Bulyanhulu Gold Mine - Overview, History, Safety and More

Bulyanhulu Gold Mine – Overview, History, Safety and More

The Bulyanhulu Gold Mine is a gold mine occurring underground. It is located 55km south of L. Victoria in Tanzania’s Shinyanga Region. It is among the three Tanzanian gold mines under the ownership of Acacia Mining public limited company, previously African Barrick Gold public limited company, a subsidiary of Barrick Gold and listed on London Stock Exchange. The Buzwagi and North Mara gold mines are both owned by Acacia.

History of the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine

In contemporary times, gold mining started when Tanzania was still a German colony, with gold discoveries in 1894 near L. Victoria. Sekenke Mine, the 1st gold mine in Tanganyika, opened in 1909. Gold mining flourished in Tanzania from 1930 to WWII. Gold production in Tanzania had virtually ceased by 1967, but it was restored in the 1970s when prices began to rise again. Foreign mining corporations began investing in developing and discovering Tanzania’s gold deposits towards the end of the 1990s, resulting in the creation of many new mines including the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine

Barrick bought Sutton Resources in 1999 and procured the Bulyanhulu property. The Bulyanhulu gold mine lies 150 km (93 miles) southwest of Mwanza City, the provincial capital. Bulyanhulu gold mine was developed with a total cost of USD280 million and was inaugurated in 2001. After the development of the Bulyanhulu gold mine, Tanzania became the 3rd largest gold producer after Mali and South Africa.

Bulyanhulu Gold Mine is made up of a processing facility, underground mine, dumps of waste rock, tailing containment, ponds for water management, and related facilities. By 2014, the mine was predicted to last more than 25 years. It was the country’s deepest mine when it was opened.

Evictions

The rights to exploration in the Bulyanhulu gold mine region were bought at the beginning of the 1990s by Kahama Mining, an exploration firm under Sutton Resources. The area was claimed by locally based miners. Evictions began on July 31, 1996, and miners were given an injunction by the High Court on August 4, 1996, prohibiting the commissioner of the region from clearing it until the issue of the land rights was resolved in court. Kahama and police personnel, as per the union of the miners and Amnesty International, disobeyed the injunction and resumed evictions. The Police Inspector General announced in a news statement that 200,000 individuals had been forced out. Canadian diplomats believed that 10,000 to 20,000 miners left.

The local miners allege that the police forcefully evacuated them from the Bulyanhulu gold mine region, and graders were used by Kahama to bury miners who were working within the mine shafts alive with sand. The authorities and the current owner of the property, Barrick Gold, both deny that any deaths occurred. Based on a 2001 tour to the mine, the IFC’s (International Finance Corporation) Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman ruled in 2002 that there was no proof of murder. Tanzanian authorities denied Amnesty International and a group of international observers access to the site in 2001, purportedly because the latter came into the country on tourist visas.

Safety

A miner was murdered by a falling boulder in 2006, and in 2010 March, three miners were killed and the drill jumbo they operated was destroyed by a fall of earth. Tanzania’s Occupational Health and Safety Authority gave Bulyanhulu a National Award in 2009 for its safety and health program. Bulyanhulu gold mine boasts a well-trained Emergency Response Team that is frequently dispatched to other mines to help in rescue operations, both active and inactive.

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