Tanzania President to Mining Companies: The Robbery must stop!

By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

President Dr. John P Magufuli openly stated in a news conference at State House in Dar es Salaam, that mining companies must make greater contributions to Tanzania.

Tanzania has a lot of minerals, but there have been a lot of funny deals ….. we have to look carefully at our laws so that we move forward as a country,” said the President.

Tanzania is the fourth-largest gold producer in Africa and also has vast deposits of natural gas, diamonds, uranium, coal and precious and semi-precious gemstones.
This message is not news to mining companies in Tanzania, such as Acacia Mining, who are the largest gold miners in the country. In fact, President Magufuli is consistent in his drive and efforts to wipe out corruption, fraud, tax evasion and mismanagement in Tanzania.

Dr. Magufuli added that his government had recently introduced new mining laws that specifically focus at ensuring all the financial benefits within the mining sector are shared evenly, fairly and according to the law between the multinational mining companies and the country.

Furthermore, the President focused on the lack of transparency and disclosure of the mining companies. He said that some of the gold mines even have private airstrips and he was forthright about the lack of possibility for the authorities to monitor what the mining companies planes are transporting from the gold mines, out of Tanzania and, he said openly, that the robbery in our country must stop.

Dr. Magufuli also addressed the issue of the export of mineral sand from Tanzania and his demand for the need of building gold smelting works within the country. This is also consistent with the President’s speech in August this year in which he imposed a ban on the export of mineral sands due to irregularities of the mining companies.

Earlier this year in May, sources within Acacia Mining leaked reports to the media and to the Tanzania authorities, that allegedly indicated how Acacia Mining were involved in fraudulent gold exports and price transferring. These reports address elements such as the correlation of Acacia Mining’s export royalty taxes to the total weight of gold exported which leads to the losses of taxes incurred by the State.

In addition, the leaked documents address Acacia’s assaying process, an essential component in determining the quantity of gold in a mineral deposit. Details are given in the documents regarding the manner of purifying and the % of gold purity declared at the time of export, including differing of values and percentages of copper and gold in the mining sand.  All this leads to paying less export royalties and further losses of taxes to Tanzania.

With all of the above reports in the hands of the authorities, coupled with the guilty verdict in March 2016 of Barrick Gold – Acacia Mining for tax evasion, and their alleged corruption scandal involving one or more officials in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals in the case of Bismark Hotel (Mining) Ltd, it is no wonder there is such attention and focus by the authorities on Acacia Mining and in turn, on all the mining sector.

Barrick Gold of Canada, majority owners of Acacia Mining, have desperately been trying to sell their 63.9% holdings in Acacia, but there are no buyers. Analysts overseas are saying that despite Acacia’s good performance, there are too many problems, legal cases and complications with the authorities, surrounding Acacia in Tanzania.

To make matters worse for Barrick’s prospective buyers, last year on 17 November, there were media reports about Barrick – Acacia terminating their alliance with Bismark Hotel Mining on other joint venture mining lands in Siga Hills, also known as Golden Ridge. The report described a letter sent to Bismark to hand over the Siga Hills permits back to Bismark for free.  The local artisanal miners on these same lands are reporting major conflicts between Barrick-Acacia and Bismark regarding Siga Hills. If reports being received are true, there is allegedly a new law suit brewing from Bismark against Acacia Mining that will involve hundreds of millions of US Dollars. Certainly not the news that any company wants to hear – whether the company owners or the prospective buyers!

President Dr. J.P. Magufuli, Tanzania
Prime Minister J. Trudeau, Canada
Prime Minister T. May, England
Tanzania Government Officials
Canadian Government Officials
British Government Officials
Uganda Government Officials
Kenya Government Officials
Media contacts and journalists worldwide



By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

Another strongly worded and direct message on Thursday, October 6, 2016 from President Dr JP Magufuli at a public inauguration ceremony of a new fruit processing factory in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

In his public statement, the President said:  “I like businesses that pay tax and hate those which don’t. I like businesspeople who create jobs for Tanzanians….  We seriously need the businesspeople of your kind and my government will cooperate with you. You created employment, paid taxes and anyone who is against you is a devil….” said the President.

