BUJUMBURA July 20th (ABP) – The activities of companies working in the extraction of gold, colombo tantalite and rare earths, namely the company Tanganyika Mining Burundi, African Mining Burundi, the company Ntega Mining Burundi and Rainbow are suspended temporarily so that Burundi renegotiates new win-win agreements, according to a correspondence from the Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines.
In that regard, a check by ABP contacted the director general of mines and quarries, Mr Didace Ntirampeba. Mr Ntirampeba indicated that several shortcomings were observed in those companies through the violation of certain articles of the mining code and regulations, of the code of private companies and with public participation as well as the mining convention.
Among other irregularities, he pointed out those related to compensation, mining and mineral processing works that did not comply with the plan for mitigation and rehabilitation of mining sites, the low production compared to that which was planned. According to him, all those shortcomings show an imbalance. The State that owns the soil and the minerals does not benefit from it.
In terms of production, most of those companies have not yet reached the production they set for a year since they worked. For example, the Rainbow Company has produced one ton of rare earth since 2017, while in the feasibility study it intended to produce 5 tons per year. For the Tanganyika Mining Burundi company of Cibitoke, for the year 2021 until July the 12th, the date of suspension, it produced 87 kg of gold against 255 kg that it was to produce throughout the year.
This low production could suggest many things, according to the director general of the OBM, either diversion of minerals or poorly done feasibility studies. Added to this is the low financial capacity available to those companies which means that the work is slowing down.
As for compensation, huge irregularities were noted, according to the DG of mines. You can find old mothers who have taken a whole property but who have received nothing as compensation.
When asked whether the former artisanal miners are still working, the director general of the OBM indicated that they work as subcontractors of those companies who receive from them 20% of their production, which constitutes another failure observed in the convention.
Regarding the exploitation of Nickel, the DG of the OBM indicated that nothing is being done for lack of energy and railroad which are conditions for these Nickel ores to be exploited.
As for the petroleum reported in Lake Tanganyika, he said that the companies Az Petroleum and Sure Stream which carried out prospecting studies did not give any reports, which is unacceptable for the country, according to him.
One positive thing, according to Mr. Ntirampeba, is that those mined minerals are bought by the BRB where the price of gold hovers around US $ 54 per gram; this constitutes the gold reserves for the country.