Allegations of human rights abuses ‘unfounded’, Barrick Gold tells UNHRC

By Thomson Reuters Jun 20, 2024 | 4:15 PM

(Reuters) – Barrick Gold said in a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday that allegations of human rights violations at its North Mara Gold Mine were “misdirected, unfounded” and “lacked substance”.

The UNHRC’s special procedures branch had sent a letter to the Canadian gold miner in April, saying it had received information about allegations of killings, assault, torture, sexual abuse and violence against women and girls, among others, committed by security forces and private security contractors at the North Mara mine in northern Tanzania.

UNHRC’s letter to Barrick stated that “12 deaths which allegedly occurred during/resulting from operations by security forces assigned to the mine. Of these, six have been allegedly the result of Barrick operations.”

North Mara Gold Mine Limited (NMGML) is the owner and operator of the North Mara Gold Mine and Barrick Gold does not have direct operations in Tanzania, the company said.

Barrick owns a majority stake in NMGML since 2019.

Barrick said the UNHRC working groups and special rapporteurs did not conduct site visits, nor engage with the Tanzanian authorities.

“The private security provider, SGA, is unarmed. There are no lethal weapons or ammunitions held by NMGML, its employees or contractors,” the company said in its letter.

In 2022, Barrick had faced several lawsuits alleging violence by security forces at North Mara.

UNHRC did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for a comment.

(Reporting by Tanay Dhumal in Bengaluru)