventions through the Covid-19 Emergency Fund set up under the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The remaining 500 m/- would be used to support regional and community interventions in Geita, including the provision of key medical supplies and equipment such as PPE (personal protection equipment), ventilators and oxygen masks.”
In the intervention strategy, the company also donated 37 hand washing facilities with the capacity to carry 1000 liters each installed in various parts of Geita town, and chlorine to replace liquid soap at the facilities. These facilities were designed to serve everyone, including those with special needs, such as children and people with disabilities.
While receiving the donations, Geita Town Public Health Officer, Mr Japheth Masesa said: “I encourage everyone not to take this opportunity for granted. We must appreciate the efforts of our partners in development, which ensure that we all remain safe during this pandemic.”
Equally, receiving the assistance, Sr Adelberra Mukure, the Director of Moyo wa Huruma Orphanage said: “The orphanage with 168 children had installed a few 20-liter hand washing buckets, which were not enough to cater for the children, but a tank with 1000 liters is a relief to us.”
In its CSR, the company Senior Manager responsible for occupational health, Dr Kiva Mvungi said that they formed a partnership with Rubondo FM to create awareness on Covid-19. Rubondo FM, a local radio station owned by Geita District Council was established with funding from GGML’s CSR programme.
While touring Geita town, the Minister for Minerals, Dotto Biteko commended GGML for the various projects, it has been implementing in the area with the local authorities to support local communities.
He said that was in line with the government’s intention to see into it that areas with mineral resources, including Geita transform lives and economies of the surrounding communities.
“I have been impressed. We have already achieved our target of 400 bn/- revenue collections from the mining sector. Most of Geita region’s contribution in the revenue comes from Geita Gold Mining Limited and it is encouraging that the sector contributes more than five per cent in the GDP of our economy,” said Mr Biteko.
Some of the projects that GGML is partnering with the government are the Special Economic Investment zone which will be managed by the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) and the Geita Town Council.
Other strategic projects include the educational and health facilities construction, Geita Central and Katundu Market kiosks as well as the Agro-processing project that aims at improving the quality and quantity of agricultural output especially rice and sunflower for farmers in Geita District.
On CSR, the company spends about 9.2 bn/- annually on community projects in Geita region, where Mr Shayo pointed out that the execution of the projects has been practiced since the GGML started its business in Tanzania, adding: “One of our company’s core values is to ensure that the communities receive tangible benefits for hosting our business. That is why we have been investing in social and economic development since 2000 when the company started operation.”
In another development, in 2018, the company supported the installation of some solar-powered street lights in Geita town main roads, and construction of the state-of-the- art tower at the Geita Town roundabout as well as a sunflower processing factory.
The list also included funding the construction of a modern market facility for Geita town, and roofing more than 600 health and education infrastructures in the area.
“In 2018, GGML was the first mining company in Tanzania to have developed and implemented a credible CSR plan in line with section 105 of Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) No. 7 of 2017 which amends the Mining Act No. 14 of 2010,” said Mr Shayo.
In the same year, it pumped 9.2 bn/- to fund socio-economic development projects, and a similar amount annually meant for the same purpose since then.
While supporting the economic development of the communities, GGML has been working with different stakeholders to improve education and health infrastructures, which are deemed a priority of the government.
Areas that have so far benefitted from the company’s CSR funding include the purchase of medical and surgical equipment for Bukoli and Katoro Health Centre, fully equipping Kasota Health Centre’s Outpatient Department, funding children and adults to have free corrections of cleft lip operations, construction of 34 out-patient centres and five housing units for healthcare workers.