Dear friends,

We have a bumper newsletter for you this time as it has been a while since we sent you the usual roundup of mining news. Remember that we send out news almost daily on Twitter, sharing interesting articles from the mining press and news of community struggles around the world as well as our own activities and those of our allies. You don’t have to sign up to Twitter to be able to see most of the material that we are sharing.

Our Twitter feed carries news of the demonstration outside Tuesday’s gala dinner and award ceremony at the annual Mines and Money Conference, and contributions to the Mines and Money Twitter feed on women and mining – in our case, women struggling against mining.
If you will be close enough, do come to our next event, this coming Tuesday in Walthamstow in east London – a screening of the film Daughter of the Lake and discussion with the film maker, Ernesto Cabellos.
Last week, Lydia sent you news of our recent activities, especially around the October AGM of the world’s largest mining company, BHP. This newsletter contains three further articles linked to the AGM: a report on our BHP education project  and articles from the Daily Telegraph and Red Pepper. We also publish a report by US students on water quality around the Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia, a mine owned by BHP, Anglo American and Glencore.
There is plenty more news about BHP below as well: it is increasing its involvement in Ecuador just as local communities emphatically reject mining; it is setting aside $44 million for reopening the disastrous Samarco iron ore mine which it owns jointly with Brazilian mining giant Vale; we learn of continuing problems around the Ok Tedi mine, a catastrophically polluting mine in Papua New Guinea which the company exited;
and it is appointing a new CEO who will apparently make everything better – something which I find difficult to believe.
Even more topical is the news about Rio Tinto’s legacy in Bougainville. Bougainville is an island to the east of Papua New Guinea (PNG) which, because of the vagaries of colonial boundaries, was incorporated into that country. It was in Bougainville that Rio Tinto-controlled Bougainville Copper Limited ran the Panguna copper-gold mine, dumping mine wastes straight into the local river sustem and causing such outrage that many local people took up arms and fought for independence. A tenth of the island’s population was killed in the ensuing war and the blockade imposed by Australia and PNG, and the mine was abandoned. Peace came when the PNG government agreed that the island could enjoy greater autonomy from PNG and eventually vote on independence. That vote is happening now, over a period of several weeks. Rio Tinto has ‘given’ the Panguna mine to the governments of Bougainville and PNG and belives it has not further responsibility for cleaning up the toxic mine wastes that it left behind. Local people, whether they are in favour of mining or opposed to it, are united in their view that Rio Tinto should be obliged to clean up the mess it left behind. The Panguna Listening Project recently published a report, We Are Crying For Our Land, about the experiences of people affcetd by Rio Tinto’s operations in Bougainville, the war and the legacy of mine waste.
Given the appalling messes created by the Panguna and Ok Tedi copper mines (and umpteen others) it is alarming that the mining industry and its allies are carrying on as if the solution to climate change lies in a massive expansion of copper mining, along with the mining of lithium, cobalt, so-called ‘rare’ earths, and other minerals supposedly needed for the ‘green’ economic transformation. We must stop using coal, oil and gas as soon as possible or we will unleash a climate apocalypse – but we must ALSO stop extracting uranium because nobody has yet worked out how to make nuclear waste safe for the next hundred thousand years and we must reduce, not increase, extraction of many minerals touted as ‘green’, because the massive pollution and social dislocation that this mining causes are unconscionable, as the latest bulletin from World Rainforest Movement points out.
What we have to do instead is use our enormous collective intelligence to dismantle corporate power and the consumerist culture which it encourages and move towards a post-extractivist economy.
Much thinking and experimentation is already going on about this. There is hope, and there are concrete examples – and some of them are described in the first news article below.

We finish on a note of hope as well – with Pope Francis calling for an international law on ecocide.

And, as always, there’s plenty more news below.

All the best,
Richard Solly,
Co-ordinator, London Mining Network.
Film screening – Hija de la Laguna/Daughter of the Lake

Tuesday 3rd December, 6.15-9pm, Hornbeam Cafe, 458 Hoe St, Walthamstow, E17 9AH.

