SOMEONE ELSE'S TREASURE - TANZANIA
Text and photography by Allan Lissner/PraxisPictures (2009-11)
TANZANIA is blessed with an abundance of mineral resources. In gold alone, Tanzania is estimated to be sitting on top of a US$39 billion treasure. When you factor in the large quantities of diamonds, copper, silver, gem stones, and other minerals – not to mention its wildlife, agricultural, and human resources – Tanzania should be a very wealthy country.
While Tanzania has developed into the third biggest gold producer in Africa, the country remains one of the poorest in the world. With a life expectancy of 51 years, 89.9% of the population lives on less than $2 a day. Leading some critics to argue that not only are Tanzanians not benefiting from its abundance of mineral resources, but that the multinational mining industry has contributed to impoverishing the rural poor.
The following accounts of mass displacements, violent confrontations, lost livelihoods, exploited workers, and contaminated ecosystems raise serious questions about the mining industry in Tanzania and internationally. The focus here is on communities surrounding the Bulyanhulu and North Mara Gold Mines, both owned by the world’s largest gold mining company Barrick Gold, and the Geita Gold Mine, owned by the third largest gold company, AngloGold Ashanti.
Canada, home to about sixty percent of the world’s mining corporations, leads the way in the global mining industry. But some critics have labeled the mining industry as Canada’s number one contribution to global injustice. As the industry continues to shape the world we all live in, it is the hardships endured by the men, women, and children like these that make our way of life possible.