Tanzanian lawmakers have started investigating allegations of pollution made against Barrick Gold Corp.'s (ABX) North Mara Gold Mine, officials said Tuesday.
The lawmakers arrived in Tarime district Monday, where the mine is located, and held a number of meetings with mine management and locals.
"They are in the district for three days on a fact finding mission," said Machage Bartholomeo, a councilor in the district.
The lawmakers are on a mission to establish whether the mine's waste disposal facilities comply with the country's environmental laws. They will also try to establish the impact of the pollution on locals.
Locals and activists have called for the immediate closure of the mine and accused it of polluting the Tigithe river, which passes through the mine's property. Activists say the design of the mine's tailings dam was never designed to prevent leakages into the environment and the river, a charge denied by the company.
Teweli Teweli, spokesman for Barrick Tanzania Ltd., said the company continues to accord maximum cooperation to all parties probing the pollution incident.
Local media reported Tuesday the death toll from the pollution had reached 30 people and 300 head of cattle. This couldn't be independently confirmed.
-By Nicholas Bariyo, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires; +256 75 262 4615; firstname.lastname@example.org