In July 2016, the FT reported online that President Magufuli questioned the deals struck with foreign miners, and actually singled out London-listed Acacia Mining, formerly African Barrick Gold, arguing that companies have been allowed to declare years of losses while paying dividends overseas.  Only a few months earlier, on March 31, 2016, a Revenue Authority Tribunal found Barrick Gold guilty of a sophisticated scheme of tax evasion.  In fact, Barrick appealed that guilty verdict and last week, the Court of Appeal gave their Judgment – and again (not surprising), Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining find themselves facing the Court’s decision of GUILTY, again, of tax evasion.

In parallel to the above tax evasion judgments and the President publicly voicing his “hate” for companies who don’t pay tax, there is also the Barrick Gold public corruption and fraud scandal that was exposed by Bloomberg media in July 2015.

How does one understand this astonishing, zero-accountability strategy of Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining?

Jonathan Drimmer is Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Barrick Gold.  His online profiles states that Mr. Drimmer’s has multiple responsibilities, such as:
>  to oversee the company’s anti-corruption and business and human rights programs; 
>  overseeing entity level disputes, including litigation, international arbitrations, and mediations;
>  helping oversee international regulatory and compliance programs, focusing particularly on anti-corruption and human rights,
>  overseeing internal and external investigations, including global corporate investigations group, encompassing a variety of issues from around the world;
>  involvement in contract negotiations, corporate governance, securities disclosure matters, legislative efforts, employment and labor issues, and M&A due diligence.

We must publically ask Mr. Drimmer:
Since you joined Barrick Gold some 6 years ago, long before Acacia Mining was even born, where were you when you had to fulfill these responsibilities here in Tanzania? 
The answer runs much deeper and therein, we must present here more research.

Let us understand the roots and beginnings of Barrick Gold and Peter Munk. 
Google research tells us that Barrick Gold was the idea of Peter Munk, a former radio manufacturer.  Mr. Munk made headlines in Canada when he sold his shares in the company shortly before it was declared insolvent.  Talk about a “golden parachute” paid for by investors and the Canadian taxpayer?
Mr. Munk’s name was instantly mud in the investment community, but fortunately for him, no indictment was ever brought against him.  Surprised?

Enter into the picture, the Saudi Arabian notorious arms dealer, Mr. Adnan Khashoggi.  There is no shortage of scandals – illegal, financial, sexual, ethical and others, surrounding this Saudi man.
>  Mr. Khashoggi was held for illegal dealings involving millions of dollars allegedly stolen from the Philippines government by former President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda.
>  He negotiated the arms sales to Iran in the Iran-Contra affair
>  He was arrested for money laundering of US$ 300 million, using an Indian citizen, through the Zurich branch of Swiss bank, UBS.  The case goes back to 1982.
>  The UK Daily Mail revealed in April 1989, that Khashoggi was the man behind Pamella Bordes, the girl involved House of Commons sex scandal, who obtained a job there, was given security clearance as a researcher while working as a call girl.  Much of her activity was masterminded from abroad.  She was used as a sexual bribe to facilitate international dealings by Khashoggi.
>  He was eventually brought to justice by the ever-vigilant SEC in the USA.
(As a matter of interest, Khashoggi’s sister, Samira, was the mother of Dodi Fayed, who was killed with Princess Diana in Paris, in 1997.)

Peter Munk chose Mr. Khashoggi as a partner to finance the start of Barrick Gold. Clearly, Mr. Munk had no ethical or other considerations of integrity in choosing such a partner to finance his business plans.   Khashoggi and Munk kicked off their partnership with a series of hotel investments.   In 1983, the Saudi arms dealer came up with the cash to purchase Barrick. Peter Munk was installed as chairman.

Mr. Khashoggi distanced himself from Barrick shortly after the Iran-Contra scandal was exposed in the mid-1980’s.   The scandal involved the secret sale of USA weapons to Iran (which was supposed to help in the release of U.S. hostages in the Middle East).  Some of the proceeds from these sales were used to covertly fund the Contra war in Nicaragua.

Even though Mr. Khashoggi  removed himself from the Barrick Gold picture,  he still held onto his stock, tied up as collateral for Oliver North’s arms transfers to Iran in 1985).    His Triad Holding Company went bankrupt after he was indicted for using it to channel money for the Iran-Contra deal.   Fortunately,  Mr. Khashoggi made his $4 million bail thanks to his friend, Peter Munk,  the Chairman of Barrick Gold.  Barrick Gold, which was founded by Khashoggi in the first place, is also deep into illegal government activity. 

