Tunatazama - Community Monitors

March against the mine

Astone Chaole

Mining has painted a rosy picture of Nyakallong during the days of Lorraine Gold Mine. Things took a turn for the worst when Harmony took over the operation.

Nothing of value can be pointed by the community over the past fifteen years since Harmony took over. The only thing is the horrific effects of environmental degradation The general feeling among the local people is that the mine has done nothing for their development. This is backed up by the physical evidence as you walk around the community. It is hard to even see a board or a sign that shows any development brought by the mine.

People will tell you that the dam called Voelpan is the only evidence of the existence of the mine in their area. This dam has brought nothing but human misery and catastrophe to the local people. The water from the dam contains many harmful and toxic acids that flow into people’s houses. Most of the people who reside in riverside section of Nyakallong suffer from respiratory illnesses. The elderly and the young ones are the most affected because of their vulnerability. The elderly people have passed on as a result of respiratory illnesses while the young ones play close to the dam and oblivious to the danger and the risks they’re exposed to. Besides the risk of drowning, Voelpan water contains high volume of uranium that produces radon gas, the largest cause of lung cancer around the world. This is the same water that flows into people’s houses.

A protest march was organized by both councilors of ward 19 and 36 that make up Allanridge and Nyakallong. They brought together all stakeholders within the community to partner for the future of the small mining town. This is the team that drafted the memorandum of demands from the community public meeting. Councilor Clement Hanisi alluded to the fact that Harmony has disrespected people from time in memorial and it’s a high time that they take full responsibility for their actions.

The memorandum was very clear. Harmony has done nothing for the community of Nyakallong even though they are the ones who bear the brunt of the environmental burden. Harmony must abide by their Social Labour Plan and do things that were promised to the community. There was no consultation in drafting the Social Labour Plan.

The only thing they can show is the multi-purpose court that was constructed years back and it is decaying because no one is maintaining it. Nothing beneficial to the community can be pointed out and there is no solution in sight.