Acacia Mining pressed over deaths in Tanzania – by David Pilling (Financial Times – July 23, 2017)

Acacia Mining, which is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar dispute with the Tanzanian government over tax and royalties, is facing renewed pressure to address long-running alleged human rights violations at one of its mines in the east African country.

Since 2014, at least 22 people have been killed and 69 injured, many after being shot at or near Acacia’s North Mara gold mine, according to Rights and Accountability in Development, a UK charity, which accuses the London-listed miner of taking a “militarised” approach to guarding its assets in one of Tanzania’s poorest regions.

It was “unfathomable” that Acacia was not addressing human rights concerns as part of high-level discussions with the government to resolve a separate tax dispute, Anneke Van Woudenberg, executive director of RAID, said.

Acacia said: “We confirm there have been no fatalities at North Mara caused by Acacia’s security personnel in the timeframes set out by RAID. Over the past five years, North Mara has devoted significant time, effort and investment into local community relations which has resulted in a dramatic improvement in its relationship with the community.”

The company said it had published the number of deaths at North Mara in its annual report and that these showed a declining number, falling from 17 in 2014 to six in 2016. It said police had always acted lawfully and had only resorted to the use of firearms when their lives were threatened.

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