March 2, 2012 / 8:54 PM / 6 years ago

Barrick names human rights, ecology advisory panel

TORONTO (Reuters) - Barrick Gold named a corporate social responsibility board on Friday, which will advise the world’s top gold producer on community relations, sustainable development and human rights, as miners around the globe face tougher public and investor scrutiny of their activities.

Toronto-based Barrick was hit by a torrent of criticism last year after at least five people were killed and many more were hurt, when hundreds of people raided a gold mine in Tanzania owned by its subsidiary African Barrick Gold.

Some of Barrick’s peers have faced similar issues at their mines, while others have encountered strong opposition to their projects.

There have been scores of shootings by unidentified snipers around Freeport McMoRan’s huge Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia in recent years, with victims including workers, illegal miners and security officers.

Construction work at Newmont’s $4.8 billion Conga gold-copper project in Peru has been halted since November, following weeks of protests against the development.

The Peruvian government has asked three foreign experts to evaluate Newmont’s environmental impact study for Conga, which would be the largest mining investment in Peru’s history if it is built.

Barrick said the five-member board will also advise it on the structuring of both its ongoing and future corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and programs.

The board is comprised of notable experts in the CSR field, including Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the former head of the United Nations Environment Program, and Robert Fowler, who was Canada’s longest serving ambassador to the United Nations.

“Their input and guidance will help us to further improve our practices and manage emerging issues affecting our company and the global mining industry,” Barrick Chief Executive Aaron Regent said in a statement.

Reporting By Euan Rocha; editing by Rob Wilson

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