Barrick loses New Zealand fund investmentJune 2013
The world’s largest gold mining company has lost the investment of a sovereign wealth fund that handles billions of dollars.
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund, whose portfolio is worth NZ$22bn ($18bn, £11.8bn, €14bn), has sold its entire NZ$1.8bn stake in the Barrick Gold Corporation and its NZ$78,000 holding in the subsidiary African Barrick Gold.
It will now exclude any financial links with the company on responsible investment grounds.
The fund cites continuing security-related, environmental and community problems with the group’s mines in Papua New Guinea and Tanzania. It is particularly worried about the dumping of mine water in local rivers.
Anne-Maree O’Connor, the fund’s head of responsible investment, says these actions conflict with the human rights and environmental standards of the UN Global Compact, the criteria against which her organisation measures corporate conduct.
The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation are similarly opposed to riverine tailings disposal and no longer finance projects involving the practice.
The fund says recent efforts by the company to change its ways appear to have little chance of succeeding.
Responsible mining is “an absolute priority for Barrick” said a Barrick spokesman, adding that the company operates in some very complex environments, “where many of the most challenging issues pre-date Barrick’s arrival.”
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