Tag Archives: Barrick Gold

Nautilus and Barrick Gold guilty of double standards

International Mining Companies have Colonial and Racist Double Standards

A case study comparing the performance of Canadian mining companies in their home country to their performance overseas has found dramatic double standards.

The the study has been published by the prestigious Peter Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia.

The report finds Canadian mining companies have been involved in major human rights violations in developing nations including slavery and forced labour, violence against unarmed protestors, sexual violence against women and gang rapes.

Despite the international condemnation of these actions, Canada has failed regulate the behaviour of its companies in their overseas operations.

The study provides a comparison of the regulatory regime for extractive companies operating in Canada versus that in Papua New Guinea.

The study shows how Canadian companies operating in Papua New Guinea, Nautilus Minerals and Barrick Gold, fail to maintain the same standards that apply in their home country.

The double standards apply across the whole spectrum of their operations including environmental assessment and consultation, forced evictions and other human rights abuses, violence and access to the courts, access to information and respect for free prior informed consent.

The report calls for mining companies to apply the same practices and standards across all countries where they operate and for accountability to be enforceable in their home nations.

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PNG landowner push for miner’s exit up against the odds

Johnny Blades | Radio New Zealand | 8 October 2018

A Canadian mining company appears to have government support in the face of landowner opposition to its presence in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands.

Barrick Gold is seeking a renewal of its Special Mining Lease licence at Enga province’s Porgera gold mine which it and Chinese miner ZiJin each own a 47.5 percent stake in.

But landowners are urging the government to reject the licence application due largely to Barrick’s stewardship of the Porgera Joint Venture for the past decade.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera says the mine has caused irreparable environmental damage and human rights abuses.

The group, which claims to represent landowners in the mine area, also accuses Barrick of failing to compensate victims of abuses or to resettle those displaced by the mine’s operations.

Its chairman Jonathan Paraia said that for almost thirty years the mine had caused many problems for landowners, and that the government should not renew Barrick’s permit.

“Because of overwhelming objection from the local community, even if they issue the exploration license, physically the landowners will not allow them to explore in their areas,” Mr Paraia explained.

“They want Barrick out of Porgera or Papua New Guinea. They want the mine to operate but they want to change the ownership rights.”

But the Lagaip Porgera MP, Tomait Kapili, claimed that the Justice Foundation for Porgera did not legally represent landowners, and said the Porgera Landowners Association remained the legitimate local representative body.

Mr Kapili has poured cold water on the Justice Foundation’s attempts to drive Barrick out.

A member of the national government, the MP said he expected the license would be renewed. But Mr Kapili said the new license could be granted on improved terms for landowners who currently have a 2 percent stake in the mine, and a measure of leverage.

“I’m ready to negotiate with Barrick and ZiJin on those funds, not to accuse them of this and that, and then tell them you’ve done enough damage, we take over the mine and all that,” he said.

“They (Barrick and ZiJin) have big investment in there, they are not going to move out. None of the allegations have been tested, except for the security guards’ harassment of ladies.”

Zijin Mining’s Chen Jinghe and Barrick Gold’s John Thornton Photo: Supplied

Some security personnel employed by Barrick were implicated in brutal gang rapes of local women and girls, part of a long history of lawlessness and violence around the Porgera mine.

A Barrick spokesperson denied that there have been any credible reports of rapes by its security contractors since the matter was investigated in 2010.

He also denied that the company hadn’t fulfilled its commitments to landowners removed from the mine lease area.

“The Porgera Mine pays significant statutory land use compensation to traditional landowners of the land on which the mine is situated,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“The company notes that this compensation is determined by government regulation, and that contrary to recent claims, the mine has always complied with its compensation payment obligations.”

Regarding Mr Paraia’s claim that the mine hasn’t produced promised benefits for the local community or those evicted due to the mining operations, Barrick defended its record.

“In addition to providing many thousands of jobs for Porgerans and other Papua New Guineans, the mine has provided funding for the development of critical public infrastructure in Enga and adjacent Provinces throughout its operating life to date.”

On the back of collapsed revenues over the past couple of years, PNG’s government is unlikely to want Barrick to leave the country when there is no obvious replacement with the know-how to exploit the Porgera deposit.