Adnan Khashoggi is connected to numerous shocking events that occurred since 1960, usually by no more than one or two degrees.   A partial list would include Iran-Contra, Wedtech,  BCCI,  the Marcos Philippine kleptocracy,  the Synfuels fiasco, and the discovery of buried mustard gas in the pricy Spring Valley neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
To these we must add the tragic events of Sept. 11 and a connection to Osama Bin Laden!!

There is so much more – one could write a best seller book, all based on fact!  But let us get back to the ethics and integrity of Peter Munk and Barrick Gold.
In 1995, Mr. Munk’s took steps to restore his reputation, at least in his own mind, in part by massive donations to the University of Toronto. 
Following this act of philanthropy, the university awarded Mr. Munk an honorary degree.  Several students were arrested protesting what appeared to them as a cash-for-honors deal.
Thus began Peter Munk’s “pay cash to buy honors” career.

We already researched and reported on Barrick Chairman, John Thornton – see the online article: The Height of Hypocrisy – Does It Get Any Worse Than This? Barrick Gold Chairman Lays It On Thick.
In addition, we reported online on the Fraud and Corruption sponsored by Mr. Kelvin Dushnisky – President of Barrick Gold & Chairman of Acacia Mining.

Furthermore, we reported online on the CEO of Acacia Mining, Mr. Brad Gordon and we listed some of the situations that Mr. Gordon was part of which paints a very clear picture of the integrity and morals (or lack thereof) in his responsibilities and functions as CEO of the companies in which he has worked over the past 10 years.

It is definitely an eye opener, and very distressing how the Acacia Mining “TRIO” of Brad Gordon, Peter Spora and Deo Mwanyika work together against Tanzania and the People of our country.
And now, we see that Jonathan Drimmer, Barrick Gold Vice President, based out of Washington in the USA, follows closely in the footsteps of his bosses at Barrick.

Here is a man who, according to online profiles, is :
>  teaches business and human rights law at Georgetown University Law Center.
>  on the Board of Directors of Trace International, a non-profit dedicated to anti-corruption compliance
>  on the American Conference Institute’s Global Advisory Board for anti-corruption
>  representative of Barrick on UN Global Compact steering committees and working groups for human rights, security, and supply chains.
>  recognized by Ethisphere Magazine as a leading attorney in Ethics & Compliance
>  named by The Law 500 as one of the 100 most influential in-house counsels.
And the list goes on and on…

So we ask Mr. Drimmer:
How does he feel working in a company that was built on dirty money – certainly unethical money?
How does Mr. Drimmer justify working in a company that has roots and funding from a man who is linked to 9/11 and Osama Bin laden? 
How does Mr. Drimmer feel knowing that his anti-corruption responsibilities are twisted and concocted by Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining officials in different countries around the world?

Even worse, Mr. Drimmer dares to state openly on public record:  “Together with my colleagues, I plan to continue developing Barrick’s human rights program to ensure the company fulfills its commitment to respect and elevate human rights wherever it operates. These are ideals that I am passionate about and that continue to be the focus of my career.

Does this law lecturer, this Professor at law understand how false and dishonest it is to declare such words in public when he knows all too well how terrible, shocking and soul-destroying his company operates in the sphere of human-rights and anti-corruption?  We will still address the other elements below…..  The worst is still to come…..

