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UK mining co. Gemfields to face lawsuit over alleged human rights abuses at ruby mine in Mozambique; co. denies allegations

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16 April 2018

Fabergé owners face London High Court battle over alleged human rights abuses

Author: Matthew Renshaw, Leigh Day (UK)

Law firm Leigh Day has issued proceedings at the High Court in London against Gemfields Limited, a London-based mining company which owns Fabergé...In the legal claims, over 100 Mozambicans allege serious human rights abuses on or around the Montepuez Ruby Mine in Northern Mozambique which is owned by Gemfields Limited’s Mozambican subsidiary, in which it holds a 75% controlling stake.  The formal proceedings were served on Gemfields Limited in April 2018.  The Claimants allege that artisanal miners and members of the local communities surrounding the mine have suffered serious human rights abuses over many years at the hands of the security forces at the Gemfields’ mine in Mozambique...The claimants allege that they have been shot, beaten, subjected to humiliating treatment and sexual abuse, unlawfully detained, and/or forced to carry out menial labour.  Four Claimants are bringing claims on behalf of their sons who were allegedly shot dead by security forces on the Ruby Mine...In the legal claims, the Claimants allege that a team of expatriate private security consultants head up the security operation in Mozambique and direct and control the other security personnel on the mine...Many of these expatriates have military backgrounds and are supported by a private security contractor called Arkhê Risk Solutions (a subsidiary of the South African company, Omega Risk Solutions) and the Mine’s own security force which they call the Quick Response Team (QRT)...

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16 April 2018

Gemfields Faces Lawsuit Alleging Rights Abuses at Ruby Mine

Author: Matthew Hill, Bloomberg (USA)

More than 100 Mozambicans filed a case in London alleging “serious human rights abuses” at Gemfields Plc’s ruby mine in the southern African nation, according to their lawyers.  Leigh Day, the London-based law company, said its clients suffered abuses at the hands of security forces at the Montepuez Ruby Mine, where they were shot, beaten, humiliated, subjected to sexual abuse, unlawfully detained and forced to carry out menial labor.  The claimants include family members representing four people who were killed, the law firm in a statement Monday.  Gemfields said in a statement that it denounces any form of violence or abuse and that it would “vigorously defend” itself against the claim.

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13 February 2018

Gemfields reveals and denies fresh human rights abuse claims in Mozambique

Author: Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.com (Canada)

...[P]recious gemstones miner Gemfields is standing up to...allegations of human rights abuses at the company’s Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique...The company...revealed that human rights law firm Leigh Day had lodged a claim against the company and its Mozambican operating subsidiary, Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM).  The allegations, said the company, come from individuals living in or around the mine in northern Mozambique...Those claims range, it said, from death and mistreatment of artisanal or unlicensed miners on the property to taking land without due process, often in collusion with security forces in the form of police or military.  The legal action seeks to hold Gemfields liable for alleged police actions against illegal miners, as it was the company who called officers on to Montepuez...[L]ocals say they have been forced off their land; armed robberies and violence have soared as speculators have flocked to the area; and a growing number of small-scale miners have been beaten and shot...The...coloured gems miner...refutes such accusations.  “Gemfields and MRM take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and denounce any form of violence or abuse,” it said in a press statement...Gemfields acknowledged that instances of violence had occurred on and off the MRM licence area...It said those had often been between rival groups of artisanal miners and their handlers competing for control of territory, or involving security forces...However, where such incidents had occurred, including instances involving its own employees, MRM had taken appropriate steps, said Gemfields...

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