Afican Barrick Gold (ABG) has reiterated its commitment to boost Tanzania's education sector and support initiatives aimed at increasing attendance at schools around its mine sites.
"Children’s interests are best served in schools not in mining environments and we do not in any way condone child labour in artisanal mining. We believe that continuous improvement of education and literacy is crucial for a long-term development of individuals and communities," said ABG Vice President for Corporate Affairs Deo Mwanyika.
"That is why we work closely with local communities around our mines and with other stakeholders in Tanzania to promote the importance of education and why we aim at broadening access to education," he said.
To date, ABG has committed a significant amount of funds to support the refurbishment and building of a number of schools around its four gold-producing mines - Bulyanhulu, North Mara, Buzwagi and Tulawaka – and also supports several scholarship programmes.
In the North Mara region alone, ABG has already provided funds for the building and refurbishment of 13 schools in the area.
Recently, ABG committed more funds to refurbishing, in some cases building, additional 12 schools in communities surrounding the North Mara mine as part of a co-existence programme reached with local communities under Village Benefit Agreements (VBAs).
ABG also looks forward to supporting scholarship programmes where possible. In 2010 and 2011 alone, ABG provided funding for some 167 students to obtain degree and other university level education.