Dear friends,

We have recently intervened in two major mining company AGMs (annual shareholder meetings), those of Rio Tinto on 8 April and Anglo American on 5 May. Or rather, we haven’t, because we weren’t allowed to. Both companies held their AGMs behind closed doors with a minimum quorum, and forbade shareholders to attend because of UK government regulations banning gatherings of more than two people.

Rio Tinto then held a phone conference with shareholders to allow questions to be asked, though as you can read, it left a lot to be desired, as did their answers. Anglo American did not even hold a phone-in – but they did invite questions in writing, and received a lot, and answered them fairly swiftly – and we are now analysing their replies. We’ll be challenging both companies over any inaccuracies or gaps in their answers.

Before the Anglo American AGM, we produced a spoof video advert and two short videos about the impacts of Cerrejon Coal (of which the company owns one third) in Colombia – one about the Bruno Stream and the other about the community of Tabaco.

We’re supporting crowdfunders being run by several of our member groups (Coal Action Network, Colombia Solidarity Campaign and TerraJusta) to give practical support during the COVID-19 lockdown to communities around the Cerrejon mine and its coal export railway – do please support these if you can. We issued a press release drawing attention to the company’s impacts not only in Colombia but in Brazil, Chile and Peru.

After the AGM The Ecologist published an article about Anglo American’s push into previously protected indigenous land in the Brazilian Amazon.

Before Rio Tinto’s London AGM, we issued a press release, a summary of demands from the communities who would have been represented in London had we been able to host our planned speaker tour, and an online week of action. Immediately after the event we published a summary report and later a fuller report and analysis of the ‘shareholder engagement session’.

Don’t forget our report, Cut and Run, about Rio Tinto’s legacy in Bougainville and West Papua (and BHP’s legacy in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea).

Our friends in Australia continued the pressure on the company in preparation for its 7 May AGM in Brisbane, publicising its legacy in Bougainville and calling on it to slash its carbon emissions. LMN member group Andrew Lees Trust published a report about the company’s impacts on water in Madagascar.

Our friends at Arts Catalyst have just published a blog and audio report about the walking tour of London mining company offices which we led late last year (well before we knew about COVID-19 and had to practice social distancing). We spoke about the activities of BHP, Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore. Great fun was had by all (well, maybe not the companies…). These companies, incidentally, are keen to tell us about the progress they are making on carbon emissions; a report from the Transition Pathway Initiative suggests they are exaggerating.

The third AGM was that of Barclay’s Bank, a massive funder of the coal industry around the world. We did not work on that AGM ourselves but our friends at People and Planet and at ShareAction did, and ShareAction managed to get 24% of shareholders to support a resolution they sponsored. People and Planet offered a reflection on the company’s resistance to change. Activists from Extinction Rebellion did a direct action to coincide with the AGM.

Then there has been the massive impact of the spread of the COVID-19 virus on the mining industry, on government policies, on mining-affected communities and on social and environmental activists. Below, you can find industry views on the impacts of the crisis and an IMF summary of public policy responses. Unionised workers are calling for COVID-19 to be declared an occupational disease, resisting being forced back to work before it is safe and taking legal action to protect their health. Governments are trying to use the crisis to repress dissent and enable mining companies to lower standards and to violate indigenous people’s land rights. LMN has signed declarations in support of indigenous communities resisting mining in Brazil, Ecuador and the Philippines.

Finally, we include some articles about ‘due diligence’ on human rights. Numerous of our friends and colleagues have been working for years to get the European Commission to force companies to investigate the human rights situation in areas where they want to invest, and analyse the likely impact of their investments. The Commission has now promised to introduce legislation on this next year. Meanwhile, major investors are demanding something similar.

At LMN, we want to make sure that mining companies do not go where they are not wanted, that they take ‘no’ for an answer and do not attempt to pressure communities into saying ‘yes’ by wearing them down through enforced ‘dialogue’, and that where they are operating in places where communities do not want them any more, they clean up their mess, pack up, and get out.

We send you all our warmest wishes for good health, well-being and justice.