Google research points to an investigative journalist, Greg Palast, who wrote articles and a book called “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”. 
In November 2000, Mr. Palast wrote an article in the The London Observer, called: Bush family finances: Best democracy money can buy.
Here are some excerpts from his investigation article and associated websites:
>  During George W. Bush’s presidency, Khashoggi was identified as conduit in the Iran-Contra conspiracy.   As his last act in office, the president pardoned Khashoggi’s alleged co-conspirators, key members of Bush’s own cabinet – the co-conspirators who helped Khashoggi arm the “Axis of Evil” (in 2002, Bush’s son who was President then, referred to Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the “Axis of Evil”).  This pardon made charges against the sheik (Khashoggi ) all but impossible. (Bush pardoned the conspirators not as a favor to Khashoggi, but to himself.)
>   In 1992, in the final hours of the Bush presidency, Barrick took control of US government-owned property containing an estimated $10bn in gold.  For the whole shooting match, Barrick paid the US Treasury only $10,000.  According to experts at the Mineral Policy Center of Washington, DC, Barrick saved—and the U.S. taxpayer lost—a cool billion or so. Upon taking office, Bill Clinton’s new interior secretary, Bruce Babbitt, called Barrick’s claim the “biggest gold heist since the days of Butch Cassidy.”
>   In 1992, Clinton’s newly elected administration was ready to prevent Barrick’s stunning grab. But Barrick is a lucky outfit. Bush’s Interior Department expedited procedures to ram through Barrick’s claim stake before Clinton’s inauguration.  Clinton had no choice but to give them the gold mine while the public got the shaft.
>   Ex-Pres George Bush was lucky, too. When the electorate booted him from the White House, he landed softly – on the Barrick Goldstrike payroll, where he comfortably nested until last year (1999).
>   In 1995, Barrick hired the former president as Honorary Senior Advisor to the Toronto company’s International Advisory Board. Bush joined at the suggestion of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, who, like Bush, had been ignominiously booted from office. I was a bit surprised that the president had signed on. When Bush was voted out of the White House, he vowed never to lobby or join a corporate board. The chairman of Barrick openly boasts that granting the title “Senior Advisor” was a sly maneuver to help Bush tiptoe around this promise.
>   In September 1996, Bush wrote a letter to help convince Indonesian dictator Suharto to give Barrick a new, hot gold-mining concession.  Bush’s letter seemed to do the trick. Suharto took away 68 percent of the world’s largest goldfield from the finder of the ore and handed it to Barrick.
>   Mobutu Sese Seko, the late dictator of the Congo (Zaire), was one of the undisputed master criminals of the last century having looted hundreds of millions of dollars from his national treasury— and a golfing buddy of the senior Bush. That old link from the links probably did not hurt Barrick in successfully seeking an eighty-thousand-acre gold-mining concession from the Congolese cutthroat.
Rebellion against Mobutu made the mine site unusable, though not for the company’s lack of trying. In testimony in hearings convened by the minority leader of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights, expert Wayne Madsen alleged that Barrick, to curry favor with both sides, indirectly funded both and thereby inadvertently helped continue the bloody conflict.
>   In 1997, Mother Jones (American magazine reporting on politics, the environment, human rights, and culture) named Barrick’s chairman Munk one of America’s “10 Little Piggies”—quite an honor for a Canadian—for allegedly poisoning the West’s water supply with the tons of cyanide Barrick uses to melt mountains of ore.
There is so much more but we must move on…

So we repeat our questions to Prof. Jonathan Drimmer, Vice President of Barrick Gold and in-house specialist for human rights, compliance, ethics, etc and of course, the specialist against corruption etc:
Are you satisfied to be employed by those Barrick people? 
Is this company and the foundations upon which it was built and stands today, acceptable to you and in conformity with your integrity and morals?
Can you honestly teach and lecture to your students how you, their Professor, can work for a company as described above… or even if the above is partly accurate…  can you teach students about “partly ethics” or “partly integrity”?

In the June 2016 Canadian General Counsel Awards (CGCA), Barrick Gold was awarded the “Social Responsibility Award“.  Prof. Drimmer and Mr. Rich Haddock received the award on behalf of Barrick Gold.

It’s amazing that Prof. Drimmer was quoted, at the award celebrations, saying publically:  “I came to Barrick because of the company’s commitment to enhance its existing program”.

The only “program” that we see from your global operations is violence, rape, murder, destruction of villages and property around your mines, environmental devastation, poisoned water, and more….

Are you so impressed with the “existing program” that you can condone the firing of senior engineer Raman Autar in 2014 because Barrick Gold needed to “escape publication” of critical health, safety and environmental violations he found at the Veladero mine, one of the world’s largest gold mines.
Raman raised serious safety concerns about the mining operation responsible for the contamination – linked to a valve failure and open sluice gate — and Barrick Gold dumped more than one million litres of the cyanide solution into five rivers in Argentina’s San Juan province.

