Stop the exploitation in the mountains of Tanzania

Bauxite mining in Mount Shenga in Tanzania Bauxite mining in Mount Shengena : The forests are disappearing under spoil heaps
56,420 supporters

End of campaign: May 20, 2014

The land surrounding Chome in northern Tanzania is drying up. The illegal exploitation in Mount Shengena, at which bottom the village is located, is to blame for that. A dubious company is mining for bauxite with giant excavators – and destroys the water source of the entire region. Help the residents to save their land

Call to action

To: The Government of Tanzania, President Jakaya Kikwete

Read letter

Mt Shengena is covered by dense forests. They are the livelihood of the surrounding villages, home to rare animal and plant species and surround the Chome Forest Reserve. Most importantly however, they provide water for the entire Same district – until now. On the ridge, the trees had to give way to bare red soil. A dubious company with changing names, currently called Willy Enterprise LTD, is mining for bauxite here.

Large trucks transport the red raw material for aluminum into the valley. For this purpose only, a street has been carved into the mountain. This in turn facilitates illegal poachers and loggers to gain access to the fertile forest. The raw material is being brought to the neighboring Kenya and from there, is shipped to Asia.

The entire region is threatened to dry up if there is no more water flowing from the well. Agriculture would then be impossible. Even now, farmers are complaining of increasingly poor harvests. Their livelihood is threatened by the exploitation.

The bauxite-company is performing their work illegally – without the consent of the residents to whom the land belongs, according to Tanzanian law – referring to a so-called contract which is full of forged signatures and vague wording. Since June 2012, the company is also violating a ban imposed by the government which was introduced to stop the mining. The exploitation however, continues.

The inhabitants are convinced that only because of corruption all this can continue. Some of them formed a protest group, but without any help, they are powerless against a company that pays a bribe for silence. “We trust in God, as we cannot afford a lawyer”, they say.

Help the inhabitants to defend themselves against the destruction of their land and write to the Tanzanian government.

Back­ground


Letter

To: The Government of Tanzania, President Jakaya Kikwete

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

You can no longer allow that in your country, humankind and nature suffer due to the greed for raw materials of others. Stop the illegal bauxite mining in Mount Shengena in northern Tanzania. It not only destroys this unique ecosystem, but also the source of water of the entire Same district. The villagers of Chome are already complaining of not having enough water to keep their fields fertile. If you do not put an end to the exploitation, the entire area will be threatened to dry up. Agriculture would be almost impossible and particularly the rural population will then be deprived of its basic food.

Your government has already banned the exploitation near the Chome village, then why are there still trucks rolling down the mountain into the valley? The people from the area are talking about large bribes which the mining company, currently known as the Willy Enterprise, is paying to silence their enemies. Corruption opens the door to exploitation, despite significant formal and legal shortcomings:

The contract between the community and the mining company contains forged names and signatures. Numerous times, the wording “etc.” is being used which leaves almost unlimited room for interpretation.

The residents have never given their consent to the project and were at no time included in the planning process – even though the land belongs to them by law.

An independent environmental assessment of the mine has never been carried out. It would have inevitably led to a ban on mining in this location. According to the Tanzanian newspaper Raia Mwema, the company uses a forged certificate from a non-authorized company.

Additionally, the newspaper states that the company does not have a business license. Thus, it is also questionable whether they pay any taxes for the bauxite mining at all.

Moreover, the mining also damages the ecosystem of the adjacent Chome Forest Reserve, which was originally intended to protect the forest precisely against these influences. For the purpose of transporting the bauxite, a street has been specially carved into the mountain. This street now also facilitates illegal poachers and loggers to gain access to the fertile forest.

In solidarity with the residents of the northern mountainous region of Tanzania, I ask you to ultimately stop the exploitation and save the livelihood of the people.

Yours sincerely,