|Barrick Sues Book Publisher Over African Allegations|
by Joe Schneider, Bloomberg
April 30th, 2008
Barrick Gold Corp., the world's biggest gold producer, sued a Quebec publisher for C$6 million ($5.95 million) in damages over a book that claims the company was linked to crimes in Africa.
Les Editions Ecosociete Inc. last week released ``Noir Canada: Pillage, Corruption et Criminalite en Afrique,'' which translates to ``Black Canada: Plunder, Corruption and Crime in Africa.'' The book by Alan Deneault alleges abuses by Canadian mining, oil and drug companies.
Barrick, based in Toronto, is accused in the book of taking part in the 1996 removal of Tanzanian miners from the Bulyanhulu gold property. Barrick acquired the site three years later. Some miners were killed during the removal, according to the book, a claim Barrick denies.
The defendants ``have engaged in a carefully orchestrated and unlawful campaign of defamation,'' Barrick said in a complaint filed yesterday in Quebec Superior Court in Montreal. ``Barrick values highly its reputation for carrying on business in a proper, ethical and lawful manner.''
In addition to damages, Barrick seeks a court order to pull all copies of the book from circulation, remove the allegations from all Web sites and bar the defendants from repeating the claims.
Guy Cheyney, director at Ecosociete, declined to comment yesterday, saying he was unaware of the suit.
Barrick sued the U.K.'s Observer newspaper over similar allegations in a November 2000 article. The newspaper apologized and paid a ``substantial'' sum to Barrick, which donated the money to charity, company spokesman Vince Borg said today.
Barrick acquired Bulyanhulu, now Tanzania's biggest underground mine with 10.7 million ounces of gold reserves, when it bought Sutton Resources Inc. In addition to Africa, Barrick has operations in the U.S., Canada, South America and Australia.
In ``Noir Canada,'' Deneault also claims Barrick had dealings with a Ugandan arms trafficker and rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Barrick called the accusations ``patently false and defamatory.''
The case is Barrick Gold Corp. v. Les Editions Ecosociete Inc. File No. 500-17-042671-084. Quebec Superior Court (Montreal).