Just beneath Peru’s Yanacocha lake, Latin America’s largest gold mining company has discovered a deposit valued at billions of dollars. Farmers who live downstream oppose the project, because they fear running out of water. When Nelida joins the march from her homeland to Lima, she realizes she’s not alone. The film will be followed by Q&As with filmmaker Ernesto Cabellos.
ACCESSIBILITY: The venue is on the ground floor, with a small toilet on the ground floor.
We are asking for a £3 donation to cover the costs of the venue and to support the filmmaker (no worries if this isn’t something you can do, or if you’re able, please feel free to give a bit more as a solidarity donation).
In this mailout
1) Sowing the seeds of post-extractivism
2) News about BHP
3) Rio Tinto’s legacy in Bougainville
4) Deep sea mining in deep water
5) Problems with the ‘green’ energy transition
6) Coal in the UK
7) Mining tailings (fine wastes) dams
8) Rio Tinto in Madagascar
9) Rio Tinto in trouble in Mongolia
10) Ranger uranium rehabitation costs will be met by Rio Tinto
11) How Indigenous Anti-Mining Activists in South Africa Are Fighting to Protect Their Titanium-Rich Land From a Foreign Mining Conglomerate
12) Dalradian Gold withdraws sponsorship of Irish awards
13) Sirius Minerals unveils rescue plan for UK’s biggest fertilizer mine
14) Lydian scores small victory for its gold project in Armenia
15) Mining tycoons lose challenge to UK bribery investigation
16) Coal and climate change
17) The dangers of nuclear energy
18) How Do Companies Act – new campaign from Social Value UK
19) The Mining Industry and Ecological Transformation
20) New report: People defending the environment are being murdered
21) Pope calls for Ecocide law


1) Sowing the seeds of post-extractivism
All around our living planet communities are standing on the frontlines of pitched battles to protect sacred lands and waters from destruction by the mining industry – the most-deadly source of environmental conflict on Earth. These same communities are also defending-old and innovating-new alternatives to the socially unjust and ecologically unviable extractive ‘development’ model that so often brings destruction and displacement to their lands. Their alternatives are not linear, monocultural dreams of GDP growth, ‘trickle down’ wealth and material gain. Rather they are as plural and diverse as the territories they arise from.
2) News about BHP
Globalise struggle, globalise hope – reflections from BHP education project

In the second year of LMN’s BHP Witness project, we conducted two workshops at Kingston University with first year students around the annual shareholders’ meeting of mining giant BHP, in October.

Why is mining giant BHP able to dodge its responsibilities?

The British-Australian company is complicit in the harms its joint owned Cerrejón mine has wrought on people and the environment in Colombia, writes Claire Hamlett

BHP boss says mining can help the world go green

The boss of BHP has mounted a staunch defence of the mining industry in the face of furious climate change protests, saying it is “the locomotive of the green future”.

Dangerous levels of mercury found in river in Colombian region of La Guajira

In early July 2019, Fulbright researchers (a US grants programme) based in La Guajira, Colombia, organized a small water study in the zone of influence of Cerrejon mine. Using equipment borrowed from the University of Los Andes, they tested the temperature, pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen of 12 different sites (including three points along the Ranchería River, one point along the Arroyo Bruno, one rainwater catchment reservoir, a natural spring and three wells in Wayuu communities).

BHP becomes Ecuador-focused SolGold’s largest shareholder

The mining giant said it had paid 17.1 million pounds ($22 million) to raise its interest in SolGold, a move that makes it the Ecuador-focused company’s top shareholder. Such position was held until today by Australia’s largest gold producer, Newcrest Mining.
Community Assembly in Ecuador Threatened by BHP Votes to Reject Mining

A community assembly in Intag on the 23rd November – an area BHP touts as being its Ecuador stronghold – ended with the almost unanimous rejection of mining in the area. The meeting was held only the day before rumours surfaced that BHP would be increasing their stake in SolGold.

PNG’s Ok Tedi mine disaster money locked in new legal fight

A fresh legal dispute has erupted over control of a fund set up to benefit the tens of thousands of villagers affected by mining giant BHP’s environmental disaster at the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea more than 20 years ago.

BHP earmarks $44 million for Samarco reopening four years after dam burst

BHP has approved $44 million for the restart of operations at Samarco Mineração, its iron ore joint venture with Vale in Brazil, four years after a deadly dam collapse that killed 19 people and became the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history. The world’s largest miner said the funding would go towards the construction of a filtration plant over the next 12 months, after which the mine will resume production.

BHP’s incoming CEO a much needed breeze of fresh air for the mining industry

Mike Henry, 53, has a reputation as a thoughtful, ethical, diligent leader, more a safe pair of hands than an aggressive company builder.

