The Height of Hypocrisy – does it get any worse than this? Barrick Gold Chairman lays it on thick.

By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

John L. Thornton, Chairman of Barrick Gold, wrote this letter in the Barrick website. The link can be found below:

As we know, Barrick Gold owns about 64% of Acacia Mining, the biggest gold miner in Tanzania.

Thornton writes the most outrageous statements that can only be categorized as the Height of Hypocrisy… and the highest level of audacity.
It is clear that this letter is written in 100% misinformation and blurb exclusively for the investors and shareholders in Barrick who rely on the company website for the feedback and updates regarding their investments in Barrick shares!

That is exactly what Thornton’s letter is …. misinformation and blurb. There is no doubt that if the investors really knew how Barrick operated in and around their mines overseas, the investors would be shocked and probably disinvest without hesitation – exactly as so many institutions around the world disinvested, in petition and demonstration against Barrick’s unethical, immoral, vicious and illegal operating methods.

Let us look at Thornton’s blurb in his letter…
(His text is in capital letters and our comments follow):

AT BARRICK, WE FIND THAT COURAGE IN THE PURSUIT OF OUR CORE PURPOSE :
TO CREATE WEALTH NOT JUST FOR OUR OWNERS, BUT ALSO FOR OUR PEOPLE AND THE COMMUNITIES WITH WHICH WE WORK.

Barrick’s core purpose is to create wealth ?
Yes, we know this from the many millions of dollars in dividends that Barrick pays to its shareholders – yet, we also know that only in recent months (let us not look too far back) Barrick was found guilty of tax evasion and sophisticated tax fraud in Tanzania where Barrick’s daughter company, Acacia Mining, publishes financial reports that show no profits at all, but days later, they declare dividends in England amounting to many millions of US Dollars.

Furthermore, how is Barrick so focused on creating wealth when they even stoop to deception and deliberate misinformation to their investors and shareholders ?
Yes, deception….  As we saw a few months ago in the Courts in New York…. Barrick knew they were going to lose the investor law suit and they quickly agreed to pay out around US$ 140 million in damages to the investors and shareholders that they deceived. Is that the wealth that Thornton writes about here?

Finally… the wealth that Barrick creates for the communities in the mining areas?
What wealth?
**  They pay next to nothing for the mining lands.
**  They use, abuse, manipulate, exploit and mistreat the communities.
**  Their staff and contractors rape the women and beat the men viciously, violently and without compassion or understanding.
**  Their mines poison the rivers, destroy the crops, kill the cattle….
**  Should we go on?
It’s all on the internet…. millions of search links to verify these facts.

Thornton writes further…

THE MINING INDUSTRY IS A PERFECT CASE STUDY, BECAUSE MINING IS AT HEART A PARTNERSHIP BUSINESS. COMPANIES MUST RECEIVE AND MAINTAIN PERMISSION FROM NATIONAL, REGIONAL, AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS TO EXTRACT RESOURCES. THEY MUST RECRUIT, TRAIN, AND WORK WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITIES WHERE THEY OPERATE. THEY MUST SERVE THE BROADER SOCIETAL NEEDS OF THOSE COMMUNITIES, INCLUDING THE HEALTH AND EDUCATION OF THEIR WORKERS’ FAMILIES. THEY MUST ENSURE THE LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY OF NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS. THEY MUST LEAVE BEHIND AN ENDURING CONTRIBUTION. THE SITUATION COULD NOT BE FARTHER FROM ZERO-SUM, PARTICULARLY WHEN ONE CONSIDERS THAT EVERY ONE OF THESE RELATIONSHIPS IS A SHARED ENTERPRISE THAT LASTS DECADES. FOR A MINING CONCERN, THE INTERESTS OF ONE’S PARTNERS JUST ARE ONE’S OWN INTERESTS. IN MINING THERE IS ONLY “US.”

Are we talking the same language?
>> serve the broader societal needs of those communities ??

>> health and education of their workers’ families??
>> ensure the long-term sustainability of natural ecosystems??
>> leave behind an enduring contribution??
>> in mining there is only “us.”
Where does Thornton live?
Does he have any idea at all that NONE of what he writes actually exists?
Can it be that he, the chairman of the biggest gold mining company in the world, is totally disconnected from the reality of his company?
What is this blurb that he is writing here?

And he goes on with….

…….. HERE IS OUR VISION FOR THE COMPANY GOING FORWARD.
WE START WITH ONE IMMUTABLE TRUTH—EVERYTHING WE DO IS FOCUSED ON ONE GOAL :   CREATING VALUE PER SHARE FOR OUR OWNERS, AS MEASURED BY CASH FLOW PER SHARE.

Now the truth is out in black and white, from the mouth of the Chairman of Barrick Gold:
Their focus is on ONE GOAL and one goal only …. That is to make money for their owners (investors and shareholders).

Now we understand why Barrick Gold is known as one of the most unethical, corrupt, immoral and dishonourable companies in the world.
When the push comes, the focus is on ONE GOAL only and nothing else matters –
**  NOT the broader societal needs of those communities,
**  NOT the health and education of workers’ families,
**  NOT to ensure the long-term sustainability of natural ecosystems,
**  NOT leaving behind an enduring contribution,
**  NOT there is only “us” …… because, in fact, there is NO “us”….
there is ONLY the mighty Dollar and anything that will eat away at Barrick’s ONE GOAL, the mighty Dollar, will be cast aside, thrown away, even killed!

In November 2014, Barrick Gold “gave birth” to Acacia Mining. The apple does not fall far from the tree. The Height of Hypocrisy was passed from mother to daughter.

Over the past year, Acacia Mining has been dropping lower and lower in the eyes and opinions of the Tanzanian Nation – equally so in the Parliament and up to the President. The scandals that Kelvin Dushnisky, Chairman of Acacia, and Brad Gordon, CEO of Acacia, have allowed to fester and grow, are simply beyond note and hard to comprehend.

Where will this all end?
Can they be so short-sighted as to see that their ONE GOAL, the mighty Dollar, is NOT the way forward and will NOT solve all their many problems in Tanzania and elsewhere in the world?

How obvious is it to see that Kelvin Dushnisky and Brad Gordon need to go and a new broom must be brought in to clean up the mess?

As regards Chairman Thornton and his break with reality – let’s agree that he needs a long, extended vacation!

http://www.barrick.com/investors/annual-report/chairman/default.aspx

 

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