*UPDATE: GCM Resources have CANCELLED their AGM tomorrow. At 5.38pm they released a notice citing ‘security concerns’ again as the reason for cancellation. We will be responding to this in due course.*
London Mining Network and Phulbari Solidarity Group JOINT PRESS RELEASE
6th March 2020, for immediate release
Protesters in London and Bangladesh oppose AGM of GCM Resources Plc
- Loud and dramatic protests will be held outside of GCM Resources’ rescheduled AGM on Tuesday 10th March between 9am-11.30am at Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London, SE1 9DD, after GCM Resources announces date with just 9 days notice.
- The London-listed mining company has cancelled their last year’s meeting 36 hours before it was due to take place, citing ‘security’ concerns1.
- Communities in Phulbari, Bangladesh, are planning to march on foot from Phulbari to Dinajpur on 30th March, demanding that the Bangladeshi government take immediate legal action against the AIM-listed company.
- Bangladesh’s Deputy Energy Minister confirms that GCM has no valid license or asset in the country, and claims that the government will be taking legal action against them.
Loud and dramatic protests are being organised by the Phulbari Solidarity Group (1) and London Mining Network (2) alongside a wide coalition of organisations (3) at the AGM of the AIM-listed mining company GCM Resources Plc for the 11th consecutive year. Protesters will demand that GCM is delisted from the London Stock Exchange as it has no viable asset to its name, and has not held a license for coal exploration or mining in Bangladesh since 2006. Inside the AGM, dissident shareholders will attend the meeting, accusing the company of misleading shareholders and the London Stock Exchange. During GCM’s 2018 AGM, some activists glued themselves to the entrance of the building, preventing some shareholders from entering.2
In Bangladesh this month, the Phulbari communities are organising a long-march from Phulbari to Dinajpur to be held on 30th March under the banner of the National Committee of Bangladesh to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources and Power-Port. The long-march is to demand an end of speculation about whether GCM can obtain a license, to remove the GCM Resources office from Phulbari, to ban coal mining and to take legal action against the company for fraud and harassment of Phulbari residents(4). They maintain that GCM is responsible for the murder of three young boys and 200 injured in a 2006 demonstration. They had in December 2019 handed a memo to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (who is also Bangladesh’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources) via the UNO, asking her to take legal action against GCM immediately. As GCM had postponed AGM by habit of changing things at the last minute, seemingly to frustrate the plans of dissident shareholders, communities raged in Phulbari and in London.
Professor Anu Muhammad, the leader of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports of Bangladesh said:
“People’s resistance against GCM is still strong despite an environment of fear and surveillance. GCM’s fraudulent and illegal business must be stopped immediately by delisting it from the London Stock Exchange to stop its continuing manipulation and corrupt attempts at coal mining along with Chinese companies, its harassment of community leaders, and preparations for violent crimes against people and environment in the form of open cast coal mining and displacement.
Dr Rumana Hashem, the Chair of Phulbari Solidarity Coaltion and an organiser of the London protest says:
“London-listed companies are required to hold AGMs within 14 months of each other, 14 months was up by 28th February. The London Stock Exchange now needs to investigate whether GCM is in breach of the law. People in Phulbari have lived under the threat of displacement, and with the trauma of the Phulbari killings for more than 13 years. The London Stock Exchange has continued to list and generate capital for this company, despite its total lack of any viable mining asset in Bangladesh. We are calling on the Bangladeshi government to categorically end the speculation, remove GCM’s office from Phulbari, launch legal action against them, and pressure the London Stock Exchange to finally delist this criminal and fraudulent company. It is time to end the suffering for the residents of Phulbari.”
