Religious Leaders Visit Mining Projects Of Mchuchuma, Liganga, Amani And Ngaka
A team of 8 religious leaders accompanied by the coordinator of Interfaith standing Committee, on Economic Justice and Integrity of creation Ms Grace Masalakulangwa and CCT’s Program Officer for Peace Social-Economic Justice and Good Governance Beatrice Dengenesa (Adv.) had the opportunity to pay a fact finding field visit in Njombe and Ruvuma Regions specifically in the project areas of Mchuchuma, Liganga, Amani and Mngaka mines in Ludewa and Mbinga districts respectively. The main purpose of the visit was to advocate for Social Corporate Responsibilities, Economic Justice, Integrity of Creation, and Environmental Conservation following mining activities after a formal request from Ludewa district Interfaith Committee.
Firstly, the itinerary took the religious Leader to Mchuchuma-Liganga Coal and Iron ore deposits in Ludewa, Njombe Region deep into Sourthen West corner of Tanzania. Mchuchuma and Liganga Hills are twin projects which have a massive coal and iron Ores reserves where the exploration works have revealed that these coal and iron ores can be mined up to 100 years. Accordingly it is estimated that there are over 364 millions of tonnes of Coal and 219 millions of tonnes of Iron ore deposits in these projects of Mchuchuma and Liganga Hills in Ludewa. It was further explained to the team that the Iron ore at Liganga Hills are rich in Iron, titanium and Vanadiam.
Mchuchuma and Liganga Hills projects are under the shareholders agreements between state owned National Development Corporation (NDC) and Sichuan Hongda Group from Sichuan Province in China. This shareholder agreement had form a joint venture company in the name of TANZANIA CHINA INTERNATIONAL MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED (TCIMRL) to develop the massive coal reserves at Mchuchuma Colliery and Iron reserves at Liganga hills.
The team was also told that Mchuchuma-Liganga Projects are owned by the state through NDC (National Development Corporation) at the ratio of 20:80 percent; and that the percentage will increase to 49% :51% after Sichuan Hongda Corporation has recouped its investment in between the period of 5-10 years however to many people the ratio of 20% is unacceptable. The company wishes to invest 3 billion US dollars in the Mchuchuma-Laganga Iron and coal mining that will last for more than a century.the Mchuchuma Project aiming at producing 600MW of electricity into the energy pool to be linked to the Sourthen Africa Power pool(SAPP)
Issues at play- the Community concern
Three years have so far passed without any major activity being carried on in the project areas of Mchuchuma and Liganga. Topping the list of concerns is the whole issue of compensation where communities around the mines are supposed to be compensated for their areas and other means of production.
It was also observed that communities have varying concerns from one particular area to another but; benefit sharing, exploitation of natural resources and environmental protection have come out as common factors.
As it has been argued by many that Africa continent is not yet healed from the colonialist schemes, where the European exploited Africa by taking away natural resources to feed their hungry industries in Europe. Recently it has been community concern that, in the name of investments natural resources are exploited.
MCHUCHUMA- LIGANGA HILLS PROJECTS
More than 4000 residents at Nkomangombe, Mudindi and Amani villages in Ludewa district are supposed to vacate their villages to pave way for Mchuchuma- Liganga Coal and Iron mining projects. Following that order, the villagers puzzled as they have not yet been compensated over the land they have been living for generations. The Residents alleged that they were evaluated by District land surveyors since May 2015 and they were promised to be compensated in six months time the promise which was not fulfilled. Below are narrated allegations against the Government through NDC and the Chinese company (Sichuan Hongda Corporation Limited) over Mchuchuma-Liganga twins Project.
Claims against the NDC-SHC (National Development Corporation (NDC) and Sichuan Hongda Corporation Limited at Nkomang’ombe, Liganga and Amani villages
N.B: These claims are from villagers’ perspective, experience and understanding
- Unfair compensations over the lost of land following mining operations projects (Mchuchuma-Liganga Projects)
- Delays in compensation processes as the valuation have already being done since May 2015.
- The valuators did not use proper procedures in evaluating the land and products of the villagers.
- After the valuation of the village land there was no any feedback of who will compensate them, when and how the villagers will be compensated
- Also there was no room of the villagers to assess the valuation processes
- Poor social services to the villagers.
- Misuse of power by Government Officials on Land Matters
- Delay of the Government to transfer the people to a safer place as the residence are fearing the side effects of the discovered coal in their residential areas especially for the drinking water
- The villagers have been cautioned of planting the perennial crops on their plots of land without knowing when they will be shifted to another place as a result hunger will be their major concern if the processes will not speed up.
- The villagers were advised to open the Bank Account popularly known as “ChapChap” (means “fast”) which expires in six months time, the fear of their bank account being closed down has risen the temperature among themselves as time passes by without any feedback.
- Profit sharing has not yet being openly discussed as the villagers does not know how much they will earn as a result of the mining activities to their villagers.
- Environmental impact Assessment reports have not been shared to the communities.
- Activities have already been carried on at Mchuchuma Coal field, but nobody had said anything including the District authorities.
