We have just published a major report on major London-based mining company Anglo American. Should Do Better: Anglo American’s mining operations and affected communities in Latin America examines the difference between how the company reports on its operations and how communities with which we work in four countries – Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru – have been experiencing those operations. There is a stark difference between the company’s self-image and the experiences of the people affected by its mines. The report makes numerous recommendations which might act as a starting point for improvement. This report is essential reading for investors, legislators and activists.
We invited Anglo American to comment on a draft of the report but it did not do so. It would be interesting to know how it plans to improve its behaviour in the future.
This Saturday, 5 November, is the seventh anniversary of the catastrophic failure of the Fundao tailings dam at Samarco’s iron ore operations in Brazil. Samarco is owned 50/50 by Brazilian company Vale and London-listed BHP. To mark the day, we are hosting an online presentation of the film Herança Maldita. Please join us.
The anniversary of this disaster is swiftly followed, on 10 November, by BHP’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Perth, Australia. In January this year, the company decided to end its ‘dual-listed’ structure, which meant that the company existed as both an Australian and a UK registered entity. Although still listed on the London Stock Exchange, it is now a wholly Australian company, and will no longer hold AGMs in London.
UK shareholders were assured that they would still be able to participate in the company’s AGM online, which would have offered the possibility for representatives of communities affected by its operations to be appointed as proxies and to make known community concerns and demands at the Australian AGM. It is far harder and more costly for community members in Latin America to travel to Australia than to London. However, the company has chosen to hold its AGM at 2am UK time, which makes it difficult for any UK-based shareholder who is not a hardcore night-owl to participate intelligently; and in any case, it will only be possible to view the AGM online, not to speak.
Questions from shareholders who cannot attend in person have to be submitted in writing in advance. Last year, when a similar invitation was offered, we submitted many questions from affected communities, not a single one of which was answered. We also organised an email campaign to the company, raising numerous concerns. The company chose not to respond (unlike peer company Rio Tinto, which sent detailed replies to participants in another campaign earlier in the year.)
Even UK-based institutional investors critical of the company’s behaviour in Brazil have been stonewalled by the company.
BHP says that the decision to end the dual-listed structure, and with it the London AGMs, was entirely a commercial matter. But it certainly makes it much easier for the company to avoid scrutiny and remove itself from the unwelcome presence at its AGM of representatives of communities affected by its operations in Latin America.
The cherry on BHP’s cake is that it has opted to hold its AGM in Perth, thousands of miles from Melbourne and Sydney, the major centres of activism critical of the mining industry, this making it harder for many Australia-based colleagues to attend.
It certainly makes it look as though BHP is running away. Let us hope that its lack of accountability to Latin American communities will be balanced by increased availability to those in Australia attacking it for supplying China with uranium or trying to extend the life of its coal mine in Queensland.
Do join us in holding BHP accountable through a little online action that you might enjoy.
In other news, the Climate Justice Coalition, of which LMN is a part, is planning mobilisations on 12 November around the COP27 climate talks. Do please participate if you can. LMN recently joined 88 other organisations in protesting against the role of finance companies in driving climate catastrophe.
In the UK, the Scottish Government says that the era of coal is over while the Westminster Government has delayed a decision on coal mining in Cumbria yet again. The struggle is on to halt opencast coal mining at Ffos y Fran in Wales.
A hundred UK universities have now pledged to disinvest from fossil fuels. IndustriALL Global Union provide a workers’ view of Just Transition. And we give seven reasons why nuclear energy is not the answer to climate catastrophe.
We hope that the election of Lula in Brazil will halt the deforestation and attacks on Indigenous People’s territories in the Amazon Basin, where mining remains a massive threat. The Boric government in Chile is certainly trying to improve the conduct of the mining industry there but we recently handed a letter to the visiting Mining Minister outlining community concerns. One of our friends in Mexico, whom we hosted in London in May, is receiving death threats for his opposition to mining by London-listed Fresnillo. We hope that a UK Parliamentary delegation to Mexico may create pressure for improved protection for mining critics.
