Argentinians are mobilized en masse against the Pascua Lama project, as well as Barrick’s exploration in Mount Famatina. In March of 2007, neighborhood groups in La Rioja organized and created the political will to kick out the corrupt regional Governor aligned with Barrick Gold. At the Veladero project, communities local to that mine turned against the company after a cyanide spill poisoned five rivers and failed to warn people downstream to avoid the water. Since then, environmental issues at the Veladero mine have persisted, with more spills, resulting in sanctions against the company and a local determined resistance that wants the mine closed. The Asamblea Jáchal No Se Toca is the local group fighting against the mine.
Lake Cowal, New South Wales, Australia
Since the early 1990s, the campaign to stop Barrick’s gold mine at Lake Cowal in central western NSW, Australia has focused on the cultural and ecological significance of the area. Powerful direct actions, community education and legal action carried out by local Aboriginal leaders, indigenous and community activists has tied up and cast grave doubts on Barrick Gold’s huge Lake Cowal project.
Super-pit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
As gold prices rise to nearly $US1000 an ounce, joint owners of the controversial Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine, Newmont Mining and Barrick Gold, want to dig deeper. Local Indigenous Ninga Mia community are protesting against the encroaching KCGM super pit because the levels of noise and dust from mining operations are making them sick.
Despite the fact that Barrick is a Canadian company, it only has two operating projects in Canada: Eskay Creek in northern British Columbia, and the Hemlo Joint Venture on the north shore of Lake Superior in Ontario. It also has a number of closed mines in Canada, such as Renabie, and Golden Patricia. Each of these mines is located on traditional territory of Indigenous peoples, and each case study illustrates the environmental devastation that accompanies gold mining and the evasion of responsibility that is typical of mining companies.
There has been decades-long resistance against Barrick’s Pascua Lama project, which was finally stopped the project in January 2018 by the SMA (Superintendency of the Environment) with 33 charges, of which six were very serious infractions. Two environmental breaches were found to have produced irreparable environmental damage. The Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous and Agricultural community, Pascua Lama’s closest neighbour also currently has a case against Chile that has been admitted in the IACHR, for violating the Indigenous Community’s right to self-determination in approving Barrick’s Pascua Lama project.
Community members complain that the pollution from Barrick and Goldcorp’s Pueblo Viejo mine causes nausea, dizziness and vomiting and children are commonly sent home from school due to the toxic odours emitted into the air. The impacts of polluted local streams can be seen in skin lesions, rashes and wounds on over 50 community members and residents have tested positive for heightened levels of heavy metals and toxins in their blood. Additionally, locals estimate that the the livestock death count is up to 2200 since the mine opened in 2012. They are seeking resettlement away from this mine site as a long term solution for their community.
Papua New Guinea
In Papua New Guinea, Barrick dumps toxic mine tailings directly into the river. Other waste dumps surround the area, covering the arable land once used for gardens, and creating hazards that take lives on a regular basis. What’s more, allegations of rapes, gang rapes, beatings and killings of community members, and the burning down of entire villages by Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) security forces have been prevalent for over a decade. The primary demand of the local Ipili community is for collective resettlement away from the mine site, and for compensation for the victims of abuse and their families.
Protests demanding access to clean water became deadly in 2012 when police confronted a blockade of Barrick’s Pierina Gold mine. Protesters blame the mine for worsening the water shortage. This isn’t the first people time people have died in protest at Barrick’s Pierina mine. In 2006, two people were shot to death, and another 20 were seriously injured, when hundreds of community members who work for Barrick Gold gathered in Huallapampa to request an increase of salaries. Issue surrounding water supplies and wages have also led to large protests at Barrick’s other mine in the region, Lagunas Norte.
Pakistan / Balochistan
Since 1947, successive governments at the centre have pursued a policy of intimidation and coercion towards the Baloch. Most provincial governments have played the disgraceful role of legitimizing and lending respectability to army operations, forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, incarcerations and the acquisition of land. The goal has been to coerce the population into acquiescence so that exploitation can be conducted in a threat-free environment. Of late, much-publicized mega projects are actually depriving the Baloch of their resources and said to be adversely changing the demographic balance in the province.
In the Spring of 2006, when Barrick Gold took over Placer Dome, Inc. it inherited a law suit initiated by provincial authorities on the Philippine island of Marinduque, where 27 years of irresponsible mining by Placer Dome (1969-1996) had caused immense damage to the island of Marinduque and its people. Rather than settle the case, compensating Marinduquenos for lost livelihood and funding efforts to rehabilitate the damaged eco-systems, Barrick is waging an expensive and lengthy legal battle to avoid responsibility.
Tanzania’s Bulyanhulu and North Mara mines were built upon deaths, displacement and human rights abuses. While this happened while these mines were owned by other Canadian mining corporations, there have been many killings by Barrick/Acacia security and Barrick/Acacia-paid police since that time. In 2009, two reports found potential life threatening levels of arsenic around Barrick’s North Mara mine in Tanzania. The study investigated the area around the tailing dam and the site of an accidental spill that occurred on May 9, 2009. Additionally, also at the North Mara, a recent (2016) Tanzanian government inquiry said that it had received 335 cases of abuse by Tanzanian police, including 65 deaths and 270 injuries since 2006. Local human rights monitors and opposition forces, however, put that number much higher, claiming that there have been more than 300 violent deaths at the North Mara mine since 1999.
Cortez Mine, Nevada
Western Shoshone fought Barrick’s expansion into sacred lands, with a coordinated community organizing and legal strategy. The Western Shoshone defines project led the charge, asserting their rights within the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, which the US government has been in violation of, threatening sacred places like Mount Tenabo and scarce water resources.
In New Mexico, communities battle Barrick subsidiary Homestake’s legacy of Uranium contamination. Meanwhile, in South Dakota, Barrick canceled the Homestake Retiree Medical Plan, leaving about 1,000 retirees without the benefit. And in Alaska, the Donlin mine threatens the livelihoods of subsistence salmon fishers, while mercury is a large health threat the accompanies the mine.
Here, Barrick has threatened to shut down its mine when Zambia has attempted to raise royalties.