Barrick Gold Using Coercive Settlement Provisions to Perpetuate Legacy of Environmental Harm (EarthRights International)

This article by Michelle Harrison at EarthRights International concerns the actions of Barrick Gold, which purchased the Vancouver-based Placer Dome in 2006The piece examines Barrick’s insufficient settlement offer to Marinduque province in the Philippines, facing serious environmental contamination as a result of the Placer Dome gold mining operation.

After nearly a decade of litigation over environmental devastation in the Philippines caused by Placer Dome’s mining operations (now Barrick Gold Corp.), Barrick has reportedly given the Province of Marinduque a take-it-or-leave-it settlement offer that would prohibit the Province from spending a penny to clean up the damage the company left behind.

For decades, Placer Dome operated two mines in the Province of Marinduque, during which time it intentionally dumped hundreds of millions of tons of toxic mine waste into traditional fishing areas, and catastrophic dam failures flooded rivers with toxic mine waste. Notably, Placer Dome’s long time business partner during much of that period was notorious dictator Ferdinand Marcos, until he was overthrown. The company left the island soon after a massive toxic waste spill in 1996 that rendered the Boac River “biologically dead.”

The Province sued Placer Dome in Nevada nearly a decade ago. When Barrick acquired Placer Dome in 2006, it inherited the lawsuit, along with a legacy of harms around the world.

The parties have been engaged in settlement negotiations since 2011 and significant details have surfaced about the terms of Barrick’s offer. The amount on the table is reportedly $20 million USD, which, after litigation costs and attorneys’ fees, is expected to be closer to $13 million- far less than the projected cost of cleanup. …. View full article here.

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