Barrick Gold’s Bulyanhulu gold mine has introduced a skills transfer program aimed at replacing expatriate workers with local Tanzanians. Under the program, the company will spend $4.5 million a year to train local residents in order to reduce the number of expatriates from the current 184 to 17 by 2015.
The Minister for Labor, Employment and Youth Development, Juma Kapuya, remarked on the success of the program during a visit to the operation in late July. The Minister stated it would minimize reliance on foreign workers for high skilled jobs and urged other companies to follow the company’s example by developing the technical and managerial skills of Tanzanian nationals.
Barrick Gold currently employs over 2,000 employees at Bulyanhulu, over 90 per cent of whom are Tanzanian. Reflecting a company policy to hire locally when possible, a concerted effort to increase employment for Tanzanian nationals has been underway.
Barrick Gold has also volunteered to finance the early stages of a new national program to develop technical skills for the mining sector, in partnership with the national government and the Tanzanian Chamber of Minerals and Energy. The Integrated Mining Technical Training program, which started earlier this year, responds to growing demand for industrial and technical skills in mining and features three-year apprenticeships.
Barrick Gold’s bursary program with the University of Dar es Salaam’s mineral engineering department is improving the skills of graduates through internships and learning opportunities for lecturers.
Tanzania is Africa’s third largest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana. Gold is the country’s largest single export earner, accounting for up to 38 per cent of total exports. The gold mining sector creates significant direct and indirect employment, particularly in remote, underdeveloped areas.