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Petra Faces Claims of Human-Rights Abuses

UK law firm and NGO allege killings and violence at Williamson mine.
Sep 10, 2020 6:57 AM   By Rapaport News
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 Petra Diamonds has received allegations of human-rights abuses at its Williamson mine in Tanzania, including claims of killings and on-site violence.

Security guards at Williamson shot or seriously beat people at the mine, causing deaths and serious injuries, UK law firm Leigh Day claimed Wednesday. Most of the alleged abuses were the acts of private contractors that Petra had deployed to protect diamonds from locals, according to the firm, which is representing 35 individuals, including relatives of alleged victims. Leigh Day has informed Petra of the claims and issued them in the High Court in London.

Meanwhile, RAID, a UK-based nongovernmental organization, said it had documented a range of alleged abuses, included shooting, beatings and other assaults. At least seven killings and 35 assaults have taken place since Petra acquired Williamson in 2009, RAID alleged.

Petra takes the accusations “extremely seriously,” the miner said, adding that its local subsidiary, Williamson Diamonds Limited, was carrying out an investigation with the support of an independent consultant.

However, illegal artisanal mining has been taking place at Williamson “over a period of time” as the large site is hard to secure, the company added. The local subsidiary and local government authorities manage these illicit activities on an ongoing basis, it noted.

Image: Dump trucks at the Williamson mine. (Petra Diamonds)
Tags: human rights, Leigh Day, mining, petra, Petra Diamonds, raid, Rapaport News, tanzania, UK, Williamson, Williamson Mine
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