|Economic Displacement + Water Depletion + Long-Term Pollution ≠ Sustainable Development|
fact sheet distributed at PDAC conference – March 5, 2013
Think that Barrick is the model of sustainable development? Consider this:
• Barrick mines* economically displaced thousands of alluvial miners at their Porgera Mine in Papua New Guinea and 40,000 small scale miners at their North Mara mine in Tanzania. At both mine sites, locals are shot, killed and abused with regularity for “trespassing” on mine property looking for traces of gold. Two locals, a man and a woman, were just reported dead this Saturday, March 2, after approximately 4,000 people raided Barrick’s North Mara mine, a regular occurrence.
• Barrick uses billions of litres of water in arid regions in Australia and Nevada. At just four of their mines in Kalgoorilie, Western Australia, Lake Cowal, New South Wales, and North-central Nevada, Barrick uses an average of 5.98 billion litres of water a year.
• At their Porgera Mine in Papua New Guinea, Barrick dumps mine waste directly into the river system, a practice banned in every other country in the world.
• At their North Mara mine in Tanzania, Barrick was ordered to close a pit refuse facility at North Mara due to toxic leakages that are contaminating local water sources. National Environment Management Council (NEMC) officials found that lethal waste water from Barrick’s tailings storage unit was slowly seeping into the ground.
• In 2007, Barrick simultaneously fired over 1,000 workers at their Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania, after it alleged that the workers engaged in an illegal strike by walking off their jobs for one day. Those workers are still seeking justice in the courts.
Can self-reporting be trusted?
• In 2009, a toxic spill at Barrick’s North Mara mine left many people and livestock dead. News reports from Thisday sited 20 people and 150 cows dead, while Dow Jones one week later repeated local reports that the deaths had climbed to 30 people and 300 cattle dead. Ward authorities eventually reported that “203 people became ill, 43 people died, and 1358 livestock died.” Meanwhile, Barrick reported only 4 Chemically-related Wildlife Mortalities for all of 2009 at their North Mara site.
• Last month, the U.S. EPA found that three subsidiaries of Barrick Gold Corp. failed to correctly report toxic chemical releases and waste management activities at the company’s Cortez, Ruby Hill and Bald Mountain mines in Northern Nevada between 2005 and 2008, fining the company $278,000.
* Barrick was not the owner of the North Mara mine or the Porgera mine at the time that these mines were constructed. However, they are still responsible for the economic displacement caused by their mines and must deal with these issues ethically, with consideration of each mine site's historical context.