This is a first, and I had to share the article. The precious gemstones miner Gemfields has agreed to pay £5.8 million (about $7.8 million) to community members residing near its Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique, in a “no admission of liability” move that settles a claim of human rights abuses brought against it by locals. Security forces employed by the miner had shot, beat and subjected its clients to humiliating treatment and sexual abuse. I applaud this outcome for the communities and the work of the law firm who fought this, and I also wonder, given that Mozambique gems are now gaining ground because of their higher quality compared to the usual providers (Rise of the Mozambican Ruby), what will be the effect on the gems’ price in Mozambique? how many times have you seen a European firm settle victims in Africa? For the full article, go to: Mining.com and Journal du Cameroun.
The United Kingdom mining firm, Gemfields, has agreed to pay £5.8 million to 273 Mozambicans who alleged they were victims of human rights violations at its Montepuez ruby mine in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, APA can report on Wednesday. Gemfields, which is the majority shareholder in Montepuez Ruby Mining Ltd (MRM) has settled the claim on a “no-admission-of-liability basis” and acknowledged that “in the past, instances of violence have occurred on and around the MRM licence area, both before and after Gemfields’ arrival in Montepuez”.
The British legal company Leigh Day, which represented the 273 people in a class action, also recognised that “Gemfields has taken the claimant’s allegations seriously and has been proactive and constructive in addressing the wider issues raised by local communities through this case”.
Last February, Gemfields noted that the claim alleges that Gemfields and MRM are liable for human rights abuses including the deaths and mistreatment of artisanal miners and the seizure of land without due process.
… In addition to settling the claim through mediation, Gemfields has agreed to provide half a million pounds to establish further community projects to improve the long-term agricultural productivity and livelihoods of residents of Ntoro and Namucho.
It also agreed to establish an independent grievance mechanism for people to obtain a timely response to complaints.
This will be overseen by international experts.
Gemfields’ chief executive Sean Gilbertson stressed that “we wish to ensure that we are regarded as trusted and transparent partners to members of our local communities, rather than legal adversaries”.
According to Leigh Day’s Daniel Leader, the settlement “provides significant redress to our clients and importantly puts in place a credible and independent mechanism for providing remedy to those we have been unable to represent.
These incidents should never have happened. However, we commend Gemfields for engaging constructively to resolve this case promptly and for putting in place an independent grievance mechanism”. …