Prof. Drimmer…. Will you stand up in front of your law students and lecture to them that the above conforms to your standards of “human rights” ?
Or perhaps it agrees with your ethics and compliance standards? 
Or perhaps you would stand up at one of your many law conferences and give a speech how you condone this disgusting and unfair treatment of Raman Autar?

Like your Chairman, and President and CEO and others ..… Prof. Drimmer, your standards are a farce, a mockery to human rights, an embarrassment to ethics, a disgrace to anti-corruption and a sham to compliance and integrity.
You, Sir, have no right to lecture or teach to the professionals of tomorrow.
God help us if they go out into the world with your teachings as their basis!

There are media reports that your company is closing down Buzwagi Gold Mine in Tanzania in December 2017 as production has fallen.  If this happens, we will be truly saddened for more than 1,300 people will lose jobs and Kahama District Council will miss Sh1.7 billion it has been getting every year as a service levy.

On the flipside of the coin, we are inspired by our President’s attitude as regards overseas mining companies who do not pay their taxes in Tanzania.  Only a few months ago at the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), our President publically stated that apart from proper collection of government revenue, the President instructed the Treasury to put measures in place that would ensure that the revenue assurance system was working. Our President also asked senior officials to ensure that they supervise tax collection in mining companies as well as ensuring that they seal loop holes for tax evasion.

The President said, “There have been instances where a mining company operates in the country for 10 years but still its officials are telling you that they don’t make any profit … if that is the case, they better go back to their countries

Furthermore, he sent this clear message to mining companies:
“It is better for us Tanzanian’s to remain with our precious gems under our grounds for even 1,000 years than to let overseas mining companies take our precious gems and NOT pay taxes and fairly and honestly.  It is not a sin to leave our precious gem mining pits for the next generations to work on and benefit from fair and correct taxes and royalties.”

The President’s focus on Barrick Gold and it’s daughter company, Acacia Mining, in which Barrick owns and controls 63.9%) is no shock to the global mining sector.

Tanzanians still talk about the 1997 massacre at Bulyanhulu mine in the Shinyanga district.  We all mourn the 50+ artisanal gold miners whom, our villagers witnessed, were bulldozed and buried (maybe alive).
If only President Magufuli would have been in office on that terrible day in 1997, certainly one of the blackest days in the history of Tanzanian human rights.  And the accountability, Prof. Drimmer?  Perhaps this massacre would be a good subject matter for one of your semesters?  

Prof. Drimmer, next month, on November 2, you will be a key note speaker at the 2016 annual BSR conference.

If only we could arrange to have you on live TV or Skype online for all Tanzanians to hear your speech.
You have the opportunity to make things right but history repeats itself and your non-accountable bosses will fire you on the spot if you try introduce change to Barrick Gold – just as they did to the senior engineer, Raman Autar.
The decision is.. do I take the money and be quiet or do I stand up tall (like Raman Autar) and sleep peacefully at night?

Your online profile states that you are “passionate” about your ideals of anti-corruption, human rights, ethics and compliance.  There are tens of millions of people around the world who are influenced, in one way or another, by Barrick Gold.  Does Prof. Drimmer have the wherewithal to be THE ONE who can deliver on his ideals to make the world a better place?

Finally, we remind our readers of Prof. Drimmer’s online interview with Nick Elliot from the Wall Street Journal.
One of Nick’s many questions to Prof. Drimmer, was:

There has been keen competition for mining assets around the world, sometimes involving unscrupulous companies that will pay bribes. How do you deal with that and what do you do if you think you lost out on a project because of corruption?

Prof. Drimmer replied:
Barrick strives to operate according to the highest ethical standards, wherever we do business.  We support enforcement of anti-corruption laws to ensure there is a level playing field, and hope that Western governments will increase their efforts on the “demand” side of bribery, working with foreign governments and foreign government officials.

In fact, Prof. Drimmer, Barrick Gold was built on the exact opposite of what you answered.
We already established that Chairman John Thornton and President Kelvin Dushnisky and CEO Brad Gordon could not care less about anything other than making more Dollars.  Barrick has failed over and over around the world to follow the ideals in your above answer to Nick. 
In Tanzania, Barrick Gold has been lambasted publically in Parliament and exposed in the media for corruption, fraud, human rights offenses, dishonest dealings with local companies, and so much more.

