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African Barrick Gold To Invest $8.5 Million In Villages Around North Mara

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Tanzanian miner African Barrick Gold PLC (ABG.LN) said Thursday that it has signed individual agreements with seven villages surrounding its North Mara gold mine to invest $8.5 million in community infrastructure over three years. The form of investment in each of the villages will differ, but includes the development of schools, provision of clean water, the upgrading of a local health center to a hospital. It will also look at alternative livelihoods for those who live in communities around the mine. The North Mara mine has had tense relations with its local communities, having suffered invasions from intruders and illegal miners. "We are encouraged with the progress we are now making with the communities around North Mara, which is a product of the commitment of ABG and local stakeholders to sustainable development to improve the quality of life in the communities where we operate," said Deo Mwanyika, a vice-president of Corporate Affairs at African Barrick Gold. Activists have blamed high poverty levels in the villages surrounding the mine for forcing locals to criminal activity. -By Alex MacDonald, Dow Jones Newswires; 44 20 7842 9328; alex.macdonald@dowjones.com

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