Friday, June 03, 2011

canadian mining company's culpability

African Barrick, a subsidiary of Toronto’s Barrick Gold Corp. recently attained the news by shooting 5 African workers who had trespassed to collect bits of gold dust, something they regularly did to eke out their meager living.

Reporters who went there to get a story were promptly arrested by government authorities. The Toronto Star reporter was charged with having photographs (of the victim’s relatives) that were dangerous to the security of the country, and engaging in journalism activities without permission, found guilty, fined, and deported. Others were not so lucky. A Tanzanian MP was arrested and beaten for guarding the victim’s bodies at the morgue. Barrick claimed innocence of any police wrongdoings, “African Barrick Gold does not have any control or influence over police in this respect.” No arrest of the murderers has been evident or reported thus far. Paul Klein, founder of a firm that specializes in the field of corporate social responsibility, commented, "The paradox is that the mining industry is improving itself in terms of trying to mitigate their environmental impacts and to improve their social impact. Yet there is the perception that they still aren’t doing the right thing.”
One must wonder where this perception arises then. You can always trust the government to do the right thing, for capital, that is.

A few years ago, the Sudan government, operating with mining industry handouts, bombed children at "school" under a tree. Among the mining companies investors was the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund.

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