Tanzanians are waiting to see if Professor Jonathan Drimmer can rise up tall and deliver on his ideals – for Tanzania in particular and the rest of the world, in general.
Copies to:
President Dr. J.P. Magufuli
Tanzania Government officials
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Canadian Government officials
Prime Minister Theresa may
British Government officials
Barrick Gold Directors & Management
Acacia Mining Directors & Management
Journalists & Social Media worldwide
BSR Conference and all 2016 speakers
U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations
Office of the U.S. Solicitor General
Georgetown University Law Center.
Trace International
American Conference Institute’s Global Advisory Board for anti-corruption
UN Global Compact Network
Ethisphere Magazine
The Law Firm 500


By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics



Mr. Kelvin Dushnisky and Mr. Brad Gordon.

Copies to:
Board members of Barrick & Acacia;
President Dr, JP Magufuli;
Chief Secretary, Amb. JWH Kijazi;
Minister Sospeter Muhongo;
Other Tanzania Ministers;
Journalists worldwide.

Dear Mr. Kelvin Dushnisky and Mr. Brad Gordon

Only days ago, we shared with the public, a report from Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail in Toronto).  The heading of the report was POLICE KILLED 65, INJURED 270 AT BARRICK MINE IN TANZANIA.

 A Tanzanian Government inquiry heard official complaints and evidence by our local Tanzania community representatives that police have killed 65 people and injured 270 during years of sporadic clashes with villagers at Barrick Gold – Acacia Mining owned North Mara gold mine.

These details of the fatalities, injuries, human rights crimes and more and  is the first official estimate of the scale of reported violence at Barrick Gold’s North Mara gold mine, operated by Barrick’s daugher company,  Acacia Mining – otherwise known as African Barrick Gold.

The timing of this report from the Tanzanian Government inquiry might well have come at a very difficult time for the Acacia Mining management since within a matter of less than a week at the beginning of last month (September),  the number one man at North Mara mine, Mr. Gary Chapman, left the company and took a position with another mining company in Ghana.  Even more mysterious was the sudden disappearance of the number one Legal Counsel, Ms. Katrina White, who was based at Acacia Mining in London but was very well known as a regular visitor in Dar es Salaam and also a Director of the North Mara mine.

Acacia Mining made a weak attempt to respond to the Globe and Mail report in the Acacia website.  In fact, Acacia’s response gives rise to more questions than it gives answers regarding the human rights violations at the North Mara mine in Tanzania.

Barrick Gold also published a response in the Barrick website to the same Globe and Mail report that “Police killed 65, injured 270 at Barrick mine in Tanzania“.

MiningWatch in Canada and RAID in the UK, together, point out that the Barrick Gold wrote in their response that they confirm and are aware of the violence at their Tanzanian North Mara mine – Barrick wrote:  ‘there have been confrontations with police resulting in deaths’.   We question Barrick’s “oh well” attitude and challenge them to take a more active and committed role since they are the majority and controlling shareholder in this Acacia Mining gold mine.

More hurtful and damaging is that Acacia Mining’s attitude appears to write-off these terrible human right’s crimes at the North Mara mine to history – another “oh well, what’s past is past”.

In fact, both Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining should take huge steps, without financial limitations, to stand up tall in a brave way suited to the image of the world’s largest gold mining company, and answer for the recent human rights violations at their North Mara mine.

We wonder if Acacia are taking steps to clean up their house by ridding themselves of Gary Chapman and Katrina White?

Best regards

Samantha Cole

Towns near Barrick Gold mine demand US$ 28.3 million agreed share

By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

Barrick Gold operates a mine on the island of the Dominican Republic (borders with Haiti), called the Pueblo Viejo mine. It is one of the largest gold mines in the Dominican Republic.

In the Dominican Republic, there exists an Environment Law which requires that 5% of net profits from mining activities is delivered to the surrounding communities (towns and villages) for the purpose of investing in development projects in the region and as important, to have the funds to deal with the problems caused to the environment by the mining company’s activities.

