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Trucks are parked at the North Mara mine in northeast Tanzania.Brookes

Barrick Gold Corp. ABX-T says its subsidiaries have settled a British court case with 10 Tanzanian villagers who alleged that police and security guards had caused deaths and injuries near the company’s North Mara gold mine.

The two subsidiaries in Tanzania did not admit any liability in the case at the High Court of Justice in London, Barrick said in a terse one-sentence statement on its website this week. It gave no other details.

It is the second settlement between Barrick-owned companies and Tanzanian villagers over the past decade. In 2015, Barrick subsidiary Acacia Mining settled a case with 12 Tanzanians over similar allegations that residents were killed and injured by police and security at the same mine.

In a third case, two law firms filed suit against Barrick in Ontario Superior Court in 2022 on behalf of 21 Tanzanians who alleged that they or their family members were killed, injured or tortured by police guarding the North Mara mine. They accused the police of causing five deaths, five injuries and five incidents of torture.

Barrick said in its annual report for 2023 that it will defend itself “vigorously” if the Ontario case proceeds. It has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the Ontario court lacks jurisdiction in the matter, and it expects the motion to be heard in October.

“No amounts have been recorded for any potential liability arising from this matter, as the company cannot reasonably predict the outcome,” Barrick said in the report.

In the latest settlement, 10 villagers were seeking damages for alleged abuses by police and security guards between 2014 and 2019. The suit was filed in 2020.

The Globe and Mail asked Barrick spokesperson Kathy du Plessis whether the settlement would lead to any changes of the company’s polices or practices at North Mara. She did not answer directly.

“The terms of the settlement agreement are confidential, and no further comment can be provided,” Ms. du Plessis said in an e-mail Thursday.

Last September, she told The Globe that the company was confident the allegations in the London court case were “without merit” and it looked forward to “having the opportunity for the London courts to finally adjudicate this matter and put it to rest.”

A British-based corporate watchdog, Rights and Accountability in Development, said it welcomed any settlement that would bring relief to the claimants after so many years.

“The Tanzanian claimants in this case have shown considerable resolve in their pursuit of justice and redress, especially when they were up against a gold mining giant with infinitely greater resources to fight legal battles,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, executive director of RAID, in a statement Thursday.

In the court cases, Barrick has argued that the Tanzanian police is a sovereign force that operates under its own chain of command. The company has acknowledged, however, that it has a formal agreement with the police on security issues and that it provides support to them for their activities around the mine site.

Barrick acquired the North Mara mine in 2006. After operating it through subsidiaries, it took direct operational control of the mine in 2019. Deaths and injuries around the mine have continued since then, human rights groups say.

The London case has been a headache for Barrick, with the court ordering its subsidiaries to review tens of thousands of internal documents on security policies and practices. Barrick lawyers estimated that the searches would potentially cost millions of dollars in expenses.

Among the documents disclosed in the case were company e-mails and memos that showed Barrick’s subsidiary, Acacia, paying as much as US$1.2-million annually to a powerful group of Tanzanian government officials as recently as 2015.

The payments were made to dozens of Tanzanian civil servants on a national law-enforcement task force. This triggered internal concerns at the time that the payments could violate the company’s anti-corruption policies and create the appearance of “undue influence” over the country’s civil servants.

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