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Acacia Mining North Mara Gold Mine (former Barrick Gold), Tanzania

The Mine opened in 2002, is owned by the UK public company Acacia Mining (formerly African Barrick Gold). Intead of bringing wealth for locals, the presence of the firm has provoked water contamination and human rights abuses


The North Mara Gold Mine opened in 2002 and is one of the three gold-producing mines in Tanzania owned by the UK public company Acacia Mining (formerly African Barrick Gold), the biggest gold producer in Tanzania listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.  The mine has produced over 2 million ounces of gold since 2002 and the current life of mine is estimated to be 9 years based on proven and probable gold reserves of 2 million ounces (4).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Acacia Mining North Mara Gold Mine (former Barrick Gold), Tanzania
State or province:Tarime district
(municipality or city/town)North Mara Gold Mine
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Tailings from mines
Mineral ore exploration
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

2015 datas (4):

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Level of Investment:$120-million in 2011
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:45000 (4)
Start of the conflict:01/01/2002
Company names or state enterprises: Acacia Mining (formerly African Barrick Gold) from United Kingdom
Africa Barrick Gold from Tanzania
Barrick Gold Corporation from Canada
Relevant government actors:Energy and Minerals Department
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Mining Watch Canada

RAID rights and accountability in development

Legal and Human Rights Centre

Lawyers Environmental Action Team
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Industrial workers
Informal workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Property damage/arson
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths
Potential: Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts, displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Reports of conflict between members of local communities and the mine are ongoing.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries


(2)MiningWatch Canada (MiningWatch) and Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), Background Brief: Adding Insult to Injury at the North Mara Gold Mine, Tanzania, September 2016, accesed 01/24/17
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(3)Policy forum, Parliamentary Advocacy in the Extractive Industries. An Illustrative Guide for Civil Society, 2011
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MiningWatch Canada (MiningWatch) and Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), In Need of Repair: Acacia Mining’s Grievance Mechanism

at North Mara Gold Mine, Tanzania, May 2016
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Bryceson, D., Miners’ magic: artisanal mining, the albino fetish and murder in Tanzania, J. of Modern African Studies, 48, 3 (2010), pp. 353–382. f Cambridge University Press 2010

Devin Holterman, Slow violence, extraction and human rights defence in Tanzania: Notes from the field, Resources Policy 40 (2014) 59–65

[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Mining Watch
[click to view]

Leigh Day
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(5)Victoria Schneider, Tanzania's gold rush and housing crush, Aljazeera 20 january 2014, accesed 01/24/17
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Busines and Human Rights Resource Centre
[click to view]

(7)Kelvin Matandiko, Tanzania: Who Should Shoulder the Blame for Rot in Mining?, Tanzania Daily News, pubblished on 11/23/2016, accesed 01/25/2017
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Tanzania Daily News, Tanzania: Acacia Mining Gains As Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange Ends Week Low, pubblished 01/09/2017, accesed 01/25/2017
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Mugini Jacob, Tanzania: Team Sees Fake Names in North Mara Pay List, Tanzania Daily News, Published on 13 January 2017, accesed 01/25/2017
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RAID, Tanzania: Video claims local paralysed after police beating at Acacia' subsidiary's mine; company denies allegations, 01/17/2017, accesed 01/25/2017
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Tanzania Daily News, Tanzania: Acacia Complies With Law On Environment, pubblished 01/09/2017, accesed 01/25/2017
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Human Rights & Grievance Mechanisms
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(6)John Vidal, British gold mining firm agrees settlement over deaths of Tanzanian villagers, pubblished on The Guardian, 02/10/2015, accesed on 01/30/2017
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(8)Mining Watch, Tanzanian Government Investigation Receives Hundreds of Reports of Violence and Deaths at North Mara Gold Mine, 09/22/2017
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Assaye Risk supports Acacia Mining in Tanzania and Africa more widely with the management of their non-technical risk. Services range from the design and delivery of a corporate security strategy, operational security design on mine sites, information collection and analysis and investigations capabilities and country-entry support for their Discovery arm.
[click to view]

(11)Beldina Nyakeke, Committee set to end North Mara Goldmine conflicts, pubblished on The Citizen, 02/16/2016, accesed on 01/26/2017
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Stellah Ibengwe, Tanzania: Artisanal Miners Protest Against Minister's Order, Tanzania Daily News, pubblished on 12/06/2016, accesed 01/25/2017
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(4) Acacia Mining
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(9)RAID, Acacia Mining (African Barrick Gold) and North Mara, 2016
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Other documents

Acacia Mining’s (formerly African Barrick Gold) North Mara mine in Tanzania where villagers were killed and injured at an incident involving police and security guards in 2008. Photograph: Trevor Snapp/Getty Images (6)
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Meta information
Contributor:Carla Petricca
Last update24/02/2017