Sued in a Canadian court

Barrick gold
on trial

The third lawsuit in less than 10 years on the same human rights issues – excess use of force by police providing security services to the North Mara Gold Mine leading to deaths and injuries of local Kuria peoples.

Rather than fight serial lawsuits, Barrick needs to stop the killing and maiming, and stop relying on armed security, including Field Force Units of the Tanzanian Police, to guard its mines.

BACKGROUND

    For the third time in under ten years, alleged victims of violence by police providing security at the North Mara Gold Mine in Tanzania are seeking legal remedy. This time, Canada’s Barrick Gold is being sued in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice by the Vancouver-based law firm Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman (CFM) and Waddell Phillips in Toronto. Read the Statement of Claim.

    The victims are Indigenous Kuria whose villages surround the mine’s pits and waste dumps. For well over a decade Kuria men, women, and children have been subjected to excess use of force by mine security and police leading to beatings, serious injuries, killings, and rapes.

    THE FIRST LAWSUIT: The first lawsuit, on behalf of alleged victims of excess use of force by police leading to deaths and injuries, was filed by the firm Leigh Day in 2013 against Barrick’s then-subsidiary, U.K.-based African Barrick Gold plc., and the North Mara Gold Mine ltd. That case was settled out of court in 2015, on behalf of 13 Kuria villagers.

    THE SECOND LAWSUIT: The second lawsuit was brought in 2020, initially on behalf of seven alleged victims of mine security and police providing security to the mine. The case was filed against Barrick subsidiaries Acacia Mining PLC and the North Mara Gold Mine Limited by the firm Hugh James. Three additional claimants, family members of three men who were allegedly shot dead by mine police, were later added to this case. MiningWatch Canada assisted victims in this case and continues to support the lawsuit, which is ongoing.

    THE THIRD LAWSUIT: In September 2019, Barrick Gold purchased the shares of minority shareholders in Acacia Mining in a $1.2bn buy-out and the company has since had direct management control of the North Mara Gold Mine. Now Barrick Gold Corporation is being sued in its home country Canada by 21 claimants for alleged excess use of force by police contracted to provide security services to the North Mara Gold Mine leading to deaths and injuries of local Kuria peoples. As the statement of claim notes, these “acts of extreme violence committed by the Mine Police in the service of Barrick in and around the North Mara Mine” include ”killings of five local residents” and “numerous beatings and shootings.” These cases all occurred over the initial three years since Barrick had taken direct management control of the mine.

    A RELATED LAWSUIT: In December 2022, UK-based Leigh Day filed a suit on behalf of the families of another two Kuria victims of violent assault by mine security and/or mine police at the North Mara Gold Mine. Both died after being shot in 2019. This case is against the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) alleging that the LBMA wrongly certifying that gold sourced from the North Mara Gold Mine is free from serious human rights abuses.

    MiningWatch Canada has supported victims and families of victims in two of the three cases that are currently before the courts and supports all of the cases.

    Latest Press releases

    Forced Evictions at Barrick’s North Mara Gold Mine: MiningWatch Canada report details gross violations of human rights in Tanzania

    (Ottawa) December 12, 2023 | Today MiningWatch Canada releases a report describing gross violations of human rights at Barrick Gold’s North Mara Gold Mine in Tanzania. Thousands of Indigenous Kuria near the mine have been forcibly evicted from their lands to make room for the mine’s expansion. Most people were evicted in December 2022, with the remaining families losing their homes and lands in August and September of 2023.

    Read the full press release.

     

    Barrick Slapped with Third Lawsuit on Same Human Rights Abuses at Tanzanian Mine: ‘Business as Usual’?

    (Ottawa) November 23, 2022 | For the third time in under ten years, victims of ongoing police violence at Barrick Gold’s North Mara Gold Mine are seeking legal remedy – this time in Canada. Today, Vancouver-based law firm CFM filed suit in an Ontario court on behalf of Indigenous Kuria plaintiffs whose communities surround the mine’s pits and waste dumps. 

    Read the full press release.

     

    Latest report

    Evicted for Gold Profits

    MiningWatch’s latest report describes gross violations of human rights at Barrick Gold’s North Mara Gold Mine in Tanzania. Thousands of Indigenous Kuria near the mine have been forcibly evicted from their lands to make room for the mine’s expansion. Most people were evicted in December 2022, with the remaining families losing their homes and lands in August and September of 2023.

    Letters to Barrick

    January 27, 2023: MiningWatch to Barrick

    RE: Forced evictions and related human rights abuses ongoing at North Mara Gold Mine

    February 14, 2023: Barrick Response

    RE: Response to your letter

     

    MiningWatch Canada has conducted human rights field assessments in NorthMara since 2014 (with the exception of 2020 and 2021 during Covid). We have gathered information on and documented some 100 cases of excess use of force by private security and police contracted to provide security at the North Mara Gold Mine. The types of violence we have documented include: rape, severe beatings leading to life-altering injuries and death, and injuriesand deaths sustained through projectiles, such as teargas canisters, a sound bomb, rubber bullets or bean bag rounds, as well as live ammunition. We also research and report on forced evictions of Kuria around the North Mara Gold Mine.

    For more information, contact Catherine Coumans at catherine@miningwatch.ca.