Acacia mining, formerly known as African Barrick Gold, has agreed to settle claims of excessive force resulting in the deaths of villagers at it’s North Mara mine.
Acacia denied the allegations even after agreeing to settle.
“The claims were denied by Acacia Mining and North Mara Gold Mine Ltd (Nmgml) and litigation and further claims have been settled out of court,” says Acacia in a statement.
Twelve individuals, includes relatives of the deceased, sued the mining company in the Britain’s High Court in 2013 for failure to control excess force by its security personnel which resulted into death of six villagers and injured others.
In 2008, villagers at the North Mara mine were killed in in an incident by hired police and security in employed by the company.
In a statement at the time, Barrick claimed the villagers were “violent intruders who invaded the mine” and that police and security teams were “acting in self defense or in defense of the safety of mine employees.”
There was a reported break-in at the mine that year in which $15 million USD of Barrick property was stolen.
Neither the compensation package or the number of beneficiaries has been made clear, however The Guardian (UK) speculates that six claims relate to deaths at the mine and three others to people who were shot.
While human rights groups welcomed the financial settlements, they criticized the attitude of some multinational companies working in Africa which only issue compensation when sued in rich, developed countries.
“We are aware that other people in the [North Mara] community who had also suffered injuries accepted the limited compensation which the company [first] offered,” says Traidcraft policy officer Fiona Gooch to The Guardian (UK.)
“They later found that this was insufficient to cover their needs since they have injuries which will hamper them for their rest of their lives. We understand that they were required to waive their legal rights as [a] condition of getting compensation.”