Let’s take a break from the questions. This week finds me on a tour of African Barrick Gold’s (Tanzania’s largest gold producer’s) mines and operations in Northern Tanzania.
The past three days have been interesting, to say the least, and as I promised my followers on Twitter, here are some pictures from the first day of the tour, when we visited African Barrick Gold mines at Buzwagi.
If you are anything like I was before this tour, I trust these pictures will satisfy some of your curiosity about Tanzania’s gold mines and the life around them.
Wondering where Mwanza is? Check out it’s relative distance and direction from some of East Africa’s towns and cities.
From Mwanza, we took a chartered plane…
…Auric Air, which I’d previously used several times on my way “home” to Bukoba.
We might as well have been sitting in the cockpit! 🙂
Mwanza is Tanzania’s second largest city. This finally clicked for me as I looked out over Mwanza from the plane.
Finally, we arrived at Buzwagi airstrip.
..in African Barrick Gold territory.
After a short drive, we reached the wall of African Barrick Gold’s residential enclave (apparently, the wall was named after a security officer who manned the gate–how cute! :-))
The residential enclave included quaint little houses, complete with pseudo-picket fences…
After settling in, we visited the mining operations, where we were greeted by this huge mound of unprocessed gold.
This is the processing plant where that mound of gold will be processed into something more gold-looking. 🙂
This is gold ore as it looks when it first comes out of the ground.
The mine at Buzwagi is an open-pit (above ground) mine, which essentially looks like a ginormous hole dug out of the ground.
I was mesmerized by the sheer magnitude of it all.
Finally, we reached the bottom of one section of the mine.
There we found a large 150-ton-capacity dump truck being loaded with gold ore.
In another section of the mine, we saw this powerful extractor digging ore from the ground.
Leaving the mine behind, we visited an innovative rainwater-harvesting project that can collect enough water to run the mine’s operations for a whole year.
Once collected, the water is stored in a reservoir covered by a membrane to protect it from evaporation. (Can’t possibly imagine there’s a huge amount of water under this, eh?)
After the water project, we visited the mine’s medical facilities where we wore boot-covers to keep the facility clean.
Then we visited ABG’s community projects in the surrounding area. One such project was a wall built at a Catholic girls’ school for the girls’ protection.
As we visited projects, I couldn’t help but notice how arid the land was.
We also visited Mwendakulima Secondary School, a joint venture between ABG, the Tanzanian government, and the nearby community.
The first thing I noticed at the school were many, many bicycles parked in the school yard.
Could this be an indication of relative prosperity in the community surrounding the mine?
When we arrived, the students were on their afternoon break.
A wide-angle view of the school…
Returning to the mine, we had to pass through very strict security. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about ABG, it’s that they are obsessive about occupational safety and security…almost to a fault!
At night, we decided to venture to nearby Kahama for some nyama choma and pints. Shock on me when I saw this seemingly metropolitan city appear out of nowhere! Turns out, it was only the processing plant lit up for it’s nighttime operations. 🙂
This is where we settled on hanging out.
But, tell me, why does this place have two such different signs within meters of each other? That, I never figured out! 🙂