GCM Resources (then ‘Asia Energy’) listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange in 2004, following the granting of a two year permit (license) from the Bangladesh Energy Department’s Bureau of Mineral Resource Development on 27 January 2004 for exploration and surveying of a 572 million tonne open cast coal mine at Phulbari in Dinajpur, Northwest Bangladesh. A Scheme of Development was submitted to the Government of Bangladesh in 2005 but has never received approval. The permit expired on 27 January 2006 and has not been renewed, yet the company has continued to sell shares and raise capital in London based on claims that a contract will be forthcoming. GCM Resources has no other assets or projects in its portfolio.3
On 26 August 2006 three teenage boys were shot dead, and more than two hundred injured by paramilitary forces in a peaceful demonstration of 80,000 people against the mine.(5) Annual ‘Phulbari Day’ rallies have been held every year in the community and across Bangladesh, commemorating the deaths and protesting the company’s continued plans.4 Recently, GCM’s CEO Gary Lye has filed multiple cases against 26 community organisers in Phulbari and Dinajpur claiming he has felt ‘harassed’ when he visited the area in an attempt to continue coal mining plans in 2014. Lye demands 2.6millions$ as his compensation from the community representatives who stopped GCM.
In commenting on GCM’s contract, Bangladesh’s Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, stated to the daily Prothom Alo newspaper in August 2019 that:
“Even in the absence of an agreement, GCM or Asia Energy is trading shares in London by providing information that coal would be extracted from Phulbari, which is false. The government has taken this into notice. The government is proceeding to take legal action against them .”
He asserted that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s clear instructions are that the government has no plans to extract coal from Phulbari, and the future extraction of coal would only be considered if any advanced and environmental mining or coal burning technology emerged.5
According to GCM’s 2019 annual report and its Regulatory New Service submissions to the London Stock Exchange, the company signed an MOU with Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina) in November 2018 to develop a 4,000MW power plant at Phulbari as part of the One Belt, One Road Initiative of the People’s Republic of China. In January 2019, the Power entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with the GCM for the first stage of development, leading to a hike in its share price, despite the lack of government approvals for the project.6 This year on 3 February, the GCM Resources stated another RNS that it has secured a GBP1.2 million increase to its existing loan facility of GBP 2.3 million with Polo Resources Ltd, raising the total loan amount to GBP3.5 million. This announcement has helped increase GCM’s share sells on London Stock Exchange. Shares in GCM were trading 0.5% higher at 12.06p each in London after the RNS.7
To organise statements or interviews with any of the host organisations or case studies, contact:
Case studies and photos from protests in Bangladesh are available.
- Phulbari Solidarity Group (PSG) is a transnational activist network which exists to support and represent the communities located within the Phulbari region and across Bangladesh in opposing the plans for coal mine. phulbarisolidaritygroup.org
- The London demonstration is co-hosted by London Mining Network, Reclaim the Power, Labour Campaign For Human Rights, Global Justice Rebellion, Committee to Protect the Resources of Bangladesh UK Branch, and Christian Climate Action.
- London Mining Network (LMN) is an alliance of solidarity, human rights, development and environmental groups. We work to support communities negatively affected by the operations of London-based and London-funded mining companies.
- For more information on the Phulbari to Dinajpur long-march in Bangladesh, please contact Sanjit Prasad Jitu: +8801717592947
- More information on the Phulbari massacre and government’s position on the question of GCM’s proposal for open the Phulbari mine can be found at:
Challenging the invalid contract under Bangladesh’s energy policy: https://www.thedailystar.net/response-to-farewell-to-fdi-60727
Video footage of killings in Phulbari: https://phulbarisolidaritygroup.blog/videos/
Facts about Phulbari coal project at a glance: https://www.banktrack.org/download/the_phulbari_coal_project/iap_factsheet_footnotes_the_final_0.pdf
1 GCM’s notice to adjourn AGM in December: “The decision to seek to adjourn the AGM follows consultation with the venue over access and security issues, which has resulted in the venue being withdrawn as the location for the AGM.”
3See GCM’s annual report November 2019 as well as article by Mohammad Arifuzzaman in the daily Bangladesh newspaper Prothom Alo, 24 August 2019. https://www.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/article/1610889/ English translation at https://phulbarisolidaritygroup.blog/2019/12/14/breaking-bangladesh-govt-will-take-legal-action-as-gcm-spreads-false-information/
4See two reports on the 2019 Phulbari day protests at http://www.newagebd.net/article/82675/agreement-execution-demanded-as-phulbari-day-observed?fbclid=IwAR2Kh_8fUnvCgaRXQGCtmHvmUAmYFN6iGWRCwb4tr2vFpF1H2tR19TCnOWE