“To date the Porgera Joint Venture has paid over 3.3 billion kina in taxes and more than 520 million kina in royalties, providing a long-term source of important public revenue for Enga, the National Government and the Porgera Landowners themselves,” Barrick’s spokesperson said.

Porgera mine. Photo: wikicommons / Richard Farbellini

The Mining Warden, Kopi Wapa, has been conducting hearings in Porgera as part of public consultations over the license application, before submitting his report to the Mining Advisory Council which ultimately makes a recommendation to the minister on whether to appove the license.

In his recent visit to Mr Wapa witnessed vocal crowds of Porgera landowners demonstrating their opposition to Barrick remaining. But Mr Paraia said his group was frustrated that their legal counsel was denied an opportunity to present their case to Mr Wapa.

According to Mr Paraia, he fears the mining warden may have been compromised.

“It is alleged, he flew into the mining area at the cost of the company, and he was accommodated at the company. They were eating and dining together. And he was subject to influence by the company. That’s why we thought the lawyer was denied from speaking.”

However, the Justice Foundation of Porgera has indicated it will serve a notice of dispute, and has suggested an independent arbitrator be engaged by the government as it weighs up whether to renew the Porgera Joint Venture’s Special Mining Lease agreement which expires next year.

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MP dispels claims for opposing miner in PNG’s Enga

A protest against Barrick Gold. Photo: Facebook/ Kelly Taila

Radio New Zealand | 5 October 2018

A Papua New Guinea MP says a group opposing a mining company’s presence in his district does not represent local landowners.

The Canadian company Barrick Gold is seeking to renew its licence at the Porgera mine in Enga, which it and Chinese miner ZiJin each own a 47.5 percent stake in.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera group, which claims to represent landowners, is urging the government to reject the licence application.

It said Barrick’s operations have caused great environmental damage and extensive human rights abuses.

However, Lagaip Porgera MP, Tomait Kapili said he believes the license will be renewed, but on improved equity terms.

“I’m ready to negotiate with Barrick and ZiJin on those funds, not to accuse them of this and that, and then tell them you’ve done enough damage, we take over the mine and all that.

“They have big investment in there, they are not going to move out. None of the allegations have been tested, except for the security guards’ harassment of ladies.”

Justice Foundation for Porgera’s chairman Jonathan Paraia said the mine had caused irreparable environmental damage and failed to deliver promised benefits for the community.

He said repeated rapes of local girls by Barrick’s security guards have also left a legacy.

“Over the years there are a lot of issues affecting landowners, caused by the company, and there is no remedy. It’s now thirty years. They want Barrick out of Porgera, or Papua New Guinea. They want the mine to operate but they want to change the ownership rights.”

But Mr Kapili said the Justice Foundation for Porgera group was falsely purporting to represent landowners, and had little grounds on which to oppose Barrick’s operaions.

Mr Kapili, who said the Porgera Landowners Association remained the legitimate local landowner representative body, predicted that Barrick’s license would be approved, but on improved terms.

“Improved terms to the landowners, the district Development Authority, the provincial government and the national government,” the MP said, adding that an increase in equity participation was the aim.

“We’ll need to amend the Mining Act to increase the 2 percent royalty up to about 10 percent.”

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Enga landowners want Canadian miner out of PNG

A protest against Barrick Gold. Photo: Facebook/ Kelly Taila

Radio New Zealand | 4 October 2018

Landowners are calling on Papua New Guinea’s government to reject an application for a renewed exploration permit for a Canadian miner.

Barrick Gold is seeking a renewal of its license at the Porgera gold mine in Enga province which it and Chinese miner ZiJin each own a 47.5 percent stake in.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera group represents most of the local landowner groups.

Its chairman Jonathan Paraia said the mine had caused irreparable environmental damage and failed to deliver promised benefits for the community.

He said repeated rapes of local girls by Barrick’s security guards have also left a legacy.

“Over the years there are a lot of issues affecting landowners, caused by the company, and there is no remedy. It’s now thirty years [that the mine has almost been in operation]. They want Barrick out of Porgera, or Papua New Guinea. They want the mine to operate but they want to change the ownership rights.”

