Our world needs more Peter Munks – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – June 11, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media. mwente@globeandmail.com

Some parts of the world are nastier than Canada. Peter Munk should know. He came from one.

Mr. Munk is the founder and chairman of Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest gold miner. From the day he landed in Toronto from war-torn Europe, he has loved this country with a passion. “I arrived in this place not speaking the language, not knowing a dog,” he says. He was 18 – an alien, a foreigner, a Jew in a funny-looking suit. In Europe, people were living in the ruins, like rats.

The young refugee presented himself at Lawrence Park Collegiate, where nobody had seen a foreigner before. He expected to be shunned. Instead, the principal took him to a sun-filled classroom, where, unbelievably, boys and girls studied together. At lunchtime, everybody streamed into the cafeteria, where a trestle table groaned with meat, bread and milk. “The amount of food in that place could have fed any city in Europe for a whole day,” he recalls. Kids began asking him home, where their parents invited him to raid the fridge.

For Mr. Munk, this generosity became a metaphor for Canada. “People here don’t ask about your origins,” he says, “only about your destiny.”

Today, the company that he founded is embroiled in controversy, and Mr. Munk himself has come under vicious attack. Billionaires and mining giants will never be exempt from criticism, nor should they be. But these attacks are so toxic, they demand a response.

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Tanzania weighs ‘super-profit’ tax on miners – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – June 9, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media. Brenda Bouw is the Globe’s mining reporter.

Tanzania is eyeing a “super-profit tax” on miners to help pay for a development program in the East African country, the latest in a growing list of governments trying to grab more money from the resource sector amid rising commodity prices.

While the Tanzanian government hasn’t confirmed that it is weighing such a plan, reports say the new tax could be similar to one proposed last year in Australia.

“Considering the increasing trend in mineral prices, it is optimal to introduce a super-profit tax on the windfall earnings from the mineral sector,” state government documents viewed by Reuters.

Bloomberg reported the comments come from the country’s planning commission, which the Tanzanian government website describes as a think-tank under the President’s office that advises on economic issues.

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In an African mine, the lust for gold sparks a deadly clash – Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – June 8, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media.

NORTH MARA, TANZANIA

The morning of May 16 began like many others. Carrying hammers and rucksacks, hundreds of Tanzanian villagers trudged to the mountain of waste rock at dawn expecting to make another illicit deal with the heavily armed police who protect it.

Two hours later, at least five villagers were dead and many others wounded – gunned down by police at the gold mine owned by a subsidiary of Barrick Gold Corporation of Toronto.
The shooting, the latest in a series of deadly incidents at the mine over the past several years, raises troubling questions about Barrick’s security agreement with a notoriously corrupt police force that routinely extracts bribes from the villagers who enter the North Mara mine to scavenge for traces of gold.

It also provokes questions about Barrick’s decision to keep operating in the anarchic conditions around its mining site, where violent confrontations are common, allegations of police abuses are frequent and deaths are inevitable.

During a five-day visit to the North Mara Mine and the surrounding villages, The Globe and Mail witnessed an atmosphere of conflict and intimidation. Interviews with injured survivors of the May 16 shootings and other witnesses suggest that most of the villagers were unarmed or carrying only stones when they were shot. The witnesses, along with the local police commander, have contradicted the company’s assertion that hundreds of people attacked the police with machetes, hammers and rocks.

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Canadian miners abroad learn wider responsibility – Globe and Mail Editorial (June 6, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media.

The Canadian mining industry is no longer just about extraction. The 1,800 companies operating around the globe must also live up to public expectations that they protect human rights and the environment in their overseas operations. Failure to do so invites public-relations disaster, as Barrick Gold Corp.’s recent experiences in Tanzania and Papua New Guinea show.

Last week, Barrick announced it was investigating allegations that its own private security guards, as well as Tanzanian police, had sexually assaulted 10 women over the past several years at their North Mara mine. This comes just two weeks after seven people were killed at the site, following an incursion of locals scavenging for gold-laced rocks. \

At another Barrick property, in Papua New Guinea, a Human Rights Watch report released this year said the mine’s private security force was implicated in a “pattern of violent abuses, including horrifying acts of gang rape.”

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Canada mines discontent among the poor of Africa – Linda McQuaig (Toronto Star – June 7, 2011)

The Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada, has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. lmcquaig@sympatico.ca

While Canadians may think of ourselves as best known for owning the Olympic podium, among Africans we may actually be better known — and not particularly liked — for owning their natural resources.

Once beloved on the continent, Canada is no longer so fondly regarded in Africa.

The new, less enthusiastic view of Canada was vividly illustrated last month when more than 1,500 desperately poor Tanzanian villagers picked up machetes, rocks and hammers and stormed the mining compound of Canadian-owned African Barrick Gold.

The uprising — leading to the shooting deaths of seven of the villagers by police and security forces at the mine — is a startling reminder that theories widely held in the West about the benefits of foreign investment for the developing world are not always shared by people on the receiving end.

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Statement from Barrick Gold Corporation concerning the North Mara Mine, Tanzania (May 30, 2011)

Introduction

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.

