Tanzania: MiningWatch Canada on alleged shortcomings of Barrick Gold's subsidiary's new operational-level grievance mechanism; company responds

MiningWatch Canada has issued a brief documenting alleged shortcomings of Barrick Gold's new operational-level grievance mechanism. These include lack of capacity of grievants due to low literacy levels and poverty, lack of understanding of the grievance mechanism and dissatisfaction with the remedy offered. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre invited Acacia Mining (Barrick Gold's subsidiary) to respond. Acacia Mining denies the allegations and says its grievance mechanism goes beyond the scope of   typical company-based grievance process (full response provided).

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Company response
18 September 2018

Acacia Mining's response

Author: Acacia Mining

"Response to a September 2018 MiningWatch Canada Brief entitled “Inequality of Arms” regarding the Community Grievance Process at the North Mara Gold Mine, Tanzania”

...Like many companies, the Mine operates a community grievance process as part of its commitment to corporate social responsibility and respect for human rights.  The Mine’s CGP provides members of its local communities a pathway for raising and seeking redress for minor and major issues which they attribute to the Mine, ranging from dust to livelihoods.  However, the Mine also has chosen to extend the scope of its CGP beyond that of the typical company-based grievance process.   Specifically, the Mine has chosen voluntarily to permit its CGP to receive and consider, in a non-judicial and non-legal way, grievances from its community members regarding the conduct of the Tanzanian State police when engaging in law and order enforcement activities in relation to or, in case of emergencies, on the property of the Mine.

The Mine is following the efforts to establish in Tanzania a State-based oversight body to monitor and ensure accountability of the State’s police force.  For now, however, the Mine’s CGP provides an additional, effective and direct means of access to possible remedies for alleged human rights violations by the State police when trying to control or prevent the dangerous practice of illegal trespassing on the Mine site to steal gold bearing material.  Removing this additional avenue, and leaving genuine victims to seek legal remedies and accountability for the alleged apprehension practices of their own State police force through the United Kingdom’s courts – as MWC apparently would prefer the Mine to do – simply cannot be a better option for members of the Mine’s communities, a sustainable way ahead for Tanzania or in keeping with the Mine’s corporate social responsibilities.

The Mine has invested heavily in seeking to ensure that its voluntary and private CGP is up to the significant challenge of providing an access to remedy for those who claim to have had their human rights violated by police while they themselves were engaging in illegal activities.  The Mine is committed to operating a process that meets the criteria for effective company-led grievance processes set out in United Nations Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights (“UNGPs”) 31.

Download the full document here

Report
18 September 2018

MiningWatch Canada's brief on alleged shortcomings of Barrick Gold's operational-level grievance mechanism

Author: MiningWatch Canada

"Inequality of Arms:  A summary of concerns raised by victims of violence by private and public mine security at Barrick Gold’s North Mara Gold Mine in Tanzania regarding the mine’s new Operation-level Grievance Mechanism"

This brief summarizes disturbing issues that arose in interviews conducted by MiningWatch Canada in August 2018 with male Kuria villagers who are victims of excess use of force by mine security1 and are now participants, at various stages, in the North Mara Gold Mine’s (also “the mine”) new Operation-level Grievance Mechanism (OGM). This brief also provides initial findings based on MiningWatch’s review of some “Case Summaries” and “Remediation Plans” prepared by the mine’s Community Impacts & Remediation Investigation Team (CIRIT) in regard to the victims that were interviewed. Also included are insights from a member of the mine’s Grievance Committee and responses to some of the issues we raise here from the mine’s Section Leader for CIRIT as provided in a meeting with MiningWatch on August 17, 2018...

Concerns that arose about the new Operation-level Grievance Mechanism in MiningWatch’s interviews with victims of mining-related human rights abuses include: 1. Lack of capacity of grievants [include;] lack of capacity of grievants...lack of understanding of the full process and their rights therein by grievants...[and] grievants dissatisfaction with the remedy offered. 

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