Barrick Gold North Mara Gold Mine, Tanzania

Over the last few years, Barrick Gold Corps North Mara gold mine, surrounded by seven villages, has faced a barrage of criticism and been blamed for the death of villagers and environmental pollution. Opened in 2002, it consists of four open pits, a process plant, waste rock dumps, a tailings containment pond, and other associated facilities. High profile incidents include: In 2008 hundreds invaded the mine and one person was shot dead [1].
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Basic Data
NameBarrick Gold North Mara Gold Mine, Tanzania
ProvinceMara Region
SiteTarime District
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral processing
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Tailings from mines
Specific CommoditiesGold
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn 2011, African Barrick Golds North Mara operations produced 170,832 ounces of gold, down 20% from the amount of 212,947 recorded in 2010. This represented a 25% contribution to the group in terms of ounces produced. The mine has an expected life of 10 years, with estimated reserves of 3,485,000 ounces [5].

Level of Investment (in USD)$120-million in 2011
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population70000
Start Date2002
Company Names or State EnterprisesAfrica Barrick Gold from Tanzania
Barrick Gold Corporation from Canada
Relevant government actorsEnergy and Minerals Department
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLegal and Human Rights Centre, Lawyers Environmental Action Team
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingArtisanal miners
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Property damage/arson
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Reports of conflict between members of local communities and the mine are ongoing.
Sources and Materials

Mining Act
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Mineral Policy of Tanzania of 1997
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Environmental Management Act
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[1] York Geoffrey. (2011). Barricks Tanzanian project tests ethical mining policies in The Globe and Mail. Available at:
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[3] Pasience, Mlowe and Olengurumwa, Onesmo. (2011). Killings around North Mara Gold Mine: the human cost of gold in Tanzania. Legal and Human Rights Centre. Available at: Accessed 8 December 2012.
[click to view]

[4] Stanslaus, Nyembea (2011). The Nyamongo-Tarime Masscare. Lawyers Environmental Action Team. Available at: Accessed: 31 December 2012.
[click to view]

[5] African Barrick Gold North Mara profile (2011). Available at Accessed 31 December 2012.
[click to view]

[6] Legal and Human Rights Centre (2011). Tanzania Human Rights Report 2011. Available at: Accessed 1 January 2013.
[click to view]

Accessed 8 December 2012.

[2] Bitala, Manfred; Kweyunga, Charles; Manoko, Mkabwa. (2009). Levels of heavy metals in soil, sediment and and water from the vicinity of North Mara Gold Mine. Available at:

Accessed 8 December 2012.


Goldstruck, Alison and Hughes, Ted. (2010). Securing a social licence to operate. Available at: Accessed 8 December 2012.
[click to view]

Jacob, Mugini. (2012). RPC defends police over Mara mine shootings in Daily News. Available at:
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Moloo, Zahra (2011). Tanzania: Killings and Toxic Spill Tarnish Barrick Gold. Available at
[click to view]

[click to view]

Accessed: 12 December 2012.

Accessed 31 December 2012.

York, Geoffrey. (2012). For Barrick, Tanzanian mines lose their lustre in The Globe and Mail. Available at:

Accessed 8 December 2012.

Media Links

Mining in Justice (2011). Toronto Tanzania Solidarity. Available at
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Foundation HELP (2010). North Mara Gold Mine. Available at: Accessed on 31 December 2012.
[click to view]

Flickr, Plentys Paradox photo profile (2012). Tanzanias North Mara Mine photo essay. Available at Accessed 31 December 2012.
[click to view]

[click to view]

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Accessed 31 December 2012.


Flickr, caju777 photo profile (2010). North Mara, Tanzania photo essay. Available at:

Accessed: 31 December 2012.

Chancellor, David (2011). Intruders photo essay. Available at:

Accessed 31 December 2012.

Meta Information
ContributorPatrick Burnett
Last update08/04/2014