Each year, London Mining Network takes the opportunity presented by the major mining companies’ Annual General Meetings to ask them the questions they don’t want to answer. While the executives are more than happy to talk about their profit margins and sustainability goals, we bring them questions directly from the communities harmed by their operations.
On 14 October 2021, BHP will hold its London AGM, and LMN will be there to pose the questions that matter to the people who live every day alongside BHP mines and sites the company wants to exploit for minerals. Here you’ll find the questions we’ve asked, information we’ve shared with investors, and other materials covering BHP’s actions around the world.
Question on behalf of Council of Atacameño Peoples and the Atacameña Peine Community, Chile #1
Wells of Monturaqui and Tilopozo BHP was subject to sanctions from the Superintendency of the Environment. Their project was ground to a halt for not complying with reduction limits, despite BHP promising to lower its levels of water extraction in the Tilopozo sector. BHP had exceeded the maximum permitted level by threefold in 2019. In consultation with the indigenous population, the Peine community opposed BHP’s operations in this sector. Why has BHP not made progress in executing the closure plan?
Question on behalf of Council of Atacameño Peoples and the Atacameña Peine Community, Chile #2
Wells of Monturaqui and Tilopozo – cont. How are indigenous communities involved in the closure plan? Has there been any change in the relationship with the community after the project was rejected in prior consultation? We know that Tilopozo’s vegetation has decreased by 66% as a result of mining operations, including BHP’s. What compensation is BHP offering to restore the vegetation?
Question on behalf of Council of Atacameño Peoples and the Atacameña Peine Community, Chile #3
Punta Negra Salt Flat The Chilean State Defense Council (CDE) filed a lawsuit against mining company Escondida, due to the continuous, accumulated and irreparable environmental damage in the Salar de Punta Negra. The impact of BHP on the Salar has caused a sharp decrease in the water level and compromised its regeneration in the future. During this process, the Environmental Court proposed a conciliatory agreement to advance measures that will directly help regenerate the Salar de Punta Negra.
Question on behalf of Council of Atacameño Peoples and the Atacameña Peine Community, Chile #4
Punta Negra Salt Flat The agreement was signed by the Atacameño People’s Council, the Atacameña Peine Community, the CDE and Minera Escondida. Although this is a great step forwards for environmental recovery, it is important to emphasize that this agreement was necessary because of the impact that BHP has had in the Salar de Punta Negra. The community wants the repairing of the environmental damage to begin immediately.
Question on behalf of Council of Atacameño Peoples and the Atacameña Peine Community, Chile #5
Punta Negra Salt Flat (cont) The Salar de Punta Negra is where flamingos reproduce and is an important element in the health of the ecosystem. Why does BHP still defend the idea that the Salar de Punta Negra is in a good state? What percentage of the budget will be allocated to communication and information sharing and what percentage will be allocated for environmental studies? How will this be managed? Which members from the community, public and private institutions will be given a seat at the table?
Question on behalf of Council of Atacameño Peoples and the Atacameña Peine Community, Chile #6
Cerro Colorado, Aquifer of Lagunillas As of October 1 of this year, BHP will no longer be able to extract water from the Lagunillas aquifer. This resolution was adopted in the Antofagasta Environmental Court, following a lawsuit. As a consequence, the Environmental Qualification Resolution of the “Cerro Colorado Operational Continuity” project, ratified in the Supreme Court, was annulled. The main argument for this was that the impact that the mining company has had in Lagunillas must not be worsened.
Question on behalf of Council of Atacameño Peoples and the Atacameña Peine Community, Chile #7
Cerro Colorado, Aquifer of Lagunillas (cont) How does BHP intend to compensate for the damage it has caused in Lagunillas and the community? What concrete measures will they take? The lawsuit considers the restoration and comprehensive restitution of damaged biological resources. What processes is BHP undertaking as part of this recovery? In what timeframe will the Lagunillas sector be restored?
Question on behalf of Council of Atacameño Peoples and the Atacameña Peine Community, Chile #8
Relationship with the community and the climate crisis What compensatory measures is BHP offering to the community and the ecosystem around climate change? How is BHP taking responsibility for the impact of water extraction on the mountain range?
