THE WORLD’S biggest bullion market is facing a High Court lawsuit over claims it wrongly certified gold from a Tanzanian mine as being responsibly sourced despite being at the centre of multiple allegations of human rights abuse.
The London Bullion Market Association (LMBA) is being sued for an undisclosed sum by the families of two men who were killed at the North Mara mine after being shot at Barrick Gold’s Tanzanian site in 2019.
The lawsuit claims the bullion market acted negligently and breached its duty of care in wrongfully certifying gold from the Canadian company’s Tanzanian mine as free from human rights abuses under its Responsible Gold Certificate.
The LBMA has continued to certify Barrick’s product as compliant with its human rights standards despite multiple claims from lawyers and NGOs that the North Mara mine’s security have participated in acts of abuse, torture, and killings.
Security at North Mara – known locally as the ‘mine police’ – are alleged to have played a part in killing dozens of locals accused of trespassing and stealing its resources.
Barrick Gold, who is not a party in the dispute, said the North Mara mine is subject to the “constant threat of invasion” from “rogue bands” trying to steal gold-bearing rock.
If successful, the lawsuit, which is being brought forward by UK law firm Leigh Day, could force the LBMA to bar Barrick – the world’s biggest gold mining company – from the market.
The LBMA said it would like to “express its deepest sympathies” to the families of all those injured or killed in Tanzania, but said the “claim has no merit.”
Barrick CEO Mark Bristow said the firm remains proud of its human rights record, adding that the North Mara mine maintains a “strong working relationship” with local people.