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Sakura Saunders' correspondence with Geoffrey York RE: "Barrick’s Tanzanian project tests ethical mining policies"

by Sakura Saunders

This is the e-mail correspondence that I had with Geoffrey York prior to his publication of his feature article "Barrick’s Tanzanian project tests ethical mining policies". These e-mails occured within 24 hours of the one hour interview that I had with York on June 20, 2011. These e-mails were meant to substantiate with links the topics that we covered during our conversation.

I did a lot of research for York prior to our phone conversation, and needless to say, I felt very betrayed that he allowed me to be represented the way that he did (I do suspect that this was an order from the editors, but I can never know for sure outside of a hunch).

 Please judge for yourself... does this seem to be the follow-up conversation of a person who thinks that Barrick is "more transparent" than most other miners?

Sincerely,

Sakura Saunders, protestbarrick.net editor

date: 6/20/11

Here is the letter from Barrick's lawyers in Tanzania. Of course the demand to turn the tow victims over to the authorities is an act of intimidation because of the complicity of Tanzanian authorities with Barrick.

I have also experienced intimidation from Barrick's lawyers, not directed at me but to people attending meetings that I organized. I have no assets and am a volunteer, so I am not a target of this type of intimidation. However, shortly after a "Munk OUT of UofT" meeting that I organized – that was attended by Angela Regnier, the ED of the UofT's Student Union, and was also visited by the Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs, Janice Stein – Angela received a phone call from Barrick's lawyers saying that she seemed like a reasonable person, and they advised her to stop hanging around people like me!

Regarding Barrick being caught in their attempts to very deliberately mislead people, here in the article where they were very explicitly called out for their lies in Tanzanian Parliament.

here is the most relevant excerpt:

The chairman of the parliamentary committee on land, natural resources and environment, Mr Job Ndugai, led several MPs in demanding for the probe to establish the truth behind the death and poisoning reports in villages around the mine.

The calls came only a day after deputy minister for Home Affairs Khamisi Kagasheki visited the area and witnessed the seepage of acid into river Tigithe that is blamed for several human and animal deaths in nearby villages.

Mr Kagasheki, who toured the mine on Sunday following numerous complaints, said he was annoyed by attempts by the mine officials to play down the matter.

The deputy minister, who was accompanied by top Mara and Tarime government officials, said he would forward reports about what he had seen to top government organs for further action.

"I have been shocked with what I have seen and lies by Barrick officials have really annoyed me. I am very sorry," he told a meeting of local leaders and villagers in the area. This was after they showed him the areas affected by the leakage.

The minister's apology followed drama in which Barrick officials operating the mine and villagers took the minister to different sites to establish whether there was pollution of river Tigite.

His tour followed allegations that water containing acid leaking from the mine had killed several people and livestock in the area since May.

River Tigite, which is used by thousands of residents especially the rural population, flows into Mara River that discharges water into Lake Victoria on the Tanzania side.

"I am Kagasheki, the President is my employer and I will give this report to the PM as well as the president for further action," he said amid cheers from local leaders.

Efforts yesterday to reach Barrick officials to react to claims they may have deliberately misled the minister were futile as the mobile phones of their managing director and spokesperson were ringing without being answered.

ok.. I have more docs! but that is a lot for now.

will be in touch!

best,

sakura

 date: 6/21/11

Hi Geoff!


Per our conversation last night, I wanted to put a few more things things in front of you to give background to some of the things that I said.


First off, here is a rather hilarious video excerpt from Peter Munk's speech at the 2010 Barrick Gold AGM. In it, he acts like impacted communities are a bunch of ingrates under the influence of "Rogue NGO's" who are out to stop all forms of development, insisting that there is "no alternative" to his gold mines. (note: the vast majority of communications between me and the communities that I work with is to me rather than from me.)


Regarding Bulyanhulu, here is LEAT's very detailed response to the CAO report that purportedly served to discredit the allegations of massacre at that mine site. Within two years of writing that report, Rachel Kyte was promoted to IFC’s Director for Environmental and Social Development. Within two years of that, she was promoted to a VP at the IFC, where she was in a position above her former boss, Meg Taylor. In that position, I have heard rumours from IFC staff that Rachel used her position to censor (not directly, but by bureaucratic means) reports produced by the CAO's office, including one about Maggi's soy plantations in Brazil. 


Following the CAO's report, a fact finding mission was sent to Tanzania to conduct their own investigation of the massacre. Here are their findings from that mission. Needless to say, they were convinced that the massacre had in fact taken place.


Finally, just to be clear that Barrick isn't the only company targeted by mining justice advocates (including myself!) here is the report that I edited and designed, profiling every one of Goldcorp's operations around the world, and here is the report that I edited and designed about BHP Billiton around the world. (and here is the website that I helped create about BHP that is very similar to protestbarrick.net, though suffers due to the fact that both me and Nat are too busy with protestbarrick to maintain this site!)


The purpose of all of these reports and websites is to make very clear that these issues are not a case of a few bad apples, but rather that human rights abuses and environmental devastation are in fact the status quo for so-called "first world" mining companies operating abroad and on indigenous lands everywhere. Barrick is no different, despite their CSR image (note: even the Globe and Mail praised Barrick following the publication of their most outrageous abuses). In fact, Barrick might be worse due to the cover-ups and divide-and-conquer tactics that they employ.


Anyways... enjoy these links and if you want more... I have tons of letters that Barrick has sent my PNG allies, including one recent letter where Barrick makes clear that they do not want to compensate any victims of gang rape with any form of financial compensation. I am not surprised, as they never want to reward those resisting the company with anything, even if Barrick is found guilty of serious abuses against those who speak out against them. argh.. ok. I should stop now!

Best,

Sakura

date 6/21/11

here's the recent one. Also, I'm away from my computer at the moment, but can also get you the letter that Mining Watch references in their release about the HRW report.


here is the relevant excerpt:

In response to a letter in May 2008 from Mr. Ekepa to Barrick’s then-President and CEO Greg Wilkins, the Porgera mine manager responded to Mr. Ekepa saying, “we found your public allegations of our employees ‘gang raping’ Porgera Land Owners’ women to be most distasteful, to say the least, as you know these allegations to be untrue.

best!
Sakura

On Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 2:04 PM, Geoffrey York<geoffreyyork@yahoo.com> wrote:
   Thanks, again.  Could you send me one or two of those recent Barrick letters to PNG people?

 

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