The Tanzania Portland Cement Company (TPCC) has suspended its expansion plans due to a decade-long dispute with illegal miners at Wazo Hill in Dar es Salaam.
TPCC director for human resources and executive affairs, Ms Jayne Nyimbo Taylor, said 170 miners and other people, who invaded Cha Simba Village since 2002, had continuously been encroaching on the company’s area. They have been building houses and some have been mining stones. She also said such people had been acting violently and the company’s security guards had been assaulted.
“Just last Sunday, one of our security guards was killed as he was trying to chase the invaders from our quarry land…this has caused the investor to stop the investment plan to add the fifth cement production plant, which could be the largest, due to the situation,” she said. The company, which trades as Twiga, recently brought its annual production capacity to 1.4Mt of cement and it employs about 800 direct and indirect workers.
The row dates from 2007 when the High Court ruled the case in favour of the TPCC and appointed Gemaco Auction Mart as the decree holder.
However, court broker Enock Mwakassala said until now he had failed to execute the eviction exercise because he did not get cooperation from police or any other law enforcers for supervision.
Ms Taylor told The Citizen that the management had informed the company’s board chairman that without the government intervention and bringing the matter to a rapid end, the company would close down business for security reasons.
“We appealed to the government to assist us to evict these people but all it says is that it is securing an area in Kibaha to relocate them…but this is taking long and we are getting loss.”
TPCC health, security and safety manager Alfred Anthony said the plans to close the factory would be also in line with international mining laws, which stipulate that residential areas be 500m away from the mining area.
However, Mr Anthony said permanent houses had been built within 100m from the mining site. “This is very dangerous for them since they risk being hit by stones during our operations or they could be buried under the pits during quarrying,” he warned.