The problems, crises and scandals of Barrick Gold in the Dominican Republic go back some six years:

2010 :
>   Barrick’s mine workers strikes caused the Labor Ministry to investigate if Barrick were respecting their workers’ rights.
>   There were THREE setbacks for Barrick in 2010, including calls to review the exploitation contract over alleged non‐binding clauses on environmental cleanup, and food poisoning which sickened hundreds of workers.
>   In addition, the Senate Environmental Commission asked the Presidency to review the gold mining contract with Barrick to obtain better advantages and compensate affected communities.
>   Reports exposed Barrick as being dishonest about poisoning more than 300 Barrick workers at the Pueblo Viejo mine.

2012 :
Activists demand to ban cyanide outside Barrick’s offices

2013 :
>   Government halts Barrick gold shipment worth millions at the airport due to Barrick not reaching an agreement with the government.
>   The Congress said it wants a “more favorable” contract with Barrick for their mine. The original contract was made in 2009 but looked upon suspiciously.
>   Residents sue Barrick’s mine for poisoning rivers, causing illnesses and the death of farm animals.
>   Government halts yet another Barrick shipment at the airport in effort for Barrick to reach an agreement with the government. Customs official inspect the shipment and find alleged irregularities resulting in Barrick being fined US$ 96 Million.

2015 :
>   Court application filed for an injunction to halt Barrick’s local mining operation
Reports of environmental damage to local residents as far as an hour away from Barrick’s mine.
>   Farmers there say that even the cattle refuse to drink the water!

2016 :
>   Barrick back in court to defend land dispute cases from local farmers. Hundreds of farmers gathered at the Land Court for the fifth hearing in their case against the Barrick.
Hundreds of people sued the mining company to demand payment for the farmers’ properties.

All in all, this mine appears to be another success story for Barrick Gold’s Balance Sheet and good profits for their shareholders, whilst for the local residents living in the towns and villages in the region of the Pueblo Viejo mine, it is nothing short of a nightmare. Another Barrick Gold nightmare.

And now, to add insult to injury, these same local residents are not receiving the 5% of net profits from the Pueblo Viejo mining activities that is laid down in the above-mentioned Environment Law.

It was reported that yesterday (Monday) that hundreds of community leaders and residents of towns and villages directly affected by Barrick Gold’s mine at Pueblo Viejo gathered in the nearby town of Cotuí, the capital of the Province to demand that Dominican President, Danilo Medina and the Congress will follow the Environment Law and release the 5% allocation of the profits which the government received from Barrick.

The communities including farmers have a group organization called “Campaign to Develop Mining Communities“. The purpose of this “Campaign” is to ensure that every peso of the 5%, that the Environment Law specifies must be paid to the communities, is used ONLY to develop projects and NOT to end up in the hands of corrupt politicians “as has been the case on previous occasions”.
This Campaign is there both to ensure the 5% is collected and also that the 5% is utilised correctly.

Sister Luisa Suarez, head of the Training Center for Women, CEFORMOMALI, who served as spokeswoman for the group, said that “It’s a shame that naturally rich communities live in poverty, and whose basic needs go unmet. Our communities are among the poorest in the northern region”.

According to figures provided by the organisers, until 2014 the government had failed to hand over more than RD$1.3 billion (US$ 28.3 million) to the mine’s surrounding towns, the amount representing the 5% of profits from all activities of mining and exporting gold and other valuable metals.

The towns and villages in the region of Barrick Gold’s Pueblo Viejo mine desperately need their 5% for the purpose of investing in development projects in the region and as important, maybe even more important, to have the finances available to deal immediately with the problems caused to the environment by Barrick’s mining operations. We all know what environment tragedies have come from Barrick’s mine and who takes responsibility?

Is Barrick responsible for this 5% not having been paid over to the towns and villages in the region? Who knows the truth?
Is Barrick part of a corruption scheme with the politicians who are NOT paying over the 5% (US$ 28.3 million) to the mine’s surrounding towns and villages? Who knows the truth?
Are the residents of the towns and villages suffering as a result of the 5% NOT being paid to them? Definitely, YES! That is the truth.

We have seen a terrible, cruel and vicious track record of ethics and compassion of Barrick Gold and their daughter company, Acacia Mining, on and off during the past 2 decades. When will Barrick learn to help and assist instead of being so focused on making that extra dollar for their shareholders?

(Our appreciation to the “Dominican Today” newspaper for some of the information that we used for this article)