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Petra Reaches $6M Settlement over Abuse Claims

May 13, 2021 9:03 AM   By Rapaport News
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Petra Diamonds has agreed to pay $6 million (GBP 4.3 million) to settle violence claims at its Williamson mine in Tanzania.

Some 71 anonymous claimants brought accusations of human-rights breaches at the site over several years. UK-based nonprofit Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) documented at least seven deaths and 41 assaults by security workers at Williamson since Petra acquired the mine in 2009.

The payout includes a sum that UK law firm Leigh Day — which represented the Tanzanian nationals — will distribute to the claimants, Petra said Wednesday. The total will also cover the claimants’ legal expenses, as well as “significant” funds the miner will invest in long-term support programs for the communities around the mine. Petra has not admitted liability.

Petra has also published the findings of its investigation into the claims, acknowledging that death, injury and the “mistreatment of illegal diggers” had occurred at the mine.

The incidents involved a third-party security provider and the police, it noted. During the probe, no evidence emerged that staff members from Williamson Diamonds Limited — the subsidiary that operates the mine — had been directly involved in the actions in question, Petra insisted.

“The board regrets the loss of life, injury and mistreatment that appears to have taken place around the mine,” said Peter Hill, Petra’s non-executive chairman. “The agreement reached with the claimants, combined with the other actions put in place, are aimed at providing redress and preventing the possibility of future incidents.”

The miner has also agreed to a “framework” toward making an additional payment dealing with another 25 claimants who came forward while negotiations were going on, it added.

“Only after the detailed investigation by RAID and legal action by British human-rights lawyers did [Petra] publicly respond to the dreadful security-related practices at its mine,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, RAID’s executive director. “Petra Diamonds should also provide remedy to victims who may not yet have come forward and ensure there is rigorous monitoring of its security operations to prevent any more abuses from occurring.”

Image: The Williamson mine. (Hansueli Krapf)
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Tags: Anneke Van Woudenberg, Leigh Day, Peter Hill, petra, Petra Diamonds, raid, Rapaport News, Rights and Accountability in Development, Williamson, Williamson Diamonds Limited, Williamson Mine
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