Barrick Gold Corp (TSX: ABX) said on Tuesday that it believes the law firm Leigh Day intends to bring a claim in the United Kingdom against the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) in connection with the alleged killings of two people near the North Mara gold mine in Tanzania by police acting on its behalf. The firm clarifies that it is not a party to these proceedings.
Barrick president and CEO Mark Bristow stated that the company was proud of its global human rights record as well as North Mara’s good working relationship with the community surrounding the mine.
“While the vast majority of local residents are law-abiding, there are rogue bands, armed and well-organised, who from time to time invade North Mara to steal gold-bearing rock, presenting a serious risk to the safety of mine personnel and community members in the process,” Bristow said.
The chief executive further claimed that “North Mara lives with the constant threat of such invasions.” Bristow relayed that the mine was attacked by an armed force of almost 100 men. Despite the police’s attempts to repel them, 71 managed to scale the site’s 9-metre-high perimeter wall and engaged with the mine’s unarmed security personnel.
According to Bristow, Barrick has repeatedly said that North Mara’s security staff are unarmed and that the mine does not monitor, direct, control, or instruct any mission, assignment, or function of Tanzania’s police force, which is a state entity.
The law firm is representing the families of two artisanal miners who were reportedly slain by security forces at Tanzania’s North Mara gold mine in 2019.
“There is a long and troubling history of allegations of human rights abuses committed against local people in and around the mine,” Leigh Day said. “However, the LBMA continued (and continues) to issue a ‘Responsible Gold Certificate’ to the company which refines the gold.”
The LBMA, which began certifying the refiner in 2014, stated that it considered the complaint had no merit because its regulations were clear and enforced.
The association also conveyed its condolences to the families of those murdered or injured while mining for gold in Tanzania, but stated that its certification “operates on transparent and well-published principles that all refiners must follow.”
Barrick Gold last traded at $22.77 on the TSX.
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