All the best,

Richard Solly,

Co-ordinator, London Mining Network.

In this mailout

1) Anglo American AGM, 5 May 2020

2) Other news about Anglo American

3) Rio Tinto’s London AGM, 8 April 2020

4) Rio Tinto’s Australian AGM, Brisbane, 7 May 2020

5) Other news about Rio Tinto

6) New Arts Catalyst report on LMN’s walking tour of mining company HQs

7) Pandemic Delays $5B Claim Over BHP Brazilian Dam Failure

8) Glencore in the news

9) Barclays AGM

10) Mining and climate change

11) COVID-19 and the mining industry

12) Transparency and human rights due diligence in the mining industry

1) Anglo American AGM, 5 May 2020

Questions for Anglo American

Company responses to questions

Press release: Future Smart? COVID19 exposes mining giant Anglo American’s true priorities

Spoof AGM advert

Video: Liberate the Bruno Stream

Video: Tabaco – 19 years displaced, still seeking the promised land

Mining the Amazon and pandemic profiteering

2) Other news about Anglo American

Anglo American to spin off South African coal mines

Anglo American is speeding up its exit from thermal coal as it announced it planned to spin off its South African unit within the next three years.

Blast at Anglo American coal mine in Australia injures five

An explosion halted production on Wednesday at a coal mine run by Anglo American in Australia’s northeastern state of Queensland, injuring five people just months after a review of the industry called for better regulation.

De Beers boosts output by 5.8% in Namibia

De Beers’ Namibia joint venture, Namdeb, increased diamond production by 5.8% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to Anglo American. (De Beers is controlled by Anglo American.)

Amplats targets $211 million in savings to offset lockdown losses

South Africa’s Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) aims to save about 4 billion rand ($211 million) this year through cost cuts and reduced capital expenditure to offset production losses during a nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus.

Anglo American to cut capex, costs due to coronavirus impact

Global miner Anglo American cut its capital expenditure guidance for the year by about $1 billion and said it would cut costs to weather the impact of the coronavirus.

3) Rio Tinto’s London AGM, 8 April 2020

Press release: Communities demand justice from UK mining giant as it holds AGM behind closed doors


Summary of community demands

Really, Rio Tinto? Resistance goes online

Rio Tinto’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday 8th April wasn’t your typical three hour sit-down in a room of slightly bored, mostly white middle-aged investors, followed by posh triangle sandwiches and crisps. Nor was there a small but lively crowd of protesters outside the venue, demanding that the company be held to account for its neo-colonial violations of human rights. This year, we held an online week of action, and, like many other mining and banking industry AGMs this season, Rio Tinto’s investors’ meeting was held behind closed doors, in an undisclosed location, with a minimum quorum of shareholders in attendance.

Remote control: Rio Tinto’s AGM and ‘shareholder engagement session’, London, 8 April 2020

Full report and analysis of the questions and answers – with the odd slightly jaded editorial comment.

4) Rio Tinto’s Australian AGM, Brisbane, 7 May 2020

Church and landowners call on Rio Tinto to address devastating human rights impacts of Bougainville mine

Ahead of Rio Tinto’s Australian annual general meeting (AGM), the Catholic Diocese of Bougainville and local landowners called on the British-Australian mining giant to address the legacy of environmental destruction created by its former Panguna mine on the Pacific island.

Call to pressure Rio Tinto over destruction in Bougainville

The Catholic Church on Bougainville and local landowners have called on investors in Rio Tinto to force the company to address the legacy of environmental destruction they say was created by the Panguna mine.

Huge gains in investor support for real climate action at Rio Tinto

37% of Rio Tinto’s shareholders at its Australian AGM on 7 May voted in favour of a shareholder proposal calling on the mining giant to set Paris-aligned targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, including those generated by the use of its products.

Rio Tinto dodges emissions cut, but issue unlikely to go away

Rio Tinto shareholders in Australia voted on Thursday against forcing the miner to set targets for the emissions of its steel-making customers, but the issue is unlikely to go away as more than a third supported the motion. Investors have been pushing for corporate giants to cut back their emissions as part of a wider drive to combat global warming outlined in the Paris climate accord.

