Barrick Gold Corp., entering the final stages of its US$6-billion takeover of Africa-focused Randgold Resources Ltd., is facing fresh questions about unresolved grievance claims for dozens of deaths and injuries among villagers around a subsidiary’s mine site in Tanzania.
Barrick subsidiary Acacia Mining says it has sharply reduced the number of violent clashes between Tanzanian police and local villagers who enter its North Mara site in search of waste rock, from which they can extract small bits of gold.
But while the deaths and injuries may have declined, Acacia is still grappling with complaints that its grievance procedure is unfair and has failed to provide proper compensation for the injured and the families of people who were killed.
The clashes at North Mara have contributed to a public backlash against Acacia in Tanzania, where the government has demanded US$190-billion in allegedly unpaid taxes and penalties from the company. The authorities have banned its export of gold concentrate and have filed criminal charges against several executives.
Barrick is hoping its new partnership with Randgold, including the appointment of Randgold founder Mark Bristow as chief executive of Barrick, will help the company improve its relations with African governments. Barrick shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the takeover deal Monday, and Randgold shareholders will vote on Wednesday.
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