Tag Archives: Barrick Gold

Pathway to remedy human rights abuses at Porgera mine identified

A new report commissioned by Barrick Gold has been published on the serious human rights situation at the Porgera mine.

Download In Search of Justice Porgera Gold Mine (6mb)

The report, by California based nonprofit BSR, reveals there is a backlog of more than 940 human rights cases registered, plus other victims who have not yet made their claims known.

The report recommends Barrick needs to make a number of immediate fixes, address longer-term issues, and take preventative action to avoid future harms.

BSR believes that addressing claims at these three levels is the only way to ensure a robust and sustainable approach to remedy.

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Porgera landowners frustrated with State

Chairman of the Resource Owners Federation of PNG, Jonathan Paraia.

Freddy Mou | Loop PNG | July 31, 2018

The Resource Owners Federation of PNG, a landowner company for the people of Porgera in Enga, are calling on the Government to fulfil its commitment in the MoA signed between the landowners in 1989.

The landowners are claiming that breaches in the MOA have caused negative impacts on the social, environmental and economic lives of the Porgera landowners.

Chairman of the Resource Owners Federation of PNG, Jonathan Paraia, said the 1988 proposals sought State approval and issuance of a Special Mining Lease (SML) for the mine to construct mining infrastructure that was capable of processing eight thousand tons of crushed ore through its mill over a mine life of twenty years.

However, he claimed that the State allowed what was called a “minor variation” after five years of the mine operations to double the processing rate to 17,000 tons per day.

“The landowners were deceived by the State since their lodgement of their position statement, failed to address their complaints, resulting in the landowners issuing a Notice of Dispute in April of 2015 which the State also failed to respond to.”

Paraia said the landowners are now planning to invoke the arbitration provisions in the MoA.

He added that the State’s failure to respond to the legal steps being followed by the landowners pursuant to the MoA is unbecoming of a responsible government.

Paraia reiterated that State agencies, especially the Mineral Resources Authority, are negligent of their duty to deal with the dispute in an orderly and responsible manner to ensure that the complaints are properly dealt with.

He further claimed that the State’s continuous ignorance of the issues raised by the landowners will do nothing but increase the frustration and anger of those affected, which could eventually lead to the disruption of yet another resource project in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea.

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PORGERA MINE DISPUTE UNRESOLVED

“breaches of the MOA, has caused negative impacts on the social, environmental and economic lives of the Porgera landowners”

Resource Owners Federation of Papua New Guinea Inc | 9 JULY 2018

Although the Porgera Joint Venture has recently applied for the renewal of their Special Mining Lease, a majority of the landowners whose lands are the subject of the mining lease, are maintaining a dispute for breaches of various agreements, laws and the constitution of PNG under the previous lease.

On 13th December 2013, the Porgera Special Mining Lease area landowners presented a position statement to the former Minister for Mining, Hon. Byron Chan, after Australian lawyers conducted a review in relation to the compliance of their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) dated 12th May 1989, with the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. The statement claimed that the landowners were owed more than four billion United States dollars (US$4billion) worth of unfulfilled contractual undertakings by the State.

The position statement claimed that the breaches of the MOA, has caused negative impacts on the social, environmental and economic lives of the Porgera landowners. They claimed that in the period 1994 – 1995, the State allowed the mine to vary its original proposals for development of 1988. The 1988 proposals sought State approval and issuance of a Special Mining Lease (SML) for the mine to construct mining infrastructure that was capable of processing eight thousand tonnes of crushed ore through its mill over a mine life of twenty years. Underground mining was to cease after seven years of operations. Only five years later the State allowed what was called a “minor variation” to the approved proposals to double the processing rate to 17,000 tonnes per day. This meant that the amount of ore mined daily and the waste material produced were also doubled, resulting in the waste dumps which were originally designed to hold less materials, bursting into the river systems causing massive landslides which destroyed homes and gardens owned by the landowners. The mine failed to resettle the landowners from within the Special Mining Lease to unaffected area, even when experts found the need to do so in 1996.

The landowners claim that the State has since the lodgement of their position statement, failed to address their complaints, resulting in the landowners issuing a Notice of Dispute in April of 2015. The State has also failed to respond to the Notice of Dispute which may then force the landowners to then invoke the arbitration provisions in the MOA.

The State’s failure to respond to the legal steps being followed by the landowners pursuant to the MOA, is unbecoming of a responsible government. It is clear that State agencies are negligent of their duty to deal with the dispute in an orderly and responsible manner to ensure that the complaints are properly dealt with. The State’s continuous ignorance of the issues raised by the landowners will do nothing but increase the frustration and anger of those affected landowners which could eventually lead to the disruption of yet another resource project in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea.

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Porgera Mine Resumes Full Operation And Power

Post Courier | 28 June 2018

Barrick (Niugini) Limited reported that Porgera gold mine in Enga Province has resumed full operations, and power has been restored to the Porgera community.

The resumption comes five months ahead of the original estimated repair schedule, following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake on 26 February this year, which caused substantial damage to the company’s power plant in Hides, Hela Province.

The plant suffered damage to both buildings and equipment, including the gas turbines, and the main control room which required extensive repairs .The mine had been operating on backup diesel generators with limited processing functions, while the Porgera community had been without power since the earthquake, except for a number of critical service providers that the mine had assisted by donating fuel and generators.

Power to the mine was restored on June 1 and the community on June 6.

The Hides power plant provides about 70 megawatt of power to the Porgera gold mine and annually about 2MW is supplied to the Porgera valley community free of charge (FOC) at an estimated cost of US$2.5 million (K8.1 million).

