At Least Seven Dead, 15 Wounded

Gold's longest bull market in at least 90 years has brought both prosperity and death to villagers living near Barrick Gold's (ABX) North Mara mine. Located along Tanzania's border with Kenya, the mine, which produced $204.8 million in revenue in 2009, has brought riches to the Tanzanian government. Every day it disgorges more than 100 million pounds of waste rock. Desperately poor villagers pick through this rubble in search of the occasional fleck of gold they can sell to support their families. Few signs mark where the mine's property ends and the village begins.

The mine's security guards have beaten or shot villagers they considered trespassers, according to interviews with 27 people, including victims' relatives, witnesses, local officials, and human rights workers. Over the past two years, at least seven people have been killed at the mine and 15 seriously wounded, Bloomberg News reports. The dead include a father of four, a 17-year-old boy, and a young husband trying to provide for his pregnant wife. Barrick declined to comment on most incidents and said the company was "generally constrained from confirming precise figures" because the cases "involve potential crimes and may be subject to ongoing or potential investigation." These deaths have led to riots by the villagers and work stoppages at the mine. So far no one has been arrested. Meanwhile, Barrick continues to mine, its guards continue to patrol, and the villagers continue to risk their lives scavenging through the rubble.

Click here to see the faces of the dead and their families.
 
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