GLENCORE Xstrata's Zambian copper mine is back in the spotlight after campaigners complained to the European Investment Bank (EIB) over a secret report into whether the firm evaded tax.
A Chilean court has annulled the record-breaking fine imposed by a local regulator on Barrick Gold Corp for damage caused by its Pascua Lama gold-silver project, saying the original court documents were riddled with "errors and illegalities". But operations at Pascua-Lama must remain suspended while Barrick improves water management systems at the US$8.5 billion project on the Chilean-Argentinian border. Barrick is a Canadian company in which there is major British investment.
A 96-page report from Human Rights Watch, "Whose Development?: Human Rights Abuses in Sierra Leone's Mining Boom," documents how the government and London-based African Minerals Limited forcibly relocated hundreds of families from verdant slopes to a flat, arid area in Tonkolili District. As a result, residents lost their ability to cultivate crops and engage in income generating activities that once sustained them. Police carried out a bloody crackdown in the town of Bumbuna in April 2012 to quell a protest by workers who went on strike after being barred from forming a union of their own choosing.
China's "excess steel capacity" is "like the sword of Damocles hanging over the country's steel industry" - to such an extent that "some of the largest steel mills in China have turned to raising pigs and running plumbing services to stay in the black". This will affect major suppliers of iron ore like Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
The UK and other governments have succeeded in watering down new European rules designed to boost corporate transparency, by blocking plans that would have required large private companies to report on their environmental and social impacts, alongside firmslisted on stock exchanges.
Posco's proposed steel plant near Paradip in Odisha, India, seems to be plagued by conflict. Recently, the supporters of the project have taken up to agitation against Posco alleging non-fulfillment of promises made by the company and the local administration. While the movement opposing the project has delayed its execution, this fresh agitation by supporters has become another problem for Posco and the Odisha government. British-based investors in South Korean company Posco include Barclays, Alliance Bernstein/Alliance Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust PLC, and Henderson Far East Income Limited. (Photo: AFP)
A new treaty could be used to police the expected rise in deep-sea mining. It could also ensure that gains from marine genetic resources are fairly shared. Capacity building is needed to help developing nations exploit their resources. London-listed Nautilus and Canadian company Neptune, in which Anglo American is a major shareholder, are among deep sea mining's front-runners.