Despite Geita region being one of the most regions endowed with minerals in Tanzania, its residents were until 2000 not seeing much benefits from the mining industry.
The industry was not contributing much in the social sectors such as healthcare, education, road infrastructure and entrepreneurship. The coming of Geita Gold Mining Limited (GGML) sustainable social investment pillar, which amplifies the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) to support local communities and the fortunes of Geita altered for the better.
AMV, Africa’s own response to tackling the paradox of great mineral wealth existing side by side with pervasive poverty, was coined by Heads of State at the February 2009 African Union (AU) summit. This means GGML started executing the AMV long before it was incepted by the AU.
Since its inception in 2000, GGML adopted an approach of ensuring that the communities around the operation are better off for the company being there.
The AMV’s strategic goal thought outside the “mining box” by integrating mining into development policies at local, national and regional levels was a timely catalyst. This has seen the company leverage on strategic partnerships with local government authorities and other stakeholders to drive inclusive socio-economic development in Geita.
Strategic investments to fight covid-19
However, in ensuing that GGML is championing AMV goal to eradicate poverty through strategic investments, as responsible business entity, it has rolled out a series of interventions to halt the spread of the novel COVID-19 pandemic within and beyond its area of operation.
The interventions are aimed at minimising the impact on public health and to limit disruptions to economies and lives of Tanzanians.
“GGML has already donated Tsh1.1 billion to national level interventions through the COVID-19 Emergency Fund set up under the Prime Minister’s Office,” says Simon Shayo, Vice President-Sustainability at GGML.
Shayo adds that the remaining Tsh500 million will be spent to support regional and community interventions in Geita region, including the provision of key medical supplies and equipment such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), ventilators and oxygen masks.
The mining company has also donated 37 hand washing facilities with the capacity of 1,000 litres each for public hand washing in various parts of Geita town, and chlorine which has replaced liquid soap at the facilities. These facilities are designed to serve everyone, including those with special needs, such as children and people with disabilities.
Japheth Masesa, Geita Town Public Health Officer asks the community to appreciate the efforts of their partners in development are putting in place to ensure that they are all remain safe during, and even after COVID-19 pandemic.
Sister Adelberra Mukure, the Director of Moyo wa Huruma Orphanage centre also commends the support offered by the mining firm, recounting how the orphanage centre with 168 children was struggling to ensure that all residents have access to hand washing facilities that suit their demography.
“We have installed a few 20-liter hand washing buckets as you can see, but they are not enough. The 20-liter containers are just too small to cater for them,” says Sister Mukure.
According to her, a water tank with 1,000 litres is a relief to them, adding that GGML’s support cements the adage that a friend in need is the friend indeed.
The company is in the process of procuring medical equipment for testing and isolation that will be distributed in different areas of the region.
Dr. Kiva Mvungi, the company’s Senior Manager responsible for occupational health notes that GGML has formed a partnership with a local radio, Rubondo FM to create awareness on COVID-19.
“Our representatives ensure our plans to fight the disease are aligned with government. GGML has taken steps to ensure that health and safety of their employees is top priority,” says Dr. Mvungi.
Recognition by Government
Dotto Biteko, Minister for Minerals commends GGML for being a good partner in supporting development projects.
The Minister highlighted that the government’s intention is to see areas with mineral resources, including Geita transforming lives and the economy of the surrounding communities.
“I have been impressed. We have already achieved our target of Tsh400 billion of revenue collection in Geita because mining sector contribution. Most of Geita region’s contribution in the revenue comes from Geita Gold Mining Limited. It is very encouraging now that the sector contributes more than five percent in the GDP of our economy,” says Biteko.
One of the projects that GGML is partnering with the government is the Special Economic Investment Zone (SEIZ) managed by the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) and the Geita Town Council.
Other strategic projects include the Geita Central Market Frames, Katundu Market Frames and the Gold refinery, Agro-processing project that aims at improving the quality and quantity of agricultural produce for famers in Geita district, focusing on rice and sunflower.
As a responsible corporate citizen, GGML spends about Tsh9.2 billion annually on community projects in Geita region.
Shayo says the execution of the visited projects is part of the Company’s CSR projects for the year 2018/19.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, GGML continues to support communities around the operation. The execution of the CSR projects and similar other initiatives is a clear testimony that the Company, the Government, and the host communities can work together to improve livelihoods through investing in socio-economic infrastructure and services,” he explains.
In 2018, GGML supported several CSR projects include amongst others: the installation of solar powered street lights along the main roads in Geita town; construction of the state-of-the- art tower at the Geita Town roundabout; a sunflower processing factory; construction of a modern market facility for Geita Town; completion and roofing of more than 600 health and education infrastructures.
According to him, in 2018, GGML was the first mininfg firm in the country to develop and implement a credible CSR plan in line with Section 105 of Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) No. 7 of 2017 which amends the Mining Act No. 14 of 2010