In view of the enormous destruction being wreaked on people and the environment by Freeport-Rio Tinto’s mining operations in West Papua, proposing the company appoint an “environmental expert” to its board doesn’t sound earth-shattering. Indeed, some would claim that the proposal doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. Nonetheless, Freeport has urged its shareholders to reject the motion, which will be submitted at Freeport’s annual general meeting in June.
The world’s biggest copper mining outfit claims it’s not “…in our shareholders’ best interests to require a particular type of specialist on our board.” After all, Freeport goes on, the board already has “diverse” representation from directors experienced in “geology, business, finance, international relations and public affairs.”
Sometimes a peremptory statement like this speaks volumes about a company’s innate “philosophy” – and lack of moral scruple.
Freeport is a US company – but London-listed Rio Tinto helped finance the expansion of its notorious Grasberg mine in West Papua and continues to profit from it.