The Investigation

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.

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Claims of sexual abuses in Tanzania blow to Barrick Gold – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – May 31, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media.

“These deplorable crimes, if confirmed, are neither acceptable nor excusable.
They send a clear message to us that we have not met the promises we have
made to the community, and to ourselves, to pursue responsible mining in every
location where we and our affiliates operate. We can, and will, do more.”
(Barrick statement to The Globe and Mail)

NORTH MARA, TANZANIA – Just two weeks after the fatal shooting of seven people at one of its Tanzanian gold mines, Barrick Gold Corp. is investigating allegations of sexual assault by about a dozen police and security guards at the same violence-plagued mine.

The Toronto-based corporate giant, the world’s biggest gold miner, is already reeling from allegations of gang rape by its security guards at another of its subsidiaries, in Papua New Guinea.

The deaths and alleged abuses at the Barrick sites, which began years ago but failed to gain wide attention until recently, are accelerating Barrick’s efforts to introduce stronger rules for investigating human-rights problems at its 26 mines around the world. The latest case comes as investors have been urging Canadian companies operating overseas in tough and lawless environments to push for more transparency instead of tolerating human-rights abuses.

Barrick recently became the first Canadian mining company to sign up to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, an international set of guidelines for extractive industries, which oblige it to investigate and report any credible information about human-rights abuses at its workplaces.

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[Toronto Star freelance] Journalist deported for investigating [Barrick] mine massacre – by Jocelyn Edwards (Toronto Star – May 29, 2011)

The Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada, has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion.

But local leaders accuse the company of complicity in the conduct of the police,
because it employs officers to provide mine security, and allege that African Barrick
is benefiting from it. (Jocelyn Edwards)  “A community that has been intimidated is a
community that can’t demand its rights from the company.” (Tanzanian MP Tundu Lissu)

Reporter for the Star questioned in Tanzania as string of arrests follows deaths at Barrick site

KAMPALA, UGANDA—Given that I had been followed around the tiny town for two days by men in ’80s-style wraparound sunglasses, it wasn’t really a surprise to me when I finally got arrested last Thursday in northern Tanzania.

I had gone to the East African nation to investigate the deaths of five villagers gunned down at a mine in North Mara belonging to African Barrick, a subsidiary of Toronto-based mining giant Barrick Gold Corp. Barrick said the men killed by security forces — initial reports had pegged the death toll at seven — were “intruders.” Family members of the victims said the gold-laced stones the men routinely collected at the mine were their only means of survival.

Trucks of police in full riot gear patrolled the streets of Tarime, the town nearest the mine. The situation was tense and relatives of the deceased were huddled together in a compound.

Tuesday morning, I woke up and found the room next to mine empty. The environmental and human rights lawyer who had been staying there had been arrested, along with seven other people who had been guarding the bodies of the victims at the town mortuary.

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Canadian Mining in Africa: “Do As You Please” Approach Comes at High Cost – by Bonnie Campbell (Canadian Dimension – Jan/Feb 2011)

Canadian Dimension is a Canadian leftist magazine founded in 1963 by Cy Gonick and published out of Winnipeg, Manitoba six times a year.

Bonnie Campbell is a professor of political economy at the Department of Political Science at the University of Québec in Montreal where she heads the Research Chair C.-A. Poissant on Governance and Aid for Development.

While Canadian miners have expanded to all continents, Africa now accounts for about 17 percent of Canadian mining assets abroad, up from 11 percent in 2001. Next to South African investments, companies registered on Canadian stock exchanges now represent the most important source of investment in mining in Africa. From a total amount of C$ 2.87 billion in 2001 and $6.0 billion in 2005, Canadian mining investment in Africa exceeded $23.6 billion in 2010. The trend illustrating the growing presence of Canadian companies in Africa is given in Graph 1 and the 2010 distribution of assets by countries in Graph 2. The country distribution of that investment and the minerals concerned as of December 2008 are in the pictures above.

The map shows that 91% of Canadian investments are concentrated in eight countries, with the order of countries’ importance being the following: South Africa (25.6%), DR Congo (17.8%), Madagascar (13.8%), Zambia (9.9%), Tanzania (9.5%), Ghana (6.5%), Burkina Faso (4.7%) and Mauritania (3%).

Issues of violence, environmental damage and human rights abuses abound in mineral rich Africa and according to a 2009 report produced by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Resource Conflict, Canadian mining companies have been the most significant group involved in such violations.

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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.

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Bodies of men shot at Barrick mine stolen and dumped by police: families – by Jocelyn Edwards (Toronto Star – May 25, 2011)

The Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada, has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This article was originally published May 25, 2011.

Grim  warning near African Barrick mine

TARIME, TANZANIA – It was on the side of a dirt road in northern Tanzania that relatives found a coffin containing the body of Emmanuel Magige on Tuesday morning.

The 27-year-old man was one of seven people killed and more than 12 injured on May 16 when villagers at African Barrick’s mine in northern Tanzania clashed with security forces.

