There has been a long history of violent incidents at African Barrick Gold’s (ABG) North Mara mine in Tanzania.

In March 2013 the law firm Leigh Day commenced proceedings against ABG and its 100% owned  subsidiary, North Mara Gold Mine Limited (NMGML) in the High Court of England and Wales on behalf of Tanzanian villagers who claimedthat the companies werre “liable for deaths and injuries allegedly caused by the use of excessive force by mine security and police”.   Originally Leigh Day represented 33 claimants but the number was reduced after a group of former clients were persuaded to accept a remedy from the mine.  In February 2015, the remaining claimants reached an out-of-court settlement.  Neither Acacia Mining nor Leigh Day disclosed details about the terms of settlement.

As with the Barrick Gold mine in Porgera, in Papua New Guinea, Barrick’s subsidiary in Tanzania,  made offers to people without adequate legal representation in return for those individuals signing away their rights to legal redress.

In February 2014 RAID and MiningWatch Canada wrote to the Canadian Barrick Gold Corporation and its subsidiary, African Barrick Gold (ABG), to request transparency regarding the ‘remedy programme’ established to compensate alleged victims of ‘harm’ including women allegedly sexually assaulted by police or site security personnel at the North Mara mine in Tanzania.  

In March 2014 RAID, with other NGOs, distributed a briefing for investors and equity analysts entitled ‘A Pattern of Abuse: Human Rights at Risk at the North Mara Mine, Tanzania’. RAID has carried out field assessments in North Mara with MiningWatch Canada: in July 2014, November 2015 and July 2016.   During this period RAID and MiningWatch Canada have collected first hand testimony (and other evidence) on 22 cases of alleged unlawful killings by police or mine security personnel, most of which have occurred since 2014. They have interviewed 21 women – some were allegedly raped or beaten by police or mine employees or their husbands killed in mine-related violence; and 69 (mostly young) men who have been left with severe, life-changing injuries, allegedly after being assaulted by police or mine security personnel.

Results

As a result of these criticisms, the company, which in November 2014 changed its name to Acacia Mining, has introduced some significant changes to its legal waiver and ‘enhanced’ the remedy programme. It has revised the confidentiality clause making it optional and it has increased payments to the claimants. But the waiver still requires the complainant to waive rights to participation ‘on behalf of third parties to any civil proceedings in any jurisdiction.’  

Acacia claims that it wants to help provide a remedy to individuals who credibly claim that security guarding the mine against intruders have harmed them or their family members through the use of excessive force, given the absence of a State-based remedy mechanism specifically for that purpose.  As of December 2016, RAID and MiningWatch Canada are engaging with Acacia Mining to try to resolve outstanding complaints by villagers.