The Mining Warden, Kopi Wapa, has been conducting hearings in Porgera as part of public consultations over the license application, before submitting his report to the Mining Advisory Council. The Council will subsequently make recommendations to the minister of mining on a final decision on this matter.

However, the Justice Foundation for Porgera group is concerned that Mr Wapa lacks impartiality in this matter, accusing him of being sponsored or compromised by Barrick.

“The Warden was on the podium surrounded by mining company employees, he gagged our legal counsel and tried to gag us,” Mr Paraia explained.

Mr Paraia said the landowners expected the warden to make a recommendation for Barrick to be refused approval for exploration, “because of overwhelming objection from the local community”.

“Because even if they issue the exploration license, physically the landowners will not allow them to explore in their areas.”

“This mine has turned us into mining refugees in our own land, we are subsistence people without land we cannot grow food to survive. People have died, women and girls have been gang raped, hundreds displaced on Barrick’s watch.”

Barrick has paid compensation for a number of the victims of its security guards’ abuses, however local groups have complained that there has been a lack of justice on many counts.

According to Mr Paraia, Enga’s provincial governor Sir Peter Ipatas had earlier indicated he supported the landowners in their opposition to Barrick.

The Special Mining Lease agreement which is the basis for any mining in Porgera is still valid until next year.

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Can a mega merger save Barrick Gold?

All is not glittering in the gold-mining industry where Barrick Gold has struggled, facing depleting reserves, opposition from environmentalists and human rights claims

Barrick Gold and Randgold join to form a mega-miner

 The Economist | September 27 2018

“THE gold sector is like a charade,” Mark Bristow proclaimed in 2016, deriding miners for having too much debt and too little discipline. Mr Bristow is nonetheless poised to become the industry’s most powerful man. On September 24th Barrick Gold, a giant miner, said it would pay $6bn for Randgold Resources, the firm Mr Bristow founded. If shareholders approve the deal, it would be the world’s biggest gold-mining company. Mr Bristow’s task, as chief executive of the combined entity, is to restore its gleam.

The industry as a whole is looking a bit grubby. As gold prices rose in the 2000s, many firms went on a spree, snapping up mediocre mines. When prices fell, they were left with debt and inferior projects. This year share prices for big miners have been stuck in the dirt even as the broader stockmarket has soared (see chart).

Barrick has struggled, too. Founded in Canada in 1983, it took on more debt as it mined for gold on five continents. John Thornton, its chairman, has in recent years worked to sell mines and strengthen the company’s balance-sheet. But Barrick still had $5.8bn in debt in July and a BBB credit rating from S&P, a ratings agency. It faces declining production, because reserves are being depleted and some far-flung investments are proving problematic. Work has halted on a large mine in the Andes, for example, in the face of opposition from environmentalists. Production has plunged in Tanzania, as the government demands a greater share of riches from mines in which Barrick has a majority stake.

See also: PNG landowners fight against one of the largest gold miners in the world

Enter Mr Bristow, a geologist who likes to traverse Africa by motorbike. Investors widely admire Randgold. It is choosy about its mines, investing only in places with particularly rich deposits, and disciplined about costs, regardless of whether gold prices are high or low. Management is localised in the countries where Randgold operates—Mali, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This has helped it succeed in an industry dogged by volatile prices and volatile governments, or “complex jurisdictions”, as the company calls them.

Barrick’s Mr Thornton, who will remain chairman, hopes Mr Bristow can apply his operational expertise to a global miner. For instance, Randgold excels at underground mining, which will be more important for Barrick but has not been its speciality to date—Barrick has mostly unearthed gold in vast open pits. Randgold also brings hard assets. The combined group would be a mega-miner, with five of the world’s ten biggest mines. Randgold’s cash flow would help service Barrick’s debt and support investments in America and the Dominican Republic.

Notwithstanding such benefits, shareholders may still oppose the deal. Barrick’s investors may balk at risks in Africa—the DRC, for instance, is changing its laws in order to take higher royalties from mining companies. Randgold’s investors may resent that Barrick is paying no premium for Randgold’s shares.

