Tarime member of Parliament Nyambari Nyangwine (CCM) has called on the government to table in parliament results of investigations conducted by the National Environmental Council (NEMC) into River Tigite due to contamination of its water by the North Mara Gold Mine which affected Nyamongo villagers in Tarime district, Mara region.
He said it was almost a year and a half since NEMC took water samples from River Tigite but the results of the investigations were yet to be released. He also wanted the government to pay compensations to the affected villagers and take measures against the mine operators.
Responding, Energy and Minerals deputy minister Gersson Lwenge said the government on July 1, 2009, ordered the mine to stop directing water into River Tigite. He said the management had already started constructing a water treatment plant.
He however said the mine, in collaboration with the Lake Victoria Basin, was continuing with a programme to check the quality of water in identified areas to avoid further contamination. He said an environment impact assessment (EIA) was conducted but an impact environmental audit was done frequently.
“The mine has fixed special liners which prohibit water contamination,” he said.
He said that in May 2009, the government was informed of water contamination at Tigite River due to chemical leakages from the North Mara Gold Mine. The government then took a decision to take water samples from the river for investigation.
He said the research investigations failed to give proper records of the number of people and animals affected by the river's water.
Lwenge explained that North Mara Gold Mine, in collaboration with Tarime district authorities, implemented different development projects, including the improvement of social services for the villagers surrounding the mine.
He said the residents of Nyamongo village had access to clean and safe water from a special water scheme constructed by the mine from River Mara. He advised Tarime district authorities to collaborate with the mine in constructing deep water wells.