London-listed platinum miner awaits takeover as Marikana community repeat demands for justice nearly seven years after mineworker massacre.
Lonmin AGM protest: March 25, 10-11am, Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5
An international alliance of community, solidarity and non-governmental organizations demand that British-South African company Lonmin meet its obligations to the Marikana community after the massacre of 34 striking mineworkers in 2012. The speaker of the alliance, Bishop Jo Seoka, calls upon Lonmin to ensure implementation of its Social Labour Plan (1) and to secure 12,600 jobs.
The alliance also calls for the release of all mineworkers imprisoned because of their actions during the strike and to prosecute all physical and intellectual authors of the massacre, including Lonmin’s executives; to pay reparations to the affected parties, including all dependents of the deceased mineworkers and the injured and arrested workers who survived the Massacre; and for Lonmin to take responsibility for the environmental destruction at Marikana. Read the community’s demands in full.
On 25 March, the alliance will protest in front of Lonmin’s AGM – to be held at 11.00 – a surprise AGM due to delays in its takeover by South African miner Sibanye-Stillwater as the main trade union in Marikana, AMCU, has its appeal heard in the courts. The alliance will demand a social covenant with the community, rather than simply a banker’s covenant with the shareholders and investors. The alliance will highlight and condemn the extractive imperialism that continues to profit from the exploitation of nature and labour in Marikana and across the African continent.
Sibanye-Stillwater is a multinational with one of the worst records on worker fatalities and environmental degradation in the South African mining industry, with 24 deaths in 2018 alone while making a profit of $109 million. 12,600 jobs are threatened, the loss of which would have a devastating effect on already impoverished communities.
The impunity of Lonmin and Sibyane-Stillwater are indicative of a mining industry that so far this year has seen Brazilian miner Vale’s Brumadinho tailings dam collapse, killing 300 people, Glencore’s sulphuric acid spill in DRC killing 20, and a fatal incident underground in AngloAmerican’s Moranbah North mine in Australia.
South African Bishop Jo Seoka: “The workers and community of Marikana are worried that when Lonmin disappears as an entity, no-one will be held accountable for its crimes against them and their environment”.
Lawyer for Imprisoned striking mineworkers, Andries Nkome: “Compensation should be fully implemented in relation to the widows”.
Marikana Solidarity Collective (comprising of: London Mining Network, Marikana Miners Solidarity Campaign, Decolonising Environmentalism and War on Want), Plough Back the Fruits, Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany.
London Mining Network: Lydia James
Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany: Markus Dufner
Phone: 0049-(0)221-599 56 47, Mobile: 0049-(0)173 713 52 37, email@example.com www.ethicalshareholders.org
(1)The Social Labour Plan was agreed in 2006, in which Lonmin outlines its plan to develop the community of Marikana. It details plans to build 5,500 houses for mineworkers and their families. In 13 years, Lonmin has only built around 300 houses. The community lives in absolute poverty with no water or electricity, working for a global mining company that is seeing increased revenue from their labour and their community’s natural resources.
- London-based investors have shares in both Lonmin and Sibanye Stillwater and, while the takeover will be by a South African company, British investors will still be involved, and therefore accountable. These include Majedie Asset Management, Schroders, Legal & General, Investec and Standard Life. Six of the ten banks that lend money to Lonmin are British banks.
- Lonmin’s primary customer is BASF, which buys 2 million euros’ worth of platinum every day and makes profits of 75 billion euros. The world’s largest chemical company emerged out of the IG Farben conglomerate, an essential part of the Nazi war effort which created and supplied Zyklon B gas to exterminate over 6 million Jews, Roma, disabled and queer people, and had a private forced labour camp constructed next to Auschwitz which alone killed 25,000 people.
- Over $1 trillion of Africa’s natural resources are listed on the London Stock Exchange, a land area over four times the size of the UK.
- The extraction and processing of natural resources accounts for over 90% of global biodiversity loss and water stress, as well as approximately 53% of all carbon emissions. High-income countries, such as the UK, are reliant on primary materials mobilised elsewhere in the world, with a material footprint of consumption 13 times the level of low-income groups.
- Lonmin was founded in 1909 as the London and Rhodesian Mining Company (Lonrho) during the brutal white supremacist occupation of Zimbabwe under Cecil Rhodes.
- On 16 August 2012, Lonmin called South African police forces to end a strike of miners at the Marikana platinum mine. The police killed 34 miners and injured more than 70 at an incident which is known as the Marikana Massacre. Since the massacre, Lonmin has been accused of complicity in processes of intimidation, criminalisation and incarceration of miners and their families, with many still imprisoned for their actions during the strike while impunity reigns for the corporation’s executives despite the allegations against them.
- Lonmin paid $607 million in dividends to its shareholders, including Glencore and Investec, in the four years preceding the massacre. Lonmin also diverted $167 million to tax havens in Bermuda. Just 20% of the dividends paid to shareholders would have paid for 5500 affordable homes promised to their workers and the community in the Social Labour Plan.
- South Africa ranks highest in the world for the Gini income inequality index. At the time of the Massacre, the chief executive Ian Farmer was being remunerated £1.22 million, 236 times more than the rock drillers murdered for going on strike for a living wage. This clearly demonstrates the extreme exploitation of Black African labour to benefit white European financial and mining capital.
- President Ramaphosa was the chair of the transformation committee on Lonmin’s Executive Board responsible for delivering the Social Labour Plan, which delivered only three, uninhabitable showhouses by the time of the massacre. He is worth at least $550 million, and owns 31 properties. As Deputy President of the ANC at the time, he was instrumental in orchestrating between Lonmin and the South African government, infamously calling the miners on strike ‘dastardly criminals’ who should be met with ‘concomitant action.’
- While platinum is most often used in catalytic converters in cars as a means to reduce air pollution, an estimated 36% of all South African miners suffer from fatal lung disease silicosis because mines lack proper ventilation. Lonmin exceeded dust pollution and sulphur dioxide limits every year up to 2012 without receiving any sanctions. This shows how resources are extracted from the Global South for profit and consumption in the Global North, while ecological debts are externalised back to the Global South.