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Women Speak Out About Abuse at Barrick Gold’s North Mara Mine in Tanzania

MiningWatch Releases Video and Critique of the Mine’s Grievance Mechanism

MiningWatch Canada | 26 June 2018

In a video released by MiningWatch Canada, women living in villages around Barrick Gold’s North Mara mine in Tanzania speak out publicly for the first time about the sexual violence they suffered at the hands of private and public (police) mine security at the North Mara mine. They also discuss the inadequacies of the remedy they have received from the mine’s grievance mechanism, and the ongoing hardship they continue to suffer as a result of their rapes.

MiningWatch has interviewed over a hundred men, women, and surviving family members of victims who have suffered violence at the hands of mine security. We have visited the mine site to conduct human rights field assessments yearly since 2014 and have reported on our findings regarding the impacts of ongoing violence and the inadequacy of the mine’s responses. As a result of the yearly substantiated critiques that both MiningWatch Canada and UK-based Rights and Accountability in Development have made public regarding the North Mara mine’s inequitable remedy mechanism, Barrick Gold’s subsidiary Acacia Mining released a new operating procedure for the North Mara mine’s grievance mechanism this year. MiningWatch has reviewed the new grievance procedure and found it to lack independence and not to afford commonly indigent and illiterate victims of the North Mara mine a fair process by which to have their complaints addressed.

We worked with our local partners and some of the women from North Mara who have suffered sexual violence to prepare a video to be presented at the International Gathering of Women Resisting Extractivism. The conference brought together 37 female land and life defenders from some 15 countries around the world to share their experiences and strategies of resistance, as well as to speak out against the threats they are facing because of their work, and to seek common ground and solidarity for continued struggle in defence of life and territory.

This video highlights the ongoing impacts suffered by these victims of sexual assault by mine security and the continued need for equitable and sustainable remedy for the long-lasting harms they and their dependents have endured.

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Armed men threaten Porgera employees

Loop PNG | June 5, 2018

Barrick (Niugini) Limited (BNL), operator of the Porgera Mine in Enga, reports that another firearm- related incident has occurred at the Porgera Mine.

The company confirms that an armed group of intruders attempted to hold up two mineworkers driving a mine vehicle near the Porgera Open Pit on Sunday afternoon.

The mineworkers were travelling between operating sites on the Porgera Mine to move mining equipment during mid-afternoon on Sunday 3 June when they were confronted by a number of intruders, one of whom threatened the employees with a firearm.

When the mine vehicle slowed to avoid the intruders, a number of the suspects jumped onto the back of the vehicle in an attempt to steal mine equipment however, they were unsuccessful due to the quick reactions of the mine employees, who rapidly accelerated away from the area and alerted mine security personnel.

Mine management have confirmed that whilst Porgera mine employees were not injured in the incident, the confrontation was a continuation of the dangerous escalation of firearm-related incidents that have occurred at the mine in recent months.

“This is just the latest in a number of gun-related incidents that have occurred on the mining lease in recent months,” a spokesman for the mine said.

“The fact that violent criminals are prepared to come onto the mine carrying weapons and intending to rob or harm our employees and members of our neighbouring communities is of critical concern, and we are calling on State authorities to provide urgent assistance in bringing this under control.

“It is simply unacceptable that these criminals believe they can behave in this way with impunity – this escalation of violence needs to be stopped before someone is killed or injured.”

Mine management noted that they have advised the relevant authorities about the attempted robbery, and will be working closely with the police and others in responding to this latest firearm-related incident.

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Tanzania cancels license of Barrick, Glencore nickel project

Another example of a Nation standing up and dictating terms to the international mining companies 

Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala | Reuters | 13 May 2018

Tanzania has revoked a retention license for an undeveloped nickel project jointly owned by Barrick Gold Corp and London-listed miner Glencore Plc as part of enforcement of a new mining regime.

The license for the Kabanga nickel project in northwestern Tanzania was among 11 retention licences canceled by the government under the Mining (Mineral Rights) Regulations of 2018, which were approved in January.

A retention license is granted to holders of a prospecting license after they identify a mineral deposit within the prospecting area which is potentially of commercial significance but cannot be immediately developed due to technical constraints, adverse market conditions or other economic factors.

“The Mining Commission would like to inform all owners of retention licences that the licences have been canceled,” commissions chairman Idris Kikula said in a statement.

Barrick Gold Corp and Glencore Plc which own the 50-50 joint venture project were not immediately available for comment. Their license was due to expire in May 2019.

Other retention licences canceled by the mining commission target other nickel, gold, silver, copper and rare earth exploration companies.

Tanzania, Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer, is seeking a bigger slice of the pie from its vast mineral resources by overhauling the fiscal and regulatory regime of its mining sector.

Retention licences were previously granted for a period not exceeding five years, which was renewable.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli appointed the chairman and commissioners for the country’s new mining commission last month, paving the way for tighter regulation of the mining sector.

Magufuli sent shock-waves through the mining industry with a series of actions since his election in late 2015.

In July last year, he suspended the issuance of all new mining licences until the new mining commission was in place. 

The new mining rules state that “all retention licences issued prior to the date of publication of these regulations are hereby canceled and shall cease to have legal effect.”

“Consequent upon cancellation of retention license…rights over all areas which were subject of retention licences are hereby and without further assurance reverted to the government.”

Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp, the world’s biggest gold producer, is also the majority shareholder of London-listed Acacia Mining Plc, which is embroiled in a tax dispute with the Tanzanian government over mineral exports.

Barrick and Glencore have been looking for potential buyers for the Kabanga project since 2015 after lower global nickel prices derailed the project, according to mining sources in Tanzania.

The two miners have held the license for the project since 2009, which is estimated to have inferred resource of 36.3 million tonnes, grading 2.8 percent nickel.

Under legislation passed last Julyr, the mining commission has been given extensive powers to regulate and monitor the mining industry and mining operations in Tanzania.

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