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Barrick cites progress as it releases human rights report

Barrick Gold president and CEO Mark Bristow cited the radical repair of community relations at North Mara as an example of progress as the company released its first human rights report since the 2019 merger with Randgold.
Barrick cites progress as it releases human rights report Barrick cites progress as it releases human rights report Barrick cites progress as it releases human rights report Barrick cites progress as it releases human rights report Barrick cites progress as it releases human rights report

Barrick Gold’s North Mara operations in Tanzania

Staff reporter

"The management of human rights was not something we always got right prior to the merger," he said.

Barrick said four human rights complaints were lodged in 2019 but none in 2020.

"The risk of an excessive use of force by private security personnel was substantially reduced with the removal of all weapons from all sites in 2019," Barrick said in the report.

It said since taking control of North Mara in Tanzania, the company had implemented "major changes" including the standards used, monitoring, hiring a new local private security company and increasing the amount of training provided.

"There have been no new security-related human rights incidents raised to group level in the two years since Barrick acquired the remaining minority interest in Acacia," it said.

Barrick said 120 hotline reports on workplace conditions were received and resolved last year, with 81 related to contractors.

There were 113 grievances related to land and resettlement.

Barrick said the community of Matongo near North Mara in Tanzania was resettled in mid-2020 under a commitment made by Acacia, but the primary school had not been relocated yet and its 2021 human rights assessment found children had to walk about 7km to the old school.

"As a result, the site will expedite the construction of the school in compliance with the resettlement agreement," Barrick said.

In Papua New Guinea, Barrick said resettlement planning for two communities in Porgera was halted when the site was placed on care and maintenance last year as the joint venture awaits the renewal of a special mining lease.

Bristow said human rights was a core value for Barrick.

"But more than that, recognising and respecting human rights is simply the right thing to do," he said.

Barrick expects to hit 2021 guidance of 4.4-4.7 million ounces of gold and 410-460 million pounds of copper.

Its shares (TSX: ABX) closed down 1.13% on Friday and are down 19.8% year-to-date.

Its close of C$22.83 capitalised it at $40.6 billion (US$31.9 billion).

UBS has adjusted Barrick's price target to $23 from $24 but maintained a buy rating, according to Bloomberg.