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 an Ontario court by the Vancouver-based law firm CFM.
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, 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 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 Tz Limited by the firm Hugh James. MiningWatch Canada assisted members of that group of victims and continues to support the lawsuit, which is ongoing. 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 is being sued in its home country Canada for alleged human rights abuses that have taken place over the past three years since Barrick has had direct management control of the mine: 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.
MiningWatch Canada has conducted seven human rights field assessments in North Mara since 2014. The most recent in September of 2022. 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 injuries and deaths sustained through projectiles, such as teargas canisters, a sound bomb, rubber bullets or bean bag rounds, as well as live ammunition.