Barrick Gold Corporation, and its affiliates and subsidiaries, operate in some of the most challenging environments in the world. Among Barrick’s operations and affiliates, the Mara region of Tanzania, in which African Barrick Gold (ABG) owns and operates the North Mara mine, is especially challenging. The North Mara mine is located in a very remote, underdeveloped part of the country in close proximity to the Kenyan border. In-migration from other areas and countries is rampant and law enforcement capacity is limited, making the area a magnet for transients, criminals and organized crime. Civil unrest due to poverty is a particular problem in the area, a fact widely recognized by Tanzanian authorities.
The vast majority of people living near North Mara share the same desire for security and safety as ABG and its employees. To that end, ABG is working with Tanzanian authorities to address a variety of issues that impact the community, particularly related to law and order. The end goal is to make this area safer for residents of the community and for the men and women who work at the mine.
It is against this background that ABG recently notified Barrick that it had received highly disturbing allegations of sexual assaults by the police and ABG security against local women. Following recent events at the Porgera Joint Venture in Papua New Guinea, employees have a heightened sensitivity to these issues. ABG has also been pursuing enhancements to its human rights program generally, in parallel to Barrick commencing its new human rights compliance program. Employees raised these allegations to external investigators retained by ABG to inquire into an unrelated matter.