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.
and it is appointing a new CEO who will apparently make everything better – something which I find difficult to believe.
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.
Co-ordinator, London Mining Network.
Tuesday 3rd December, 6.15-9pm, Hornbeam Cafe, 458 Hoe St, Walthamstow, E17 9AH.
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
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.
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
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”.
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
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.
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 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.
Mike Henry, 53, has a reputation as a thoughtful, ethical, diligent leader, more a safe pair of hands than an aggressive company builder.
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.
Testimony from people affected by Rio Tinto’s Panguna mine and the war that it sparked in Bougainville (large pdf file)
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.
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?
“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.
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
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.
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’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.”
Huge steps are being taken to reduce the UK’s dependency on the dirtiest of all fuels: coal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Oyu Tolgoi, the world’s third-largest copper mine, runs into more trouble
IEA says deep disparity between words and action on climate change risks failing to cap global temperatures
Governments’ wholehearted support for the fossil-fuel industry is to blame
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.
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.
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 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.
Some tout nuclear energy as ‘clean,’ but it’s hardly that, even with technological advancements
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.