Stigmatization of communities affected by the Cerrejon mine in claiming their rights
The Cerrejon coal company’s economic strategy proposes the expansion of the Cerrejon mine. Communities affected by such expansion have claimed their rights to a clean environment, health and water. Why has the company stigmatized the communities that have made claims, many of them protected by court decisions, making them seem the cause of the company’s economic problem?
Question on behalf of residents of Intag, Ecuador #1
What guarantees can BHP provide its shareholders that its continued explorations in the Intag area are in compliance with local ordinances and protected areas under Ecuador’s state systems including forests and hydrological reserves? It should be noted that the region has been found in a 2018 study to contain over 270 endangered species, and BHP states in its charter it will not conduct activities in areas where there are IUCN-listed species.
Question on behalf of residents of Intag, Ecuador #2
What guarantees can BHP provide its shareholders that plans to take into account the wishes of the majority of the community regarding mining in this area – considering the letter delivered to CEOs of BHP and other companies working in Intag, Imbaburar by residents of Intag, August 2021 – and the numerous ordinances declaring Intag as a mining-free zone?
Water use at Antamina in Peru
BHP says that Antamina only has two water use licences. What is the function of these two water use licenses? Are they related to the collection of rainwater? How many millions of cubic metres of rainwater do Antamina operations use for their production process? What is the water footprint of the company? Is there scientific evidence to prove that the rainwater used by Antamina does not affect the natural recharge of surface and underground water bodies, and the balance in regional ecosystems?
Expansion plans at Antamina in Peru
Antamina’s CEO Víctor Góbitz told local media in Peru that the company plans to extend the useful life of the mine until 2036 or 2040. Góbitz points out that, among several investments and works for the expansion of the mine, it is necessary to expand the spaces for dumps and tailings deposits. At what stage are the administrative and legal processes with the Peruvian state (including the EIA certificate and others)? What are the plans for tailings deposits in Antamina’s expansion plans?
Social conflicts at Antamina in Peru
The Peruvian Ombudsman’s Office has reported conflicts related to Antamina, rooted in claims for greater social commitment and complaints of contamination. How is Antamina handling these conflicts? Are there risks that they could escalate with mine expansion? Are there processes of dialogue, socialization and free, informed prior consultation (if applicable) and social license in the process of expansion of the mining project?
Corporate responsibility at Antamina in Peru
The Antamina mine is operated by Compañía Minera Antamina S.A. (CMA), a company incorporated under Peruvian laws. But Antamina shareholders have certain responsibilities for what the local company does. What degree of responsibility does BHP have if environmental or social impacts occur during the Antamina expansion process? What is BHP’s investment policy in situations like this? How do the decision-making processes work and what is the level of responsibility of BHP?
Water use at Oak Flat, Arizona
The Concerned Citizens & Retired Miner’s Coalition says that Resolution Copper’s proposal would destroy the surface of Oak Flat, and both drain and pollute the deep aquifers around Superior, and the water supply of farmers and residents of the valley east of Phoenix, using 250 billion gallons of water as drought ravages Arizona. It says the block cave design will not work. Will you abandon the project so that local people may enjoy Oak Flat and prosper for many generations to come?
Alternatives to Resolution Copper’s Oak Flat proposals
The Concerned Citizens & Retired Miner’s Coalition asks, if BHP really needs additional copper from Arizona, why don’t you reopen the San Manuel mine (which had 30 years of copper still underground), instead of destroying Oak Flat?
Destruction of sacred sites at Oak Flat, Arizona
Arizona Mining Reform Coalition says that after majority partner Rio Tinto blew up the sacred rock shelters at Juukan Gorge, you promised never to do anything similar. If your words mean anything, BHP has no choice but to abandon the project. You would devastate a people’s culture and religion. You would destroy a valley with a mountain of toxic tailings that would cover the city of London 5 feet deep. Will BHP drop its interest in the Oak Flat proposal and focus on better alternatives?