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