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13 Jul 2020

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian

RAID urges LBMA to suspend MMTC-PAMP for not full investigating allegations of human rights violations at a mine

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"Gold trade body urged to suspend refinery over alleged abuses in Tanzania"

A corporate watchdog is calling for the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) to suspend the membership of one of the world’s biggest gold refineries for its alleged failure to act over claims of human rights and environmental abuses at a mine in Tanzania. The UK-based Raid group says the Swiss-Indian venture MMTC-PAMP, which supplies gold to Apple, Nokia, Disney, Amazon, Tesla and others, has not fully investigated claims police guarding the North Mara mine have beaten, shot and sometimes killed locals...

In an executive summary issued in May, O’Keefe, a director of Synergy, wrote that he had reviewed sites inside the mine and in neighbouring areas and spoken to a variety of stakeholders, including local community representatives. Following the trip, the summary said, there was also an interview with an international NGO. But there was no evaluation of historical claims of wrongdoing. Instead the summary said the focus of the assessment was to look forwards rather than backwards because a new management team had been put in place at the mine...

MMTC-PAMP said in a statement to the Guardian that it categorically denied all the allegations about the assessment made by Raid. It said Synergy organised private interviews with key external stakeholders, including numerous local community representatives, during its onsite visit to North Mara gold mine and interviewed Raid staff members, including Van Woudenberg. “MMTC-PAMP has always operated and continues to operate under the regulatory framework established and managed by the LBMA. Consequently, any allegations will be handled appropriately by the LBMA as part of its regular oversight role,” it said.

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