BHP’s Henry signals new technology a focus in first speech

Incoming BHP Group Chief Executive Mike Henry said the world’s biggest miner is prioritising new developments in technology to cut costs and improve safety, including collaborations with tech start-ups and researchers.

3) Rio Tinto’s legacy in Bougainville
We are crying for our land: stories from the Panguna Listening Project

Testimony from people affected by Rio Tinto’s Panguna mine and the war that it sparked in Bougainville (large pdf file)

A $60 billion mine propels Bougainville’s independence vote

Born out of bloodshed, colonial politics, civil war and the pursuit of mining riches, the independence referendum on the island of Bougainville starting on Saturday has been a long time coming.

Birth of a nation? Bougainville’s independence referendum explained

At the heart of the story of Bougainvillean independence is a mine, which lies at the centre of the main island. Panguna mine, a huge open-cut gold and copper mine, provided 45% of Papua New Guinea’s export income in the years after it opened in 1972. As Papua New Guinea became independent of Australia in 1975, Bougainvilleans began to ask whether or not Bougainville would fare better on its own, rather than having its resources cut out and used to prop up a bigger nation. In 1988, tensions over the mine escalated, causing Papua New Guinean police and defence force officers to be deployed on the island. Fighting between the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and PNG government forces developed into a full-blown civil war, which saw an estimated 20,000 people, out of a population at the time of 200,000, killed.

Can Bougainville rebuild on the broken corporate dreams of the colonial age?

To view the Panguna pit is to witness an industrial apocalypse and one of the largest man-made holes in the world; a vast open-cut copper and gold mine in the highlands of Bougainville island, slowly being reclaimed by jungle.
Bougainville: “Mining Madness” before the referendum

“Are they f—king mad? Re-opening Panguna would be a disaster!” This excoriating statement comes from a Rio Tinto executive who worked at the Panguna mine in Bougainville, when it was owned and managed by the British-Australian company. The relevance of his comment should be judged against the following summary of moves and machinations by Australian uber-investors, now taking advantage of the island’s imminent referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea, to bid for the long-abandoned prospect, regardless of the views of its true indigenous landowners.

4) Deep sea mining in deep water
Nautilus Minerals: still lost at sea with no life raft in sight

On 21st November, Nautilus Mineral’s court-appointed monitors, Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) confirmed that the relevant legal papers had been filed to assign Nautilus Minerals Inc. into bankruptcy. Whilst this news was expected, there has been no news on their plans for the Solwara 1 deep sea mining project in Papua New Guinea, leaving local communities and civil society who are opposed to the project with many questions.

Nautilus Minerals officially sinks, shares still trading

Nautilus Minerals, one of the world’s first seafloor miners, officially went bankrupt this week, its court-appointed monitor, Price Waterhouse Cooper reported.
Mining the Deep Sea: Stories for suckers, and corporate capture of the UN

When I mention that the global mining industry is eyeing the deep seabed as the next frontier in mining I am commonly met with gasps of disbelief and dismay. That gut reaction is often followed up with sensible exclamations about the fact that the world’s oceans are already overstressed by contaminants from human activity, such as plastics, and by overfishing, and, from those in the know, by acidification. Unsurprisingly, these apprehensions do not factor into the rapacious ambitions of industry pitchers for deep-sea mining, nor do they—another gasp of dismay—appear to temper the outright enthusiasm for this new form of mining shown by some highly placed officials in relevant UN bodies.

5) Problems with the ‘green’ energy transition
A Mineral-Intensive “Green” Energy Transition: Deforestation and Injustice in the Global South

A new bulletin from the World Rainforest Movement shows how a mineral-intensive energy and industrial transition will lead to ‘deforestation and injustice in the Global South’.

The European Union Continues to Chase After Raw Materials

The European Union’s policy pursues growth at any price. “Green” technologies require an increasing amount and variety of metals and minerals. Millions of public funds flow every year from the European Investment Bank to mining projects—under the cloak of “development.”

6) Coal in the UK
The tide is turning against UK coal

Huge steps are being taken to reduce the UK’s dependency on the dirtiest of all fuels: coal.

Interview with Don Kent – I want justice and to make sure Banks can’t do it again

Don is a resident local to the Bradley opencast coal mine, in the Pont Valley, and a long term campaigner against opencast coal mining in the Pennine hills. In 2018 he got involved in the Campaign to Protect Pont Valley, to try and stop Banks Group from starting a new opencast coal mine, and is now taking a private prosecution against the company, with the support of his community.

