Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 2, 2023

TORONTO: Barrick Gold Protested -- Global Abuse of Indigenous Peoples and Lands

"We’re both inside and outside Barrick Gold’s shareholder meeting. We’re bringing the voices of communities around the world resisting Barrick’s violent, destructive mining projects. The protest’s cheers are clearly audible inside the meeting where 100% of the questions asked to CEO Mark Bristow have highlighted Barrick’s harm. A huge screen is also playing this video outside: #ProtestBarrick

This is what Barrick Gold did to Bald Mountain, Western Shoshone's ancestral sacred lands in Nevada. Battling the gold mines targeting sacred Mount Tenabo, the Cortez Hills mining project, Western Shoshone Carrie Dann said, “This area is where the seasons of the year were named — in the time before people were here." Now, Nevada Gold Mines is a joint venture between Barrick and Newmont. -- Censored News.

Conflict, Environmental Harm, and Human Rights Abuse Allegations – What Barrick Shareholders Need to Know

By MiningWatch Canada
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
Censored News

TORONTO – Shareholders of Canada’s largest gold mining company were greeted today with strong messages from communities affected by its global operations. A mobile billboard parked outside Barrick Gold’s annual shareholder meeting in downtown Toronto projected messages from communities from Alaska to Papua New Guinea, alleging the company is failing to respect Indigenous rights, contaminating their water, and harming their ways of life.

Dozens of protesters greeted shareholders inside the building with banners highlighting community demands and allegations such as “resettle Porgera and Pueblo Viejo” and “Barrick destroys, Barrick lies.”

“Today we made absolutely sure that Barrick’s CEO Mark Bristow and every shareholder who attended the meeting were confronted with the reality that communities around the world near Barrick’s mines are denouncing the company for refusing to respond to their concerns, act transparently, prevent harm, or provide a remedy,” says Rachel Small, an organizer with the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network. 

“If shareholders missed the billboard on the street and the protest inside the building, they couldn’t ignore that every single question raised at Barrick’s annual meeting today brought attention to significant harm at Barrick’s mines and called into question the company’s social license,” continues Small.

All questions raised during the 50-minute shareholder meeting centered on allegations of harm tied to Barrick’s global operations: the impact of mining operations on the Kuskokwim River watershed and salmon populations near Barrick’s Donlin Gold mine in Yup’ik and Cup’ik territory in Alaska, unaddressed human rights claims at the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea, and significant violence and repression against local communities by police providing security to Barrick’s North Mara mine in Tanzania – the subject of a current lawsuit against the company in Ontario courts.

Lateef Johar, a human rights defender from Balochistan, Pakistan, attended the shareholder meeting to question CEO Mark Bristow about agreements reached last December with the central government of Pakistan to extract gold and copper from the Reko Diq mining site without the consent of surrounding communities.

“I was surprised that instead of addressing the issues I raised around violence, corruption, and a lack of transparency in the region, CEO Mark Bristow chose to question my authenticity and immigration status in a racist attempt to discredit me in front of shareholders,” says Johar.

“I was shocked when he implied that he knew more about what was happening in Balochistan than I did, in my own homeland.” Following his question, Johar was escorted out of the meeting by security.

The video projected outside the shareholder meeting was produced as part of a Global Week of Action in the days leading up to the meeting, bringing together voices from Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Papua New Guinea, Alaska, Nevada, Pakistan, and the Philippines who organized public actions and spoke out to demand justice.

Mining Watch Canada said, "We stand in solidarity with human rights advocate
@LateefJohar who was escorted out of today's AGM after pressing Barrick to take responsibility for abuse at its Reko Diq mine."

Conflict, Environmental Harm and Human Rights Abuse Allegations – What Barrick Shareholders Need to Know

As Barrick Gold presents itself to shareholders in Toronto at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) today, communities affected by Barrick’s mines around the globe speak out about the human rights and environmental harms they endure and Canadians protest inside and outside the AGM in solidarity.

This month, communities from Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Papua New Guinea, Alaska, Nevada, Pakistan and the Philippines, organized public actions and spoke out to raise awareness of their claims of oppressive violence, perpetual water pollution, violations of Indigenous rights, and destroyed livelihoods from Barrick Gold operations. To coincide with Barrick’s AGM, Dominican advocates have also written to the company directly, amplifying impacted communities’ demand for relocation.

“The gulf remains great between Barrick’s presentation of itself as a responsible Canadian multinational and the lived realities of people in the shadow of Barrick mines,” says Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada.

Barrick's mine in Papua New Guinea: Global Protests over Reopening

Porgera, PAPUA NEW GUINEA – The Porgera Joint Venture mine has been in care and maintenance since 2019 when the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government declined to renew Barrick’s lease citing tax issues, environmental concerns and legacy issues understood to include human rights abuses such as rapes and gang rapes by mine security and mine police.

In 2020 Barrick filed against the PNG state in an international tribunal, still pending, forcing the PNG government to commence fraught negotiations with Barrick. In March CEO Bristow noted: “It’s been a long journey but in the process we have secured the buy-in of all the stakeholders.” However, since April it has been abundantly clear that this buy-in does not exist.

Grassroots human rights groups from Porgera villages staged local protest actions focused on long-out-standing human rights claims. Downstream landowners affected by the mine’s “riverine” disposal of tailings and waste rock have brought their complaints to the capital. And the recognized landowner agents of the mine lease area have also come out in protest against the new agreements, issuing a statement and a no-trespassing order against the mine. Additionally, previously reported tax claims against Barrick have not been resolved fully as internal revenue commissioner-general Sam Koim has made clear.

North Mara, TANZANIA – In November 2022, legal action was filed in Canada against Barrick on behalf of more than 20 Indigenous Kuria plaintiffs from villages around the North Mara mine. All allege excess use of force by mine police leading to severe maiming and death. Injuries and deaths at the hands of mine security have been reported to have occurred since at least 2009.

This case is the third in under ten years filed on behalf of Kuria villagers making the same allegations. The first was settled in 2015 and the second is still ongoing in the UK. In addition to a long and ongoing history of violence against local Kuria by mine security, MiningWatch Canada also recently documented human rights abuses related to ongoing forced evictions from the village of Komarera to allow for the expansion of the North Mara mine.

While Barrick denies that forced evictions are taking place in Komarera, villagers have gone to the extraordinary lengths of filing local suits to restrain the mine from bulldozing their houses and to seek remedy for those cases where their homes and crops have already been bulldozed.

As questions concerning the human rights and environmental harm caused by Barrick’s mines are raised in front of the board and shareholders inside the annual general meeting and through the meeting’s online portal, Canadians protest outside the meeting in solidarity with the global victims of Barrick’s operations.

Media contacts:Catherine Coumans, Co-manager, MiningWatch Canada,
Val Croft, Communications Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada,

                            Barrick Gold Mines in Nevada, United States

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