Tanzanian human rights victims lodge claim in UK’s High Court against Barrick subsidiary

A GROUP of seven Tanzanian human rights victims have launched a legal claim at the UK’s High Court against Barrick Gold subsidiaries, including Barrick Tz, formerly Acacia Mining.

Mining Watch Canada and RAID, a UK-based corporate watchdog, said in a statement today that the claimants cite human rights violations at Barrick’s North Mara mine that date back to 2014 involving local police hired by Acacia Mining.

Barrick Gold declined to comment.

Mark Bristow, CEO of Barrick Gold, told Miningmx last week that Acacia was fundamentally “… an irresponsibly-run business and it was not properly managed”.

He was primarily referring to claims lodged by the Tanzanian government that Acacia owed it billions of dollars in unpaid tax which he said was “… a measure of the desperation felt” by the Tanzanian government.

In 2019, Barrick bought out the minority shareholders of Acacia, delisted the company from the London and Dar es Salaam Stock Exchanges, and took it back under its control. This was after the Tanzanian government, led by President John Magufuli, refused to negotiate with Acacia on the tax claims.

According to Mining Watch Canada and RAID, the group of claimants live in communities around the North Mara mine and includes the father of a nine-year-old girl killed by a mine vehicle in July 2018. The claimants also include a 16-year-old youth who says he was shot in the back and then beaten by the police employed by the mine.

The claimants are represented by British law firm, Hugh James.

After delisting Acacia, Barrick formed a company with the Tanzanian government – Twiga Minerals Corporation (Twiga) – to manage the mines. Twiga will oversee the running of the operations now owned 84% by Barrick and 16% by the Tanzanian government. The deal provides for a 50/50 sharing in the economic benefits generated by the mining operations after recoupment of capital investments.

As part of the settlement with the government, Barrick has undertaken to pay a $300m once-off fee. “Since taking over the operatorship we have been engaging with local communities to restore the mines’ social licence to operate,” said Bristow in January at the time of announcing completion of the Twiga joint venture.

Bristow added that Barrick had budgeted $50m for brownfields and greenfields exploration in Tanzania during 2020 alone and was “looking at various opportunities to sustain and expand our operations”.

The post Tanzanian human rights victims lodge claim in UK’s High Court against Barrick subsidiary appeared first on Miningmx.


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