Coal Action Network joins requests for Whitehaven mine to be called in

West Cumbria Mining have been granted planning permission for the on land section of a coking coal mine which would reach under the Irish sea. Led by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole and South Lakes Action on Climate Change – towards transition, a number of campaign groups and the local MP, Mr Farron, have called for the government to ‘call in’ the decision. This would mean that the approval by Cumbria County Council is reconsidered by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local government who would give the final decision.

7) Mining tailings (fine wastes) dams
SEC opens preliminary probe of Vale over dam tragedy

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has opened a preliminary investigation of iron ore miner Vale over the collapse of a Brazilian mining waste dam that killed more than 250 people in January.

Massive mining waste dams could pose deadly risks, say investors

A global inquiry into how mining companies store billions of tonnes of waste in huge dams, launched after a collapse in Brazil killed hundreds, shows about a tenth of the structures have had stability issues, investors said. The research was led by the Church of England (CoE) and fund managers after the collapse of a Vale dam in January unleashed an avalanche of mining waste on the Brazilian town of Brumadinho, killing an estimated 300 people. The investor review, which found at least 166 dams have had stability issues in the past, relied on companies’ disclosures about their dams holding mining waste, known as tailings.

Proposed standards for mining waste dams draw concerns from industry trade group

The world’s largest mining trade group said it has concerns with global standards for mining waste dams being crafted by an independent panel of academics and engineers, especially how the new rules will apply equally to new and existing facilities.

8) Rio Tinto in Madagascar
Madagascar regulator under scrutiny in breach at Rio Tinto-controlled mine

A breach at an ilmenite mine in Madagascar that came to light earlier this year is drawing attention to possible lapses on the part of the country’s environmental regulator. A group of civil society organizations has asked the Malagasy government to intervene in the matter and to hold consultations to strengthen regulatory oversight of the extractive industries. In response, the Malagasy government said it will look into the actions of the National Office for the Environment (ONE), the agency responsible for overseeing the mine, which is owned by London-based mining giant Rio Tinto. However, two months on, the government has shared no updates about its inquiry with the civil society groups that requested its intervention.

Promoting transparency in Madagascar

As part of its research and advocacy around the Rio Tinto/QMM mine in southern Madagascar, in particular its inquiry into the breach of the environmental buffer zone and concomitant questions around water contamination, new LMN member group the Andrew Lees Trust has been working closely with Publish What You Pay (PWYP) in the UK and in Madagascar to address questions around the relationship between Qit Minerals Madagascar (QMM) and the national environmental regulator, The National Office for the Environment (ONE).

9) Rio Tinto in trouble in Mongolia
Rio Tinto’s Giant Mongolia Project Dealt Another Blow

Rio Tinto Group has another headache to deal with in Mongolia, as the government looks set to lose a legal challenge to its agreement with the world’s second-biggest miner. Rio is building a giant underground copper mine, known as Oyu Tolgoi, in the country. Yet the project has been beset by delays, legal probes, cost overruns and government pressure.

Mongolia seeks better terms for its vast mining project

Oyu Tolgoi, the world’s third-largest copper mine, runs into more trouble

10) Ranger uranium rehabitation costs will be met by Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto said it will subscribe to $221 million rights shares of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA), which has been desperately seeking funds to close and rehabilitate a controversial uranium mine.
11) How Indigenous Anti-Mining Activists in South Africa Are Fighting to Protect Their Titanium-Rich Land From a Foreign Mining Conglomerate
Institute for Social Research releases Working Document #2 on the struggles of the indigenous Xolobeni community to protect their land.
12) Dalradian Gold withdraws sponsorship of Irish awards
Mining companies will often try to “green” their credentials by offering support to local communuities’ other endeavours. It’s something that Rio Tinto introduced in the 1980’s and has been replicated since by other companies. But, when Canadian company Dalradian Gold encountered resistance from villagers in Northern Ireland, to a new mine proposal – by way of its co-sponsorship of “Business Excellence Awards” – this was  clearly a step too far.
13) Sirius Minerals unveils rescue plan for UK’s biggest fertilizer mine
Sirius Minerals, the British company building a huge fertilizer mine beneath a national park, is seeking a strategic investor to help fund a revised two-stage development plan for its Woodsmith project.
14) Lydian scores small victory for its gold project in Armenia
Lydian International scored a small victory for its gold project in Armenia after an appeals court rejected a motion to revoke Amulsar’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), approved in April 2016.
15) Mining tycoons lose challenge to UK bribery investigation
A U.K. judge dismissed efforts by mining tycoons to stop British prosecutors from bringing charges in a wide-ranging investigation into fraud, bribery and corruption, bolstering the Serious Fraud Office in one of its longest-running and most sensitive investigations.
16) Coal and climate change
Climate change: do more now or risk catastrophe, warns energy agency

