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Gold's Costly Dividend: film reveals the hidden side of gold production

Ecologist

21st February,2011

In the month that the world's first Fair Trade gold is launched, Human Rights Watch release a film reporting on alleged abuses at Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea

Security personnel employed at a gold mine in Papua New Guinea have been implicated in alleged gang rapes and other violent abuses, Human Rights Watch claimed in a report released this month. The Porgera mine has produced billions of dollars of gold in its twenty years of operation, and is operated and 95 percent owned by Barrick Gold, a Canadian company that is the world's largest gold producer.

The 94-page report, 'Gold's Costly Dividend: Human Rights Impacts of Papua New Guinea's Porgera Gold Mine,' identifies what HRW says are systemic failures on the part of Barrick Gold that kept the company from recognising the risk of abuses, and responding to allegations that abuses had occurred.

The report examines the impact of Canada's failure to regulate the overseas activities of its companies and also calls on Barrick to address environmental and health concerns around the mine with greater transparency.

'We interviewed women who described brutal gang rapes by security guards at Barrick's mine,' Chris Albin-Lackey, senior business and human rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, claimed. 'The company should have acted long before Human Rights Watch conducted its research and prompted them into action'.

Human Rights Watch said that in response to its investigation, Barrick has taken meaningful steps to investigate past abuses and make it less likely for similar abuses to occur in future.

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