Leaflet distributed at Vedanta AGM, 27 July 2011
Matters of grave concern: Vedanta Collapses
Taking place here today (27 July 2011) is the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting of one of the world’s 20 leading mining companies, London-listed Vedanta Resources plc.
This company stands apart from its peers by having the worst health, safety and environment record of any mining company based in the UK – indeed virtually anywhere in the world.
We invite you to examine some of the accidents and disasters occurring on Vedanta’s watch within the past five years; the latest just eleven days ago:
16 July 2011: A waste dump at a Vedanta iron ore mine in Goa (India) collapses in numerous places: millions of tonnes of mud and silt flood into the village of Mulgao, swamping farmland, choking rivers and threatening people’s lives.
5 April 2011: Toxic wastes cascade from a breach in Vedanta’s caustic red mud pond at its Lanjigarh alumina refinery in Orissa (India), contaminating the adjacent Vamsadhara River.
16 May 2011: There’s a “copycat” failure at the same pond. Amnesty International warns that “thousands of families in…Orissa are [now] facing serious health risks during the imminent monsoon season.”
In July 2011, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh says the pollution has crossed the state border and “people in many mandals [administrative divisions] of Srikakulam district are facing health hazards due to contaminated drinking water.”
1 November 2010: Vedanta’s subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Zambia is fined for polluting the Kafue River, killing fish and leaving local inhabitants without tap water. This is the very river polluted by Vedanta four years earlier.
On 6 November 2006, acidified effluents cascaded from burst slurry pipelines at KCM. They gushed into the Kafue River, raising its copper concentrations to 1,000% of acceptable levels, concentrations of manganese to 77,000% (sic) of the legal limit; and those of cobalt to 10,000%. Domestic water supplies are cut off for 75,000 residents in the town of Chingola.
26 March 2010: Four workers die when ground collapses around them at Vedanta’s Nchanga copper mill in Zambia.
24 September 2009: A chimney, under construction for a coal-fired power plant at Vedanta’s Korba aluminium complex in India’s Chhattisgarh state, topples to the ground.  At least 41 workers are buried alive. Vedanta is accused by Korba’s police chief of illegally embarking on the construction at the outset. Three top Vedanta officials are arrested and charged with “culpable homicide” – one degree below murder.
In October 2010, Vedanta’s chairman, Anil Agarwal, is summoned to give evidence at the Korba District Court in answer to a charge of Criminal Trespass relating to the previous year’s events. He refuses to attend.
24 August 2009:  During heavy rains, a vast mudslide sweeps into underground workings of Vedanta’s Mt Lyell copper mine in Tasmania, Australia. The mine is closed, leaving 180 workers and their dependents stranded without paid leave.
Collapse of Vedanta’s credibility
Between November 2007 and 2011 a significant number of investment funds ejected Vedanta Resources from their portfolios, citing the company’s unethical behaviour and its failure to address human rights and environmental issues.
Among these were: Norway’s Government Pension Fund; the Church of England; PGGM (a major Dutch Pension Fund); the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust; and Northwest and Ethical Investments (Canada).
If you, your Pension Fund or Bank, currently finance Vedanta in any way, we urge that you seriously examine evidence of the company’s woeful failure to meet rudimentary operational standards, during the eight years since its admission to trading on the London Stock Exchange.
Norway’s Council on Ethics in November 2007 concluded that, continuing to invest in Vedanta would present “an unacceptable risk of contributing to grossly unethical activities.”
Since then, such activities have multiplied. So, too, have the reputational risks of backing a company that makes a mockery of “corporate social responsibility.”
For further information on Vedanta’s record, please see:
This leaflet was authored by Nostromo Research
for London Mining Network,
Phone 07929 023214
Email contact@londonminingnetwork.org