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Petra agrees to pay £4.3 mln to victims of Williamson human rights abuse

13 may 2021
Petra Diamonds Limited (PDL) has settled on a no admission of liability basis, about claims brought in London by Leigh Day, a UK based law firm, on behalf of 71 anonymous claimants, concerning alleged breaches of human rights at the Williamson Mine in Tanzania. 
The mine is operated by Williamson Diamonds Limited (WDL), which is 75% owned by Petra.
The agreed total settlement figure is £4.3 million, which includes the sum to be distributed to the claimants by Leigh Day, a contribution to the claimants' legal expenses, and significant funds that Petra has committed to invest in programmes dedicated to providing long-term sustainable support to the communities living around the Mine.
It said the agreement also includes a framework according to which an additional payment will be made by Petra in respect of up to 25 additional potential claimants who have come forward during the final stages of the settlement negotiations.
"The Company, Board and Management are deeply concerned and saddened by the allegations, which relate to the treatment of illegal diggers and others on or around the Williamson mine site in Tanzania, by third-party security providers," said Petra non-executive chairperson Peter Hill.
"The Board regrets the loss of life, injury and mistreatment that appears to have taken place around the mine. 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."
Following its investigation, Petra acknowledges that past incidents have taken place that regrettably resulted in the loss of life, injury and the mistreatment of illegal diggers, within the WDL Special Mining Licence area ("SML"). 
The incidents in question involved WDL's third-party security provider Zenith Security as well as the Tanzanian Police Force ("TPF"). During the investigation, no evidence emerged that WDL personnel was directly involved in these actions.
"While PDL is not directly involved in operations at the Mine and had no direct involvement in the events, it believes that the agreed settlement balances the interests of its stakeholders with those of the local community and avoids contesting protracted and expensive litigation where, even if Petra prevailed, it is unlikely that its legal costs would have been recoverable," it said.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished