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Barrick Gold hit by 5.8bn/- suit by small-scale miner

June 14th, 2009

A CIVIL suit in which a small-scale miner is demanding more than 6.5bn/- in damages from Barrick Gold Corp’s North Mara gold mine is set to come up before the High Court’s Land Division in Dar es Salaam next month.

In land case number 22 of 2009, plaintiff John Machera is asking the court to award him payment of 5.86bn/- from Barrick Gold as general damages per annum for loss of business after he was ordered by police to stop producing gold in his designated mining area in Tarime District, Mara Region.

Machera has sued the Inspector General of Police (IGP) as first defendant, the North Mara Gold Mine management (second defendant), and the Attorney General (third defendant).

Apart from the 5.86bn/- in general damages, he is also demanding 660m/- from the three defendants being specific damages for destruction of his properties.

According to details of the plaint, police on April 11 last year ’’went to the plaintiff’s mining area and smashed his stone crusher machine and took away the remaining parts of the said machine.’’

The plaint says the police were acting ’’on allegation that they had received complaints from the 2nd defendant (Barrick) that the plaintiff (Machera) was crushing stones from the 2nd defendant’s mining area.’’

’’This is despite the fact that the plaintiff is mining in his own area, outside the Nyamongo mine which is owned by the 2nd defendant,’’ it adds.

Machera holds mining licence number 0003455, issued on December 28, 2000 and later renewed in 2005 for another five years.

Police said they had conducted a special crackdown on crushers in Kerende Village, Tarime District who were suspected of processing gold ore stolen from the nearby Barrick mine.

In his legal battle against the government and Barrick Gold, Machera is represented by a Dar es Salaam-based law firm, Magesa & Company Advocates.

Barrick Gold has already filed a notice of preliminary objection against hearing of the case.

According to a written statement of defence filed on behalf of the mining firm by Leo Attorneys, the court has been asked to dismiss the suit on grounds that Machera has no cause of action against North Mara gold mine.

The case has landed in the High Court after the defendants failed to heed a September 2008 demand note from the plaintiff seeking payment of the damages.

Machera’s lawyers claim that various equipment belonging to their client at his mining site, including a rock crusher, were illegally destroyed by Tarime District police allegedly working under instructions of the North Mara Gold Mine management.


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