Last week, communities affected by Anglo American’s Minas Rio iron ore mine blocked roads in protest against the company’s withdrawal of funding of independent technical advice.
Anglo American was obliged to establish an Independent Technical Advisory team (Assessoria Técnica Independente, ATI) in the environmental licensing process for the Minas-Rio for iron ore project in Conceição do Mato Dentro (CMD) in the state of Minas Gerais.
Please sign the petition at https://secure.avaaz.org/community_petitions/po/semad_e_vara_unica_da_comarca_de_conceicao_do_mato_justica_para_os_atingidos_pelo_projeto_minasrio_da_anglo_american/?zyJrDdb
Agronomist Professor Luiz Fontes, General Coordinator of ATI, has written to the company complaining that Anglo American has tried, consistently and systematically, to disqualify it. He says that the company has been going against its own “mission” and the “principles” of the “Anglo Social Way” and contradicting the image conveyed in its marketing and public relations actions.
Professor Fontes goes on, “To culminate Anglo’s contempt and lack of commitment to the people affected by its mining activities, Anglo American filed, on 25/08/2020, a lawsuit against CMD victims who made a peaceful and orderly protest. It is the utmost contradiction: sue the impacted parties because they performed their right of free speech and protest. Anglo American, on the same day, filed a lawsuit in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, against the Israel Pinheiro Foundation (FIP), against the Ministério Público de Minas Gerais (MP) and against NACAB, the NGO responsible for the ATI in CMD… All of it, in the attempt to intimidate and prevent those affected from having access to Independent Technical Advisory services.”
He calls on Anglo American to practice its own “Vision” expressed in the “Anglo Social Way…”:
“The Anglo American Social Vision is to make a lasting positive contribution to the communities associated with our operations, and to be a partner of choice for host governments and communities as well as an employer of choice. We believe that the effective management of social issues is a necessary element of good overall operational management, and a source of competitive advantage. Poor management of social issues is inconsistent with Anglo American’s values and with our long-term business interests (…)”
He asks, “Which one is the real Anglo American? The marketed image it shows to the media? Or the one that has been acting against the impacted communities in CMD and surroundings?”
The ATI has issued the following Eglish-language ‘Clarification Note’.
The Coordination of the Assessoria Técnica Independente – ATI (Independent Technical Advisory Team) elected by the Communities of Sapo, Beco, Cabeceira do Turco and Turco, in the region of Conceição do Mato Dentro (CMD) – MG, Brazil,
affected by the impacts of the mining activities by Anglo American, hereby makepublic its clarifications regarding the recently circulated by social media.
The ATI is a pioneer and daring progressive social initiative, towards which, the Brazilian society must not admit setbacks. The ATI represents an attempt of finding a balance of forces between the entrepreneur, who are frequently multimillionaire companies that possess an apparatus of technical expertise at their disposal counting on legal, engineering, communications teams and so on, and the impacted people and communities, most of the times isolated in their battles against the violation of their rights. The Independent Technical Advisory service for the impacted parties in CMD and surroundings was imposed to Anglo American by the Condicionante 39 (Constraint 39) of the environmental licensing Project for iron ore mining at Serra da Ferrugem, a pioneer and unprecedented initiative in the country. Amongst the 13 communities determined to have ATI granted for them by the Condicionante 39, imposed in the beginning of 2018, Anglo American hired ATI services solely for 4 of them, and even for those, via a 15-month only contract, dismissing the initial proposal of a minimal of 36 months.
During the 15 months of work, the ATI 39 presented 15 Monthly Activity Reports; 05 Quarterly Activity Reports; 02 Biannual Activity Reports (Final) and 15 Monthly Accountability Reports. Additionally, the ATI delivered dozens of studies, expert reports, technical pieces and so on. There were hundreds of demands of the impacted parties and dozens of official letters sent to Anglo American, most of which were followed by either none or very evasive replies.
This intense work of the ATI 39 was closely monitored by the Fundação Israel Pinheiro (FIP), independent manager; by the R&R Auditoria, independent external audit and by the Ministério Público (MP). All these institutions have approved, validated and attested as complied with, all the contractual demands which the ATI was responsible for. However, most importantly, all the work done have been audited and approved by the parties who matter the most in the whole process: THE IMPACTED PARTIES!
On the 25/08/2929, one day after the well organised and peaceful protest by the impacted parties in CMD which met with a great apparatus of the police force (who can vouch for the impeccable behaviour of the protesters), Anglo American (after having refused to meet with the impacted parties at the Municipality of CMD) filed a lawsuit at CMD county against 5 of the (impacted individuals) protesters, on top of having threatened many others.
On the same day (25/08/2020, Anglo American filed in Belo Horizonte, a lawsuit against Fundação Israel Pinheiro, SEMAD and NACAB, in charge of the ATI.
Despite the approval by the impacted parties, the FIP, the MP and the R&R Auditoria of all the work done by ATI 39, Anglo American does not admit that the impacted parties receive high quality independent advisory services.
Anglo American, contrary to its discourse and its international compliance regulations, does not respect the rights of the impacted parties. The organisation is not complying with the Condicionante 39, seen that 9 of the 13 impacted communities of the CMD area have not been granted independent technical advisory services for over 2 years since the referred legal constraint was imposed.
The truth has to prevail. To that end, a challenge is posed: consult the impacted parties from the 13 communities regarding the behaviour of Anglo American and the performance of the ATI. Travel along the three communities that live below Anglo American tailing dams, which are certain target of the toxic waste in the event of a rupture and that STILL have not had their right to an Independent Technical Advisory service guaranteed. The analysis of the facts and the testimonials of the parties that suffer the impacts will tell who are the villains and the good people in this sad story: the impacted ones or Anglo American…
ATI 39 Coordination, 28/08/2020.