African Barrick Says 7 Intruders Shot Dead at Mine; to Probe

Date of publication: 
17 May 2011

African Barrick Gold Plc said police shot dead seven “intruders” at its North Mara mine in Tanzania after hundreds invaded the project armed with machetes, rocks and hammers in the latest fatal confrontation at the site.

Police called to the area “came under sustained attack by approximately 800 criminal intruders who illegally entered the North Mara mine site and attempted to remove ore,” the London- based company said in a statement. “According to information received, a number of intruders sustained gunshot wounds, resulting in seven intruder fatalities and twelve injuries.”

The violence yesterday follows clashes at the mine that killed at least seven in the past two years, according to interviews with 28 people, including victims’ relatives, witnesses, local officials and human-rights workers, Bloomberg News reported in December. Charles Chichester, a spokesman for African Barrick, declined to comment on the matter in response to an e-mailed query today.

African Barrick is investigating the latest incident as are the police, who have deployed additional forces in the area, the company said in the statement, adding that there had been no “material” effect on production at the site.

Barrick Gold Corp., based in Toronto, and African Barrick, 74 percent-owned by the Canadian miner, have previously paid the Tanzanian government for federal police protection at the mine and used private armed guards, according to company documents. Police carried out the latest shootings, African Barrick said.
Criminal Gangs

Constantine Massawe, regional police commander for the Tarime-Rorya area, said earlier by phone that five had died and three were injured during the disturbance at the mine.

African Barrick has faced disruptions since being spun off by Barrick Gold, the largest producer of the metal, in March 2010. It twice cut forecasts in 2010, delivering 700,934 ounces, compared with an initial projection of 800,000 to 850,000 ounces.

The company yesterday lowered its second-quarter production estimate by 10,000 ounces after a fault at a processing plant at its Buzwagi mine. In October, African Barrick suspended 60 workers at the mine, saying it was “widely infiltrated” by criminal gangs. The company operates four mines in Tanzania.

African Barrick slumped 28.6 pence, or 5.8 percent, to 469 pence by the 4:30 p.m. close in London, the lowest since it first sold shares in March 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Biesheuvel in London at tbiesheuvel [at] bloomberg [dot] net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11 [at] bloomberg [dot] net