Late Monday night, police stormed a mortuary in the small northern town of Tarime and removed bodies belonging to four of the dead in a bid to prevent a memorial planned at the mine for Tuesday, witnesses said. After finding the bodies of the victims forcibly returned to their villages, families instead held small burial services at their homes in the afternoon.

“It was inhuman. They did this like animals,” said Magige’s 20-year-old wife, Mary.

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Memorial for dead banned at Canadian [Barrick] gold mine in Africa – by Jocelyn Edwards (Toronto Star – May 24, 2011)

The Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada, has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This article was originally published May 24, 2011.

TARIME, TANZANIA—Families of the five men killed by security forces of a Canadian mine are furious after that were denied permission to hold a memorial service Tuesday at African Barrick’s gold mine in North Mara.

“When you have lost your loved ones and you are in a grieving period, for someone to do this to you, it is not right. It would be better if they would take you too,” said Magige Gati, whose 27-year-old son Emmanuel Magige was among the dead.

Five men were killed, and at least a dozen injured, when about 800 locals clashed with security on May 16 at a mine in the area owned by African Barrick, a subsidiary of Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation.

The clash is the latest episode in an ongoing conflict between residents of North Mara, who come to the mine to scavenge for gold and Barrick, which took over the mine in 2006.

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Barrick Gold: Controlling fallout from deadly clash [7 Tanzanian deaths]- Lisa Wright (Toronto Star – May 21, 2011)

Lisa Wright is a business reporter with the Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This article was originally published May 21, 2011.

Stan Sudol, a communications consultant and mining industry blogger,
recommends that the Canadian government establish a fact-finding mission,
headed by a respected, retired, non-partisan individual, to go to Tanzania
“to shed light on this incident. It’s the only way to get credibility back to
the Canadian mining sector. No one is going to believe any report coming
from Barrick or the Tanzanian government,” he says. (Toronto Star, May 21, 2011)

Two words instantly come to mind in cynical business circles when a tragedy occurs under a big company’s watch: damage control. Barrick Gold Corp. landed in a firestorm of controversy last week when seven villagers were gunned down and a dozen more were injured in a brutal clash at its troubled North Mara mine in Tanzania, run by its African Barrick Gold division.

Though Barrick spun off its higher-cost African assets last year to the newly-created London-based firm, the Toronto bullion behemoth remains the majority owner.

And since Barrick’s name is literally on it, the Toronto headquarters is forced to wear — and ultimately repair — the hit to its global brand, and it won’t be easy, say industry watchers and public relations experts.

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A Golden Opportunity: How Tanzania is Failing to Benefit from Gold Mining – by Mark Curtis and Tundu Lissu (October 2008)

Published by the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), National Council of Muslims in Tanzania (BAKWATA), and Tanzania Espicopal Conference (TEC) – Financed by Norwegian Church Aid and Christian Aid

A Golden Opportunity: How Tanzania is Failing to Benefit from Gold Mining (October 2008)

Executive Summary

Gold mining is the fastest growing sector of Tanzania’s economy. Minerals now account for nearly half the country’s exports and Tanzania is Africa’s third largest gold producer. Yet ordinary Tanzanians are not benefiting from this boom both because the government has implemented tax laws that are overly favourable to multinational mining companies and because of the practices of these companies. Tanzania is being plundered of its natural resources and wealth.

Between 1997 and 2005, Tanzania exported gold worth more than US$2.54 billion (bn). The government has received around $28m a year in royalties and taxes on these exports, amounting to just 10 per cent over the nine year period. The 3 per cent royalty has brought the government only an average of US$17.4m a year in recent years. Raising the royalty rate to, say, 5 per cent would have increased government revenues by around US$58m over the past five years.

We calculate that Tanzania has lost at least $265.5m in recent years as a result of an excessively low royalty rate, government tax concessions that allow companies’ to avoid paying corporation tax and possibly even tax evasion by some companies if allegations are true. This is a very conservative estimate, in that it does not cover all the gold mining companies or all figures for recent years (which are not publicly available). Neither does it cover the financial costs of other tax incentives such as VAT exemption, which are extremely difficult to estimate.

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Black eye for Barrick taints Canada, critic says – by Lisa Wright (Toronto Star – May 19, 2011)

Lisa Wright is a business reporter with the Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This article was originally published May 18, 2011.

Barrick Gold Corp. has tainted Canada’s international mining image, say industry observers, as police and company officials investigate why seven people were killed at the gold giant’s troubled Tanzanian mine.

“I think it’s a big hit on their reputation. That’s a lot of people to die at one time on a mine site,” said Toronto activist Sakura Saunders, co-founder of the ProtestBarrick.net website.

Police at the North Mara mine near the Kenyan border, a site run by its African Barrick Gold division, opened fire Monday when about 800 villagers stormed the site with machetes, hammers and rocks to reportedly steal valuable gold ore.

All’s quiet since then at the site says a spokesman, while an internal investigation by the company — majority-owned by Toronto-based Barrick — and a separate one by Tanzanian police begins into the deaths and the estimated dozen injured in the violent confrontation.

“We are reviewing the security situation at North Mara but it will take some time to unravel,” said Charles Chichester, a spokesman for the London-based company.

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