5) Other news about Rio Tinto

LMN’s Cut and Run report

The mining waste legacies of Rio Tinto in Bougainville and West Papua, and of BHP in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Water Briefing: an introduction to water contamination and environmental governance issues surrounding Rio Tinto’s QMM Mine in Madagascar

Between 2013-2014, Rio Tinto’s mine in Madagascar, operated by subsidiary QIT Minerals Madagascar (QMM), exceeded its authorised permissions in the Anosy region in southeast Madagascar where the mine extracts ilmenite, an ingredient of industrial whiteners. QMM breached an environmental buffer zone designed to protect local waterways, and encroached onto the bed of the adjacent Lake Besaroy in an estuary where local people fish, gather their drinking water and emergency food supplies.

Resource warfare, pacification and the spectacle of ‘green’ development: Logics of violence in engineering extraction in southern Madagascar

Bringing political ecology’s concern with the critical politics of nature and resource violence into dialogue with key debates in political geography, critical security studies and research on the geographies and phenomenology of violence and warfare, this paper explores strategies ‘from above’ in relation to the establishment and operation of the Rio Tinto QIT-Madagascar Minerals (QMM) ilmenite mine in southeast Madagascar. While QMM claims to be a responsible ‘green’ self-regulator and sustainable development actor, it has triggered serious social, environmental and legal conflicts since its inception, including allegations of a ‘double land grab’ to accommodate mining activities and compensatory biodiversity offsetting.

Rio Tinto chairman highest paid among ASX 100 directors

Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson has been named the highest paid single board director among the 100 largest Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)-listed companies, with an annual pay cheque of more than $1.6 million.

Rio signs $51 million earn-in on Zambia copper deposits

Rio Tinto has entered into an earn-in and joint venture agreement with Vancouver-based junior Midnight Sun Mining, under which the Anglo-Australian miner can earn up to a 75% interest in the latter’s Solwezi licenses.

6) New Arts Catalyst report on LMN’s walking tour of mining company HQs

As part of Arts Catalyst’s two-day conference Assembly Extractable Matters – which formed part of the public programme for the exhibition Tales from the Crust by Ignacio Acosta – London Mining Network led a tour of three of the biggest mining companies listed on the London Stock Exchange: BHP, Rio Tinto and Anglo American. During the walk we explored the tangible and intangible relationships between London-based mining companies and the multilayered impacts of their projects around the world. The tour took place late last year but the audio report has just been posted online.

7) Pandemic Delays $5B Claim Over BHP Brazilian Dam Failure

BHP Group PLC’s efforts to stay the lawsuit in the U.K. will have to wait until late July after the British and Brazilian governments imposed lockdowns hindering the company’s lawyers and experts from traveling to review the evidence, Judge Stephen Eyre QC said.

8) Glencore in the news

Glencore joins mining industry’s rush to cut spending

Glencore Plc joined rivals in cutting spending plans this year as the world’s biggest commodity trader moves to protect its balance sheet from the global pandemic.

Glencore’s Zambia subsidiary to resume mining operations temporarily

Glencore’s Zambian subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) will resume mining operations for 90 days but still expects to go ahead with its initial plan to place its mining operations on care and maintenance, the local firm said on Sunday.

9) Barclays AGM

24% of shareholders voice dissent at Barclays’ current fossil fuel support

At Barclays’ AGM, nearly 24% of shareholders voted for ShareAction’s resolution asking the bank to phase out financing for fossil fuels and utility companies that are not aligned with the Paris climate goals. Passing the 20% threshold means the bank will have to formally respond to its shareholders.

Barclays AGM 2020 Response

Barclays Condemned for ‘Fuelling the Next Crisis’ After Rejecting Climate Motion calling for end to fossil fuel financing; Climate campaigners and economists criticise bank for ‘greenwashing’ image and failing to align with consensus behind green recovery. New report finds Barclays to be biggest fossil fuel financier in Europe, to tune of £91 billion since Paris Agreement.