And there is plenty of other news below. Enjoy the read, and do take action where you can.
All the best,
Richard Solly, Co-ordinator, London Mining Network.
In this mailout
New publication from LMN
Should Do Better: Anglo American’s mining operations and affected communities in Latin America
5 November, Virtual screening “Herança Maldita” Mariana dam disaster: a BHP crime
17 November, The New Customary Land Rights Act in Sierra Leone: Bringing informed community consent to responsible investment
30 November, Resisting Mining Book Club: Enforcing Ecocide
BHP Stop Hiding!
Tell rich countries to pay for their climate damages
1) COP27: Take power over climate finance from financial corporations – strict regulation is needed to save the planet
2) News about BHP
3) LMN delivers letter to Chilean Mining Minister regarding concerns about impacts caused by Anglo American and Antofagasta Minerals
4) Ejidatario of the ejido El Bajío, in resistance against Fresnillo plc, faced death threats
5) Miners warned commodities boom could harm environment, communities
6) Opening up protected areas in the Amazon to mining may lead to massive forest losses
7) Ranked: The world’s top 10 most valuable base and precious metal mines
8) The world’s biggest dirty energy club is cracking up
9) UN treaty on business and human rights
10) Rio Tinto news
11) Glencore in the news
12) B2Gold, AngloGold put Gramalote project in Colombia up for sale
13) Hochschild in Latin America
14) Coal in the UK
15) This 11-year-old from Manipur is leading anti-coal mine protests in Chattisgarh
16) Launch of trade union guide of practice for a Just Transition
17) 100 UK universities pledge to divest from fossil fuels
18) S. Africa: Robust and enforceable financial provision regulations are needed to ensure that companies profiting from extractive operations are accountable for environmental damage
19) Equator Principles put on notice by CSOs to commit on climate, nature, human rights, and pandemics, ahead of 20th Anniversary in 2023
20) The changing complexion of divestment, as managing polluters turns vogue
21) Civil Liability for Human Rights Violations: A Handbook for Practitioners
22) Nuclear News
UK firms using legal muscle to facilitate human rights and climate abuses – report
Industrial mining in Indonesia, Brazil, Ghana & Suriname contributed 80% of tropical forest loss in 26 countries in past 20 years, finds study
Investing in renewable energy to power a just transition: a practical guide for investors
2022 Scorecard on Insurance, Fossil Fuels & Climate Change
Opacity and Accountability: the Hidden Financial Pipelines Supporting New Coal
Global Coal Exit List 2022
Mining, land rights and the environment: Political economies of conflict, displacement and resource capture in Southern Africa
All the metals we mined in 2021: Visualized
Delegation of Parliamentarians to Colombia 2022
Barrick in Charge: Ongoing Killings of Local Kuria by Mine Police and Forced Evictions at the North Mara Gold Mine
|New publication from LMN
|Should Do Better: Anglo American’s mining operations and affected communities in Latin America London Mining Network’s report, Should do better – Anglo American’s mining operations and affected communities in Latin America, reviews Anglo American’s annual reporting and indicates that the company omits full public disclosure of problematic environmental, social and (to a lesser extent) governance issues, including how its operations have impacted, or risk impacting, local communities. https://londonminingnetwork.org/2022/11/should-do-better/#respond
|Virtual screening “Herança Maldita” Mariana dam disaster: a BHP crime 5 November, 2 pm Brazil / 5 pm UK. After seven years, Brazil’s largest socio-environmental crime involving mining dams continues to leave a trail of illness, insecurity, rights violations and disrespect for victims. The “sea of mud” released by the Fundão dam collapse on 5 November 2015 contained 43.8 million cubic metres of ore tailings, killed 19 people and left at least 1.9 million people affected along the Rio Doce basin, from Minas Gerais to the coast of Espírito Santo. On the date that the crime turns 7 years old, we will show the documentary “Herança Maldita” by Director Tomás Amaral as a complaint about the true social, economic and environmental impacts of this unprecedented crime in the world by BHP and its strategy to evade and hide.