IEA says deep disparity between words and action on climate change risks failing to cap global temperatures

The world’s climate goals are not sufficient. They are also unlikely to be met

Governments’ wholehearted support for the fossil-fuel industry is to blame

Coal mine methane leaks are worse for climate change than shipping & aviation combined

The IEA’s 800-page World Energy Outlook was released today, and hidden away in it is explosive new research on methane leaks from coal mines, writes Sandbag Electricity Analyst Dave Jones. In this blog, we try to make sense of the IEA research, and the implications that follow from it.

EU bank brokers late-night deal to phase out fossil fuels

The European Investment Bank (EIB) decided on 14 November to scrap financial support for fossil fuels from 2021, after marathon talks ended in a compromise that has been hailed as “a significant victory” for green policies.

Global funds management giant rejects Australian Prime Minister’s attack on activist investors

UK funds management giant Aberdeen Standard Investments has rejected Australian prime minister’s Scott Morrison’s call for companies to listen to “quiet shareholders” as part of a comprehensive rebuff of the government’s attack on activist investors and the environmental movement. The company is among shareholders in BHP who delivered large votes in favour of a resolution proposed by activist investor group the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility that, if passed, would have forced the mining giant to quit the Minerals Council of Australia and other lobby groups with a track record inconsistent with the company’s position on the climate crisis.

Anglo American sells stake in Australian coal mine for $141m

Anglo American said on Wednesday it had sold its minority stake in the Grosvenor coking coal mine in Australia for about $141 million to a consortium of Japanese companies.

17) The dangers of nuclear energy
Think fossil fuels are bad? Nuclear energy is even worse

Some tout nuclear energy as ‘clean,’ but it’s hardly that, even with technological advancements

Our children await a radioactive legacy

After 70 years of building and operating nuclear power plants across the world, governments are bequeathing to future generations a radioactive legacy.They remain unable to deal with the huge quantities of highly radioactive spent fuel they produce, says a group of independent experts − and as more reactors are reaching the end of their lives, the situation is worsening fast.

18) How Do Companies Act – new campaign from Social Value UK
Campaign from Social Value UK calling for reform of the Companies Act, s.172 and s.396 specifically. The current legal framework reinforces the status quo wherein (most) companies/businesses are legally bound to report and deliver a maximum financial return to shareholders over and above anything else. Certain reforms to the Companies Act should be considered to reflect changing attitudes in society, where most investors (including the general public) do not want to maximise profit if it means causing significant harm to people and the planet. TUC and High Pay Centre’s new research into the disproportionate levels of profit being extracted for shareholders of the UK’s largest companies confirms what we already know. The economy is rigged to maximise profits for shareholders at the expense of workers, society and the environment.
19) The Mining Industry and Ecological Transformation
“The mining industry continues to be at the forefront of colonial dispossession around the world. It controls information about its intrinsic costs and benefits, propagates myths about its contribution to the economy, shapes government policy and regulation, and deals ruthlessly with its opponents. Brimming with case studies, anecdotes, resources, and illustrations, Unearthing Justice exposes the mining process and its externalized impacts on the environment, Indigenous Peoples, communities, workers, and governments. But, most importantly, the book shows how people are fighting back. Whether it is to stop a mine before it starts, to get an abandoned mine cleaned up, to change laws and policy, or to mount a campaign to influence investors, Unearthing Justice is an essential handbook for anyone trying to protect the places and people they love.”
20) New report: People defending the environment are being murdered
Environmental defenders are under attack. A new report released by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) clearly demonstrates that people who protect the environment and human rights are increasingly being monitored, threatened, harassed – and even murdered.
21) Pope calls for Ecocide law
On Friday 15th November in the Vatican, at a meeting of the International Association of Penal Law, one of the oldest-established legal associations in the world, Pope Francis proposed that ‘sins against ecology’ be added to the Catholic teachings – and then went a step further, saying “ecocide” should be a fifth category of crimes against peace at the international level.