Barrick Gold’s May 19th and 25th Web Responses to Seven Tanzanian Deaths

North Mara’s 2010 Responsibility Report (PDF): click here

Recent police action at North Mara, Tanzania

Update May 25, 2011 — There is a great deal of misinformation circulating in the local community at North Mara, and being reported by media. Barrick and African Barrick Gold have been unable to verify a number of allegations circulating involving Tanzanian police activity. The police are the appropriate authority to confirm or deny those allegations. We are continuing to focus our efforts on re-establishing a constructive dialogue with the local community and also continuing our efforts to work together to improve the situation in the area surrounding our property.

Further updates and information will be provided as required.

Message concerning recent police action at North Mara

May 19, 2011 — The recent violent confrontation and loss of life at African Barrick Gold’s (ABG) North Mara mine is deeply concerning to Barrick and ABG. African Barrick Gold is working with the Tanzanian government and police to address this situation.

While ABG is still determining all the facts associated with this complex situation, the following is based on information released by ABG and the Tanzanian Police to date:

On May 16, a large group of intruders, many of them armed with machetes, stones and mining implements, stormed the ore stockpile at North Mara, with the intent of stealing ore. Initial reports put this number at 800, but following further reviews, the number is likely to have been more than 1,500. Given the extremely large number of aggressive intruders and the escalating threat of violence, ABG contacted the Tanzanian police for protection. Faced with over a thousand armed intruders, the mine’s main duty was to ensure the safety of its employees.

The Tanzanian police report that upon arriving at the scene, they tried to contain the situation. Police fired warning shots into the air and used tear gas to try to stop the attackers from advancing; however, the organized mob of armed intruders refused to turn back. A violent confrontation ensued as the intruders engaged in a sustained attack on police. A number of intruders were injured in the confrontation, seven fatally. The police have also reported that a number of their officers were injured in the confrontation.

Situations like this are deeply troubling to Barrick, ABG and to the people who live and work around the mine. The vast majority of people living near North Mara share the same desire for security and safety as we do. Both police and company investigations are now underway into the fatal shootings, which involved Tanzanian police. ABG security was not involved in these fatal incidents and, generally, does not deal with incursions of this magnitude and level of organization.

The North Mara mine operates under particularly challenging and complex circumstances, primarily associated with the law and order environment. The mine is located in a very remote, underdeveloped part of the country in close proximity to the Kenyan border, with limited law enforcement capacity, resulting in break-downs in law and order. Organized crime is also present in the region. The operation regularly faces illegal intruders, who may be armed and aggressive. These actions put hundreds of lives at risk, including ABG employees.

ABG is actively engaging with the Tanzanian government to address the severe law and order issues and lack of police resources around North Mara and in the wider community. ABG continues to make improvements to physical security at the site and engage with local community leaders. Its objective is to engage proactively with the community in long-term solutions to these challenges, to improve relations and resolve legacy issues, and to increase community investment expenditures aimed at improving quality of life in the area.

Barrick and ABG remain committed to the long-term future of North Mara and to the stability and security of the communities surrounding this operation.

The following Barrick Gold web responses to the seven Tanzanian deaths can be found here on their website: