Unintended consequences: Barrick’s local content quandary

Although the adoption of the Mining (Local Content) Regulations (2018) has been a blessing to Tanzanians especially the communities that hosts large mining companies, the beneficiaries are abusing this opportunity.

Coupled with Barrick’s localization policy, the local content regulation has raised the number of Tanzanians employed in Barrick’s subsidiaries North Mara and Bulyanhulu Gold Mines up to 96 percent of mines’ workforces, out of which 45 percent are drawn from the communities surrounding the mines. Tanzanians account for 58 percent of the senior management. However, this increase is not without its glitches

The good intention of the mine to comply and hire workers from hosting communities is putting the mining giant in a predicament, as majority of the hired workers are found with gross misconduct.

According to findings, about 80 percent of employees caught on theft cases come from the surrounding communities of the mine.

A report by Tarime Special Police Zone Commander, ACP Geofrey Sarakikya on the death of Emmanuel Chacha, alias Ngasa, a North Mara Gold employee, exposes and confirms the long held perception that the local content opportunity is abused by some of the employees from the hosting communities

The ill-fated man was found illegally digging gold ore in Gokona underground pit by the special task force for combating gold smuggling. He jumped into a 20-metre deep ditch when he attempted to escape arrest.

ACP Sarakikya refutes rumours that the death of the miner was due to a gunshot as was earlier reported in social media adding that the special task force which involved Mara region mining officer, police officers, mine security officers and Nguvu Moja officer, the company responsible for mining security, was in normal patrol when they saw him.

“The autopsy performed on the body of the deceased by specialists at Bugando Referral Hospital confirmed that the cause of death are injuries he sustained when he jumped into the pit,” said ACP Sarakikya.

Further investigation revealed that Chacha was nicknamed Ngasa after the former Tanzanian footballer, for the role of providing potential information for invaders gang outside the mine whose mission is stealing gold ores. He is said to be part of the network between invaders and some miners employed by North Mara.

ACP Sarakikya said the postmortem report shows the body has no gunshot wounds as was previously claimed in social media.

Chacha’s  case, who was employed as an underground miner at North Mara Gold Mine,  is a depiction of the many employees from local communities who are employed basing on the local content regulation and Barrick localization policy. However, the beneficiaries pose a serious challenge of collaborating with mine intruders by giving inside information or participating in theft themselves.

“One of the biggest challenge facing mine employees from the surrounding community is peer pressure where they are expected to remain loyal member of their age groups, where are forced to collaborate or be branded traitor of the community,” says one underground employee who opted anonymity for security reasons.

The local content regulations require companies to employ only Tanzanians in junior level or middle level positions, an indigenous Tanzanian company to hold an equity participation of at least 20 per cent in a mandatory joint venture arrangement for supply of goods and services.

An indigenous Tanzanian company is defined as a company incorporated under the Companies Act with at least 51 per cent of its equity owned by Tanzanian citizens, and at least 80 percent of the executive and senior management positions held by Tanzanian citizens with 100 per cent of non-managerial and other positions are held by Tanzanians.

The Regulations also require indigenous Tanzanian companies given first preference in the granting of a mining license. They require indigenous Tanzanian companies to have at least five per cent equity participation in a mining company.

Further, they give preference to local service providers and locally manufactured goods. They require the use of local insurance and financial services and stipulate that legal services to be provided only by local legal practitioners or local law firms. They set the time frame for local content levels to be attained in the mining sector. Finally, they give priority to qualified Tanzanians in employment and on-job training.

During the past quarter the mines spent 339 million US dollars with Tanzanian suppliers and service providers. Since it took over the mines in 2019, Barrick has contributed over 2.1 billion US billion to the Tanzanian economy.

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