AMANI GOLD MINE PROJECT
According to the villagers of Dodoma/Amani in Ludewa District, there are Gold deposits along their village and the investors have been carrying on the activities of Gold mining without any concern for the villagers of Dodoma/Amani in Ludewa District. According to the villagers these Gold field were discovered by one of the villager named Alfred Mhagama while conducting local exploration without any licence or permit. As the villagers continue with the local mining activities, they suddenly receive a notice of the investors who said they had all mining licences and permit for the Gold ores at Amani Gold mines. Therefore the villagers were denied access to Gold fields. Below are some of the allegations narrated by the villagers against the investors/Government at Amani/Ludewa
Narrated allegations against the investors/Government over Gold Mining at Amani –Ludewa
N.B: These claims are from villagers’ perspective, experience and understanding
- Environmental/ land Degradation which led to the change of water flow
- Poor social facilities to the villagers, as Corporate Social Responsibility has been an option to the investors due to lack of legal framework
- Poor or lack of Social services such as health, school and water
NGAKA COAL MINING PROJECT
Ngaka Coal Mine is a mine rich in quality thermal coal located in vast coal fields of Sourthern Western Tanzania in Mbinga District/Ruvuma Region. Ngaka is a project owned by Tancoal Intra Energy Corporation (IETL) and NDC. Under the terms of Joint venture Agreement, Intra Energy Corporation (IETL) owns 70% and NDC own 30% . Below are narrated allegation of the Villagers of Mtundualo as against Intra Energy Corporation (IETL) and NDC
Narrated allegations against the investors over Ngaka Coal mining project
- Blasting in the project areas has led to several houses of Mdundualo villages and Mdundualo Primary school to have huge and dangerous cracks that threaten teachers’ and pupils’ lives
- Poor Social Services to the villagers, no benefit sharing agreements between the villagers and the Coal Field owners.
- Unfair compensation over the lost land of the villagers
- The valuation officers /evaluators did not use proper procedures in evaluating the land and products of the villagers.
- Corporate Social Responsibilities is at the option of the owner of the coal field, they repaired a class in poor standards, they contributed few desks which were placed outside the school
The Land Policy, land Act requires the payments of full, prompt and fair compensation to any person whose right of occupancy or recognized long-standing occupation or customary use have been revoked or interfered. The law prohibits the eviction of any person from his/her land without being promptly paid adequate compensation. And According to the Law compensation generally takes into account the following, the market value of the land, any losses attributed by severance or as a result of disturbance, any enhancement or depreciation in value of interest of the claimant transport allowances to a distance of 20 km etc. Following the Villagers allegation we recommend that a thorough research should be conducted to investigate the procedures involved in determine compensation to the villagers who will have to shift to pave way for mining activities. Any illegal eviction should be addressed at early stages so we may prevent the infringements of people rights, on the other side enough evidence should be produced to prove these allegations.
The law requires community participation in benefit sharing and also moving from paternalistic to a partnership approach, therefore we are recommending a further research in these project areas, the contract signed if there is equal profit sharing as required by the law.
COORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES
The mining act provides for corporate social responsibilities however it is of a more option than being obligation. Therefore it is high time that the Government in a corporation with other stakeholders to establish a legal framework for Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices so as to ensure its effective implementation and compliance for the benefit all stakeholders.
The environment management Act 2004 requires an Environmental Impact Assessment/Analysis to be conducted prior to any land acquisition to keep the environment safe and suitable for all users .Therefore we recommend that a Environment team should conduct a research and satisfy themselves that these condition have been fulfilled.
LACK OF STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVEMENT
The law requires that all stakeholders who would lose their land, houses or livelihood to be consulted in the planning processes. We recommend that if at any stage the communities were not involved of any issue in their surroundings, it is high time they should be involved.
LEGAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERN
The violation of the Land Act and other legal provisions in the amount of compensations promised to be paid, failure to allocate alternative land for resettlement to the affected villager show gloss violation of land rights.
Also the dust, chemicals and blasting noises have proved to endanger people’s lives and their shelters therefore they infringe the right to lives of the people surrounding these mines.
Drivers for change- Why citizens are reactive in this incidence
- Knowledge of good governance and economic justice advocated by Ludewa District interfaith committee
- Role of the media
- Mining operation and Activities are unfriendly to local communities, because the Mining companies wished the communities to be shifted far away from their activities while the communities already feel attached to their ancestral land.
- Compensation is at the low level which does not assist the communities to settle in the new environment therefore the government should work on strengthening the compensation framework (that is higher rate of payments, insuring against land/environmental degradation etc
- Review of the Land Act which provides for a definition that minerals are not part of the land (Land Act Cap 113) however one has to penetrate or work on the land to access minerals. On top of that the Land Act has not define the mineral land, therefore the mineral land has not be known until they are discovered therefore these interpretation led to the conflict between the land user (community) and the government (Mineral owners)
- The Mining Act, Land Act on Compensation, and other legal Instruments governing mineral, mining and land should be reviewed in order to benefit the stakeholders.
- Mining operations and activities violate safety and environmental standards expected by Environmental management Act therefore management of waste and other mine effluent should be managed.