Barrick Gold Brings Artisanal Miners into the Fold – by Nancy J. White

Tanzania’s Artisanal Miners Often Work in Unsafe ConditionsThis article was first published in “Beyond Borders”, a BARRICK GOLD quarterly report on responsible mining, edited by Nancy J. White, the company’s communications director for responsible mining. “Beyond Borders” contains several other items highlighting Barrick’s initiatives around the world. It will be posted soon at

At age 13, Alfaxad Chacha started digging. He never stopped. Seven days a week, 14 hours a day, he sifted through the red mud and rock of the Tanzanian landscape under an equatorial sun. With a little luck and a lot of backbreaking labour, Alfaxad and his friends eked out a meagre living on the miniscule bits of gold they uncovered.

It was difficult work, using dangerous explosives and toxic chemicals. But for 1.5 million Tanzanians, this primitive form of artisanal mining is a daily reality.

Today, Chacha is 50 years old. He lives in the village of Kerende in Tanzania’s Mara region. A life of digging for gold under the ground has hardened him.

“I am an artisanal gold miner. I have been all my life and so were my parents before me, but I’m not too proud of what I do,” Chacha says. “My work is barely able to support me, my family and my community. It is very hard work for very little money. This is not the life I dreamt of, but it is all I have.”

Like many others, Chacha spends his days digging, crushing and grinding ore, to unlock the small particles of gold it contains. He sells his product for a fraction of its true value to gold dealers who pass through the village. It’s part of an underground gold industry in Tanzania – one with no government regulation or oversight of any kind.

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Barrick Gold and World Vision Fight Child Malnutrition in Peru

Photo-Philip Maher, World Vision

In the mountainous rural regions of Peru, malnutrition affects six out of every 10 children. Many children living in poverty subsist on a daily diet limited to basic starches like potatoes, while lacking other essential food groups. This daily diet may relieve hunger, however it fails to support proper growth and development or defend against diseases.

Barrick and World Vision Canada have teamed up with local residents in a collaborative approach to tackle these problems in communities surrounding the company’s mines in Peru. The project started in May 2003, when Barrick made an initial commitment of US$1 million over five years to help impoverished families near its Pierina mine. Building on the success of the first program, in 2007 Barrick contributed a further US$1.3 million to start up a similar project near its Lagunas Norte mine in northern Peru. World Vision has complemented Barrick’s funding thorough its popular child sponsorship program, which is supporting over 3,000 children in these areas.

“Our partnership with World Vision is based on a shared vision of children free from the dangers of malnutrition and illness, with access to clean water and education,” says Greg Wilkins, Barrick President and CEO, “Strong, healthy children are able to perform better in school and can go on to achieve their potential later in life.” 

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Barrick Gold/NGO Partnership Makes Dental Care in Tanzania a Reality

Dentist from Bridge2Aid in Rural Tanzania Photo Supplied by Barrick GoldOver 5,000 villagers living in Tanzania’s Lake Victoria area have received free emergency dental care, thanks to a unique partnership Barrick established with Bridge2Aid in 2003. Bridge2Aid is a British NGO specializing in providing dental care in Tanzania, where experts estimate 70 to 90 per cent of the population have no access to dental care.  

Barrick’s involvement began five years ago, when the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Rob Barbour, recognized that dental problems were becoming increasingly serious at the Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania. In many cases, employees were experiencing significant pain and infection associated with oral health issues. At that time there was only one option: patients were referred to a dentist in Dar es Salaam, over 800 kilometers away. As a result, employees spent more time away from the mine site and productivity began to suffer.

Meanwhile, for other residents living in the Lake Victoria area where Barrick’s mines are located, oral health care was virtually out of reach. This lack of accessible dental services reflects a larger, country-wide trend. Today in Tanzania there is only one dentist for every 300,000 people, in contrast to the United States where there is one dentist for every 1,700 people. Moreover, many economically disadvantaged Tanzanians lack the income to pay for and maintain good oral health.

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