The National, Wednesday 15th May 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
BARRICK’s operations are a catalyst for economic development, creating job opportunities and other long-term benefits for host communities, the company says.
The miner said this from Australia yesterday following the announcement by New Zealand’s superannuation fund to pull out of investing in Barrick.
The NZ superfund on Monday said it had sold its holdings of the Toronto-based mining company Barrick Gold Corporation’s stock, citing concerns about human rights and environmental standards.
In a statement, Anne-Maree O’Connor, the NZ$22.11 billion (K39.5 billion) fund’s manager, responsible investment – noting long-standing “security-related, environmental and community problems” at Barrick Gold’s mines in PNG and Tanzania – concluded that the company’s activities were inconsistent with the standards contained in the UN Global Compact.
The statement said NZ Superannuation had sold shares in Barrick Gold Corp and its subsidiary, African Barrick Gold (ABG), worth NZ$1.8 million (K3.2 million) and NZ$78,824 (K141,000) respectively since December last year.
In a reaction, Barrick says: “Our human rights and environmental policies are extremely strong.”
The company said: “Responsible mining is an absolute priority for Barrick and is central to how we run our business, reflected by the fact that we have been ranked as a leader in social and environmental responsibility for five consecutive years by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
“We operate in some very complex environments, including PNG Guinea and Tanzania where many of the most challenging issues pre-date Barrick’s arrival.
“Barrick and ABG have implemented a series of initiatives to improve environmental performance, and to strengthen relationships with local communities.”