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NGO Warns Petra Lenders About Abuse Claims

Jan 17, 2021 8:12 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), a UK-based nonprofit, has written to Petra Diamonds’ major debt holders to raise concerns about alleged human-rights abuses at its Williamson mine in Tanzania.

RAID claims to have documented at least seven deaths and 41 assaults by security workers at Williamson since Petra acquired the mine in 2009. It detailed the allegations in November in a public report, “The Deadly Cost of ‘Ethical’ Diamonds.”

The organization’s activism comes amid a restructuring at Petra, under which the miner’s lenders will take on equity in return for writing off heavy debts. Petra shareholders approved the transaction last week.

While that deal was in the works in December, RAID executive director Anneke Van Woudenberg sent letters to Bank of America, Monarch, Vontobel, Franklin Templeton, Pimco and BlueBay, urging them to review their relationships with Petra and raise the issue directly with the company, the organization said Wednesday. The group also wrote to other major Petra shareholders whose stakes will soon be diluted by the restructuring program but who remain “interested parties,” Van Woudenberg added.

Petra said it took the allegations “extremely seriously,” and has launched an investigation. It set up an independent board committee to review the matter, and expects to publish its findings during the first quarter of 2021.

Image: The Williamson mine. (Petra Diamonds)
Tags: Anneke Van Woudenberg, BlueBay, Franklin Templeton, NGO, nonprofit, petra, Petra Diamonds, Pimco, raid, Rapaport News, Rights and Accountability in Development, UK, Williamson
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