Abuse claims: Barrick says not responsible for alleged police actions
- Barrick said in a statement that the claim contains inaccuracies, including the suggestion that the company’s security strategy converts police assigned to operate in the mine into security forces in the mine.
Dar es Salaam. Barrick Gold Corporation yesterday said it cannot be legally responsible for alleged police actions after a group of villagers sued the mining giant in Canada over suspected police killings, torture, and other abuses at the North Mara mine.
On Wednesday, a legal proceeding commenced against Barrick in the Province of Ontario (Canada) on behalf of individuals in Tanzania.
The claim accuses the world’s second-largest gold miner of being complicit in extrajudicial killings by police guarding its North Mara facility. However, Barrick said in a statement that the claim contains inaccuracies, including the suggestion that the company’s security strategy converts police assigned to operate in the mine into security forces in the mine.
“These contentions are simply wrong,” the company stated, adding that no police officers are now or have ever been employed by North Mara Gold Mine Ltd. (NMGML).
“Moreover, neither Barrick nor NMGML exercises authority over or control over the Tanzanian Police. Instead, the Tanzanian Police are an institution of the state, created and governed by Tanzanian legislation as well as the country’s Constitution. The Tanzanian Police operate under their own chain of command and make their own strategic and operational decisions. They most assuredly have not been converted into a private security force,” it stated.
The company said respect for human rights is a “foundational value at Barrick” and that it has zero tolerance for human rights violations.
“Our commitment to respect human rights is enshrined in our Human Rights Policy, and is informed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.”
“We, therefore, take seriously the allegations contained in the claim that has now commenced,” Barrick stated.
Barrick is looking forward to defending itself against the allegations it described as baseless when the time and place are right.
“In the meantime, Barrick and its subsidiaries remain committed to conducting mining operations in a sustainable and responsible fashion. Our social licence to operate has always been, and always will be, of the utmost importance to us.”