Large-scale mining and the right to a clean, health and safe environment in Tanzania

William John Walwa *


The last two decades witnessed growth in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Tanzania’s mining sector, resulting from the government’s opening up the doors for foreign capital. This paper sought to investigate the extent to which large-scale mining impacts on the rights to a clean, safe and healthy environment for people who live near the mines. The study was conducted in Barrick Bulyanhulu and North Mara Gold Mines in Bulyanhulu, Shinyanga region and North Mara in Mara region. Empirical evidence collected through document review, interviews, observation, informal consultation, pair-wise ranking and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) suggest that large-scale mining has short and long terms harmful impacts on the right to a clean and health environment. Local communities in North Mara claimed that water pollution
by Barrick Gold has caused the deaths of about 20 people and 700 to 1000 heads of cattle. In contrast, neither the government nor Barrick Gold admits the claims by local communities. Discontents over environmental pollution and eviction with little or without compensation generated a very hostile relationship between local communities and Barrick Gold, especially in North Mara where groups of youth have frequently mobilized to intrude on the mine.


*Lecturer, University of Dar es Salaam, Email:

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