Superannuation Fund blacklists mining firms

Last updated 14:57 13/05/2013

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The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has sold its stakes in Barrick Gold and one of its subsidiaries over human rights and environmental concerns, and has blacklisted the firms.

The sovereign wealth fund said the global miner's operations in Papua New Guinea and Tanzania conflicted with the standards contained in the UN Global Compact, and recent efforts by the company to change its ways appeared to have little chance of succeeding.

Anne-Maree O'Connor, who manages responsible investment for the fund, said the main issue was African Barrick Gold's practice of disposing of mine water in rivers, known as riverine tailings.

"Given the circumstances, we believe engagement with Barrick would be unlikely to be successful, and until it is evident that significant improvements can be made on the ground we will be excluding both companies from our portfolio," she said.

The Super Fund, which manages a total investment portfolio of $22 billion, owned a $1.8 million stake in Barrick Gold, and $78,824 in African Barrick Gold, as of December 31. Both stakes have since been sold.

According to the fund, riverine tailings breach international norms, with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation no longer financing projects that make use this form of waste disposal.

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