Toxic spill discussed in Tanzanian Parliament

I’ll start this post by providing the link to an article from the Tanzanian newspaper Daily News. The article was published on November 2nd, 2009 and is titled Bunge braces for North Mara acid spillage report. “Bunge” is the Swahili word for parliament.

In that article, mention is made of a study led by a Norwegian university which “revealed that the concentrations of some of the elements in water at the mentioned sites were above the World Health Organisation (WHO) drinking water recommendations.” The Norwegian university that they’re talking about would have been the Norwegian University of Life Sciences as mentioned at this link on Mining Watch Canada’s website.

These are Norwegian and Tanzanian scientists that are doing these studies, not the innuendo-motivated group that we might have originally been led to believe.

The study is said to have been done at two mines, the North Mara mine and another at a place called Nyakabale. I’ve previously mentioned Barrick Gold’s North Mara mine, but I haven’t yet looked into any information about the Geita mine at Nyakabale which belongs to AngloGold Ashanti. Reading in detail the full report from the Norwegian university would also be interesting.

MiningWatch Canada has already presented in a readable fashion some essential information from that report and given you access to the report itself. So if you’re interested in learning more, then please go ahead and check out the link from MiningWatch Canada.

Update January 22/2010

In the original post, I mentioned that this Daily News article had made me wonder about a possibility of chronic seepage from the mine. I removed that statement. On rereading the article, it does not indicate anything that would be in addition to Barrick Gold’s statement regarding a waste-containment failure that was detected in May of 2009.

However, the fact that the seepage in question was associated with acid drainage indicates that the issue of controlling pollution from this mine will be a serious problem for a very long time after the mine has closed. This is one of the unfortunate realities of acid mine drainage (also called acid rock drainage). So the question in my mind of a chronic pollution problem remains.

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