Extinction Rebellion spray fake oil onto Barclays HQ calling on them to act responsibly and divest from fossil fuels

A small group from Extinction Rebellion have sprayed fake oil onto the Barclays headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf this morning with fire extinguishers. They came with a simple message, for Barclays to act responsibly and ‘Stop pouring billions into the fossil fuel economy’. The protest has taken place on the morning when Barclays shareholders will meet virtually for their annual general meeting (AGM).

10) Mining and climate change

Most top miners failing Paris Agreement goals

TPI’s report states that Glencore and Anglo American are currently within the 2 °C benchmark set in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Their emissions pathways, however, are too flat to keep them on track to comply with the accord’s goals, it says. TPI notes that stated net-zero ambitions from BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale only cover operational emissions, typically just 6% of the emissions the entity measures.

South32 Q3 metallurgical coal output jumps 18%

Production of the steel-making ingredient rose to 1.2 million tonnes during the quarter ended March 31, compared with 990,000 tonnes a year earlier.

UK banks are pouring billions into companies making the climate crisis worse

The financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis, on top of a crash in oil prices, has shown us ever more clearly that economies based on fossil fuels are vulnerable in an emergency.

UK Banks are behaving like fossil fuel companies, pushing for ever more profit from coal, oil and gas, despite calls to stop, and Barclays and HSBC are some of the worst offenders in Europe.

Britain breaks record for coal-free power generation

Coal-fired plants have not contributed to electricity grid for 18 consecutive days

11) COVID-19 and the mining industry

LMN and COVID-19

Including news from communities in South Africa, the Philippines and Colombia

ShareAction campaign on virtual AGMs

Our friends at ShareAction are calling on all FTSE100 companies to hold a virtual AGM in 2020, allowing for real-time questioning followed by voting to be replicated online, and ensuring that all types of shareholders can attend the meeting. They are also calling for physical meetings to return to being part of the proceedings, whenever it is safe to do so again, using so-called hybrid AGMs, which also have a virtual element.

Emergency relief for mining affected communities in Colombia

Some of LMN’s member groups have launched crowdfunders to assist these efforts. LMN member groups Colombia Solidarity Campaign and Terra Justa are working with others to support indigenous and African-descent communities close to the mine. LMN member group Coal Action Network is working with colleagues in the USA and Nacion Wayuu in Colombia to support indigenous communities close to the railway line taking coal from the mine to the coal export port at Puerto Bolivar, 150 kilometres from the mine. Please support one or both of these crowdfunders if you can.

Corona virus hits Ecuadorian Shuar in deep Amazon

Statement in Solidarity with the Pueblo Shuar Arutam Facing COVID-19 emergency

Statement in Solidarity With Amazonian Indigenous Peoples Facing the Novel Coronavirus

In solidarity with indigenous organizations, federations and nationalities at the Amazon regional level coordinated by COICA and its members AIDESEP, APA, CIDOB, COIAB, CONFENIAE, FOAG, OPIAC, OIS, and ORPIA; at the national level including APIB, CONAIE, ONIC, as well as other organizations, federations and communities1, who have expressed deep concern about the impending threat of COVID-19 in their ancestral territories and communities, we demand integrated, effective, and culturally adequate state responses to this crisis. This begins with an immediate moratorium on any activity that includes the entering of foreign persons into indigenous territories, the development of mining activities, logging, oil exploration and extraction, industrial agriculture, religious proselytization, or increased militarization, especially in transborder territories under pressure from armed actors and organized crime.

Philippines: Civil society and UN experts call for rights to be respected at Didipio

Over 190 non-governmental organisations from the Philippines and across the world – including LMN – have signed a statement condemning violent police action against a peaceful community barricade at a mining site in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, on 6 April 2020. The indigenous peoples’ barricade was set up in July 2019, following the expiration of Canadian-Australian mining company OceanaGold’s mining permit.