If the companies do combine, Mr Bristow must manage a much larger, more complex business than he has to date. He will have to show that the expertise he displayed in Africa is useful in developing Barrick’s mines in, say, Nevada. Time to test his Midas touch.

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PNG landowners fight against one of the largest gold miners in the world

Jarni Blakkarly | SBS | October 1, 2018

Papua New Guinea’s neighbours living next to one of the largest gold mines in the world are asking the government to block attempts to extend their mining license.

The mine has been operating for almost 30 years, but the license for the Porgera gold mine in Enga province, Papua New Guinea, expires in May.

Jonathan Paraia is the president of the Justice Foundation for Porgera and is leading the charges against the mining companies.

“The people were not treated properly, they are suffering in terms of their human rights, destroying their homes and gardens and the land they live on,” he said.

The Porgera gold mine is operated by a joint venture between Canada’s Barrick and Chinese miners ZiJin, which have a 47.5 percent stake each.

The remaining five percent is in the hands of a regional government agency, Mineral Resources, Enga.

The villagers say that promises of jobs and benefits from the mine have only reached a few, while the rest still live in extreme poverty and have lost access to their traditional lands.

The members of the community met at a meeting last Thursday to express their anger. Along with the traditional drums and songs, they were “Barrick out” songs.

Hundreds gathered in the province of Enga to oppose the extension of the license of the mine.

Jonathan Paraia says that the operation of the mine has caused significant environmental damage.

He says he expects a different mining company to have the opportunity to enter the area, one that will extend the benefits more widely through the community.

Australian lawyers who inform the group that opposes the extension of the mine say the owners deserve adequate compensation.

“People want to be treated fairly, they want to see a much fairer distribution of mine profits. They want to see their people with more opportunities and if they can not be approached, they will oppose the mine continuing in any way, “said attorney Matthew Graham.

“Ideally, the mine should continue to operate, and people can be better off in the future and compensated for environmental damage in the past,” he added.

A spokesperson for Barrick Niguini Limited, the local arm of the company that operates the joint venture, said they always paid compensation and royalties, and that the mine had brought significant infrastructure and benefits to the local area.

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Barrick Gold Put On Notice For Nearly 30 Years Of Rent Owing

“We are wiped out because our land is covered by the waste from the mining, we have no land, no rivers, no pigs, no food and gardens. We only want to be resettled somewhere where we can call home and stand as men and women on our own two feet.”

Yombi Kep | Post Courier | October 1, 2018

PNG’s second largest mine, the Porgera Gold Mine, has been in operation for nearly 30 years but it has yet to resettle the Special Mining Lease (SML) landowners whom it displaced since it first started its operation in 1990.

Chairman of Tuanda ILG Sole Taro said that he and his people were displaced by Barrick who promised to relocate them since their land, the place which they called home was used by the mine to dump waste from the mine.

“It’s nearly 30 years now, me and my people have been displaced by the company with promises of resettlement but so far nothing has been done,” said Mr Taro.

He said that Tuanda ILG owned 600 hectares of land in the SML area.

“Barrick have used 600 hectares of our land for 30 years and we have never received any benefit.”

He said that apart from the homes and gardens that were damaged, schools as well as churches were damaged.

“They used my land to dump waste from the mine.”

Mr Taro said that they haven’t built schools, churches or aid posts to compensate for the ones that are now covered in waste.

“There is no council ward, my people are scattered all over,” he said.

“Our village is destroyed by the company and now we have no place to call home.”

As the chairman of Tuanda ILG and a leader for his people, he is calling on Barrick Gold to at least resettle his people somewhere together where they can call home and restart their already crumbled life.

“We are wiped out because our land is covered by the waste from the mining, we have no land, no rivers, no pigs, no food and gardens. We only want to be resettled somewhere where we can call home and stand as men and women on our own two feet.”

Chairman of Justice Foundation of Porgera Ltd Jonathan Paraia said that the company has displaced landowners making them refugees on their own land.

“In PNG people live on a piece of land and when that is gone they are displaced so they become environmental refugees or you can call it mining infected refugees. They have no other place to go.”

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