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Columbia Law School Red Water Report

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BSR Report “In Search of Justice – Pathways to Remedy at the Porgera Gold Mine”

September 17, 2018

Barrick Gold Corporation (“Barrick”) and Barrick (Niugini) Limited (“BNL”), the operator of the Porgera Mine in Papua New Guinea, welcome the release of the “In Search of Justice – Pathways to Remedy at the Porgera Gold Mine” report, authored by the non-profit organization, Business for Social Responsibility (“BSR”).

[Download the Summary Report or the Complete Report.]

BSR was commissioned by Barrick and BNL in June 2017 in an effort to help enhance access to remedy for people living in the communities surrounding the Porgera Mine, located in Enga, a remote Province of Papua New Guinea. The BSR team was led by Dr. Margaret Jungk, former chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and Bennett Freeman, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

The companies appreciate the very thoughtful and detailed approach taken by BSR during their study, which involved in-person consultations with a wide range of local, national and international stakeholders over the course of 12 months, with a focus on the needs of those seeking to raise and resolve grievances. The result is a comprehensive set of findings and recommendations aimed at addressing the complex and unique challenges that exist in the Porgera context.

Importantly, the report contains recommendations not only to the mine but to the other actors that should be involved to help improve remedy pathways in Porgera. This includes the Porgera community itself, local and international civil society representatives, and the Government of Papua New Guinea. In doing so, the report highlights the social and technical complexity that underpins the resolution of grievances at Porgera and affirms the importance of establishing a supportive and effective ecosystem for rights-holders in the first place.

The companies recognize that the challenges associated with addressing grievances and allegations of harm in Porgera are substantial and that significant barriers exist for those seeking redress. However, we are also convinced that closer cooperation between the mine, Government stakeholders, and the community may help overcome many of these barriers.

We believe that the completion of the “In Search of Justice” report is an important step in helping inform the mine’s response to address grievances arising from the operation of the Porgera Mine. The report also provides valuable insights to guide steps that other stakeholders can take to help improve remedy pathways and outcomes for the communities of the Porgera Valley.

Consistent with BSR’s recommendation, BNL will begin to develop a plan that is responsive to the report. In the coming weeks, the company will be seeking to engage meaningfully with other stakeholders in preparing an action plan to address the recommendations identified by the BSR researchers. These consultations will include discussions with rights-holders and their representatives about the structure and implementation of proposed company responses. It will also involve engagement with relevant Government authorities, given how central they are in the process. BNL intends to finalize that plan before the end of the year.

Barrick and BNL remain committed to respecting the rights of individuals and communities impacted by our respective operations. Because of this, both Barrick and BNL will continue to assess and try to improve not only our grievance mechanisms, but our wider interaction and engagement with communities and other important stakeholders where we operate. The BSR work is an important step in that process in the Porgera Valley.

Additional Information:

Barrick (Niugini) Limited (“BNL”) is a company incorporated in Papua New Guinea, and operates the Porgera Gold Mine in Enga Province on behalf of the Porgera Joint Venture partners. BNL is an independently managed company and is jointly owned through an equal partnership between Barrick Gold and Zijin Mining Group. The Porgera Gold Mine employs over 2,500 Papua New Guineans, and over the life of the mine it has contributed approximately 10% of Papua New Guinea’s total annual exports.

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