Petra Diamonds investigates allegations artisanal miners shot on Williamson mine

Truck transporting ore at Petra's Williamson mine. Source: Petra Diamonds

PETRA Diamonds is investigating allegations artisanal miners who trespassed on the firm’s Williamson mine in Tanzania were detained, beaten and shot at, killing at least seven of them, said Reuters citing a report by UK non-governmental organisation, RAID.

The RAID report alleged security contractors and security employees of Petra’s subsidiary Williamson Diamonds (WDL) used excessive force. Petra Diamonds told Reuters a specialist external adviser was conducting an investigation and said an external consultancy had been appointed to assess WDL’s management of its security.

“The board of Petra Diamonds finds the allegations of human rights abuses at the Williamson mine in Tanzania to be deeply concerning and is taking the matter extremely seriously,” said Petra Diamonds, which owns 75% of WDL. The Tanzanian government owns the balance of WDL.

Petra said the investigation would be completed by the end of 2020.

WDL has suspended the mine chief security officer and the support services manager, an interim measure taken “whether or not there is any substance in the allegations”, Petra CEO, Richard Duffy, said in a letter to RAID dated October 13.

In its report, RAID said it had “found evidence indicating that since Petra Diamonds acquired the Williamson Mine in 2009, there have been at least seven killings and 41 assaults of local residents, many leading to life-changing injuries.”

Petra mothballed Williamson mine after Covid-19 disease caused rough diamond prices to plunge.

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