The New Customary Land Rights Act in Sierra Leone: Bringing informed community consent to responsible investment Webinar, 17 November, 2022, 1pm – 2.30pm GMT | 14:00-15:30 CET In September 2022, Sierra Leone enacted unprecedented laws related to land, climate, and sustainable development. This new law transforms communities’ ability to protect their land rights and pursue sustainable development. This victory would not have been possible without the direct involvement of impacted communities across Sierra Leone. By combining the power of organizing with the power of law, they won lasting, systemic change. The legislation — and the strategies they used to secure it — serve as models for the world.
Resisting Mining Book Club: Enforcing Ecocide Online event, 30 November, 2022, 6pm – 8pm GMT LMN is delighted to announce the final Resisting Mining Book Club of 2022 with guest speakers Alexander Dunlap and Andrea Brock, who will be speaking about their edited collection Enforcing Ecocide: Power, Policing & Planetary Militarization (Springer Nature: 2022). For more information on the event, and how to register, click here.
|BHP Stop Hiding! After years of protest, demonstrations and dissident shareholders asking the difficult questions, BHP has pulled the plug on its London AGM. In a move that looks a lot like running away from accountability, BHP has decided to hold its 2022 AGM in Perth, Australia on 10 November at 10:00 (that’s 2am UK time). The executive board probably think they won’t be hearing from many people about the company’s broken promises in Brazil, its water use in Chile and Peru, its insistence on pushing ahead with copper mining in Arizona, or the mess it left behind in Colombia. That’s where you come in. We’re filling the calendars of top executives at BHP with hundreds of invitations to remind them that BHP can run, but it can’t hide from accountability. Join the calendar jam by following the instructions here: londonminingnetwork.org/bhpstophiding And share the campaign on social media! COP27 Mobilisations November 12 will see mass mobilisations across the country and put thousands of people on the streets to demand Climate Justice in solidarity with the Global Day of Action called by Egyptian groups at COP27. From the cost of living crisis, to floods in Pakistan and Shell’s criminal profits – we will come together as one movement to demand justice. Tell rich countries to pay for their climate damages We need to stand in solidarity with the global south in their demands for loss and damage. Tell the UK government to pay for their polluting and support an international loss and damage fund!
|1) COP27: Take power over climate finance from financial corporations – strict regulation is needed to save the planet Civil society groups have come out against corporate capture and negligence on climate finance at climate summits and at the UNFCCC. LMN joined 88 other civil society organisations from across the globe in attacking the way global climate talks have dealt with finance. Financial corporations have been allowed/given the mandate to take charge of developments – a formula developed at COP26 in Glasgow which has shown its deep flaws in recent months with UN convened initiatives led by the financial industry refusing to live up to commitments.
2) News about BHP ‘Target Oz’: Defence Strategic Review must address nuclear risks BHP Olympic Dam is the only outfit still selling Australian uranium to China. At best this frees up China to divert its own limited supply of uranium for use in its military nuclear regime, at worst, it directly contributes to nuclear weapons. This is a Defence Review issue. Australia has no leverage on China and must end our exposure in BHP’s risky uranium sales to China. BHP investors dial up scrutiny of fatal dam disaster remediation Australian mining giant BHP is facing pressure from investors to accelerate the clean-up and reparation works in the areas of Brazil left devastated by the deadly collapse of a mine waste dam in 2015. BHP proposal to extend Queensland coal mine until 2116 ‘delusional’, activists say Proposed expansion would cover about 4,000 hectares and involve clearing of habitat for the koala, greater glider and other threatened species.
3) LMN delivers letter to Chilean Mining Minister regarding concerns about impacts caused by Anglo American and Antofagasta Minerals At a public event organised by the Anglo-Chilean Society and sponsored by mining giants such as Antofagasta Minerals, Anglo American and Rio Tinto, the Chilean Minister of Mining was the special guest, invited to share the Chilean government’s vision of the future of mining, the energy transition and its relationship with lithium. However, this event did not rigorously discuss the impacts