Webinar recording: COVID-19 in the Age of Extractivism & Climate Change – Voices from the South

Organised by our friends in Peoples’ Dialogue

World’s mine workers resist quick restart amid coronavirus

There is an ongoing struggle between workers and companies (the latter often supported by governments) over if and how mining can continue safely during the coronavirus epidemic. As one worker notes in the article, “How essential is mining right now?”

Peru mines set to restart; to hit 80% production in a month – industry official

The pandemic has directly hit some firms including Peruvian copper miner Antamina, controlled by BHP and Glencore, which saw hundreds of workers test positive for COVID-19.

South African union wins case on covid-19 safety

South Africa’s mining union said on Sunday it had won a court case against the government that will force authorities to impose strict guidelines on mining companies to protect workers against covid-19.

Global unions call for recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease

On the occasion of International Workers Memorial Day 2020, the global trade union movement is calling upon governments and occupational health and safety bodies around the world to recognise SARS-CoV-2 as an occupational hazard, and COVID-19 as an occupational disease.

Ex-miners in Scotland asked to sign ‘do not resuscitate’ forms if they contract coronavirus

EX-MINERS in Scotland are being asked to sign “do not resuscitate” forms if they contract the coronavirus, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says.

IMF COVID-19 policy tracker

The IMF now has a COVID-19 policy tracker

COVID-19 and the European Investment Bank

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold, European governments have been developing public stimulus packages to help relaunch the economy and avoid a historic recession. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will play a flagship role under the EU recovery package in response to the health crisis and its economic consequences. In this context, Counter Balance publishes a policy brief highlighting key challenges around this new counter-cyclical role devoted to the EIB, and flagging our key recommendations for the future funds to truly benefit European citizens and territories.

CHART: Covid-19 disrupts $6.9 billion of global mining output

Covid-19 has impacted the mining industry across the globe as governments enforce lockdowns and quarantines and companies halt operations because workers and contractors can’t get on-site due to restrictions.

How the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the global mining industry

An industry perspective

Fossil Fuel Expansion Under the Cover of COVID-19

For those concerned that COVID-19 has somehow brought the Australian fossil fuel industry to a halt, you can rest assured it hasn’t. Indeed, the expansion of mining has simply continued in a “business as usual” manner.

Terrified Atomic Workers Warn That the COVID-19 Pandemic May Threaten Nuclear Reactor Disaster

Every reactor control room requires five operators at all times. But the physical space is limited there and in plant hot spots that need frequent, often demanding repairs. Social distancing is virtually impossible. Long shifts in confined spaces undermine operator safety and performance. (This story is about the USA – but how different is the nuclear industry anywhere else?)

12) Transparency and human rights due diligence in the mining industry

Webinar: Advancing the frontiers of transparency and accountability in the extractives sector

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is geared towards improving governance in the oil, gas and minerals sector. The EITI currently includes 53 countries across the world, half of which are in Africa. It is governed by multi-stakeholder coalitions representing business, governments and civil society organisations.

DFID holds off from explaining sky-high cost of UK-Africa Investment Summit

The January summit aimed to make the U.K. “the investment partner of choice for Africa,” according to a government release, and resulted in £6.5 billion worth of commercial deals in areas such as oil and gas, gold mining, airplane sales, and infrastructure construction. In several cases, funding flows went from Africa to U.K. companies, rather than the other way round.

European Commission promises mandatory due diligence legislation in 2021

Commissioner Reynders made his announcement in a high level webinar hosted by the European Parliament’s Responsible Business Conduct Working Group, and chaired by MEP Heidi Hautala, during which the Commissioner presented the findings of the Commission’s recently published study on due diligence requirements through supply chains.

Investors with US$5 trillion call on governments to institute mandatory human rights due diligence measures for companies

A group of 105 international investors representing US$5 trillion in assets under management have joined forces to call on governments to put in place regulatory measures requiring companies to conduct ongoing risk management regarding risks to people associated with their business activities. Known as “human rights due diligence,” this process involves a company assessing and addressing harms to people in connection with its business, and publicly disclosing these efforts.