MAC: Mines and Communities

African Barrick Gold reports North Mara mine 'had a fantastic year' despite deaths

Published by MAC on 2014-02-14
Source: Statement, Mining.com (2014-02-12)

African Barrick Gold reports North Mara mine 'had a fantastic year' despite deaths

CEO of African Barrick Gold says gold mine at which multiple people have been killed and injured, '...had a fantastic year'

Leigh Day & Co. statement

12 February 2014

African Barrick Gold plc (ABG) today released its 2013 financial results, posting a US$781m (£475.3m) loss. Brad Gordon, ABG's chief executive officer announced the results, claiming that "North Mara had a fantastic year last year."

In releasing its financial results, the company made no mention of the multiple deaths and injuries to local villagers that have occurred over the past year, including 4 deaths at the mine in the past month alone.

Instead, ABG reported under a 'corporate responsibility' slogan that its North Mara mine had 'zero fatalities'.

According to Brad Gordon: "North Mara had a fantastic year last year. As far as I am concerned, North Mara is a great asset. You won't get many better assets than North Mara in Africa. We produced 256,000 ounces at North Mara at reasonable costs." At today's rates, 256,000 ounces of gold would fetch over US$331m (£201.4m).

ABG is being sued in the High Court of England for deaths and injuries of villagers at the North Mara mine between 2010 and 2012.

Leigh Day, acts for 11 Tanzanian villagers who issued proceedings against ABG and its 100% subsidiary, North Mara Gold Mine Limited (NMGML) in the UK High Court in 2013.

The claim alleges that the companies are liable for the deaths and injuries of local villagers, including the killing of at least six local villagers by police at the North Mara mine. The claimants allege that the companies negligently rely upon the police as an integral part of the mine's security despite Tanzanian police officers often using live ammunition against villagers. The companies deny the allegations.

In January 2014, two further incidents resulting in four more deaths were reported regarding a shooting on 18 January 2014 resulting in one death, and regarding three deaths on 7 January.

"It's sickening that a company that talks about respecting human rights can claim one of its mines had a ‘fantastic year' at the same time as people are regularly being killed and injured at the mine," said Leigh Day partner, Richard Meeran.
Background

ABG is majority-owned by the world's largest gold producer, Barrick Gold Corporation, which has faced allegations of extreme violence, including gang rape, at its mining operations in Papua New Guinea. Sexual assaults by police and employees at ABG's North Mara Mine in Tanzania have also surfaced.


African Barrick reports $781 million annual loss, despite output increase

Cecilia Jamasmie

Mining.com

12 February 2014

African Barrick Gold joined the long list of bullion producers affected by last year's falling prices. Delivering its preliminary results for 2013 Wednesday, the company announced it was slashing its gold reserves by almost a quarter, but said it expected a profitable year on the back of cost cuts and higher production.

Tanzania's largest gold miner posted an annual net loss of US$781 million caused by total impairment charges of $823 million, as the miner wrote down the value of some of its assets in light of lower gold prices. In 2012, African Barrick reported instead a profit of almost $63 million.

The miner, majority owned by Canada's Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE:ABX), said it aims to cut its benchmark operating costs by up to 19% in 2014 after a 14% reduction last year.

At the same time, the miner vowed to up production to between 650,000 and 690,000 ounces of gold this year, reducing cash costs to between $740 and $790 per ounce sold, and continuing to reduce all-in sustaining costs to $1,000 to $1,175 per ounce sold.

"2013 was a year of significant change within ABG (...) We identified over US$185 million of cost savings across the business ranging from reductions in capital spend, exploration, corporate overheads and organisational structures," said Chief Executive Brad Gordon, who took the top job in August last year.

North Mara lawsuit

In a statement, London law firm Leigh Day, complained that the company made no mention of the "multiple deaths and injuries" to local villagers that have occurred at the firm's North Mara mine, one of Tanzania's largest gold mines, over the past year. These allegedly include four deaths at the mine in the past month alone.

According to Gordon, North Mara had "a fantastic" year in 2013. "As far as I am concerned, North Mara is a great asset. You won't get many better assets than North Mara in Africa. We produced 256,000 ounces at North Mara at reasonable costs," he said in today's statement.

"It's sickening that a company that talks about respecting human rights can claim one of its mines had a ‘fantastic year' at the same time as people are regularly being killed and injured at the mine," said Richard Meeran, Leigh Day partner, who in July last year launched a lawsuit against African Barrick Gold and North Mara Gold Mine Limited as "accomplices in the killing of at least six local villagers by police."

African Barrick's shares, which have more than doubled in price since June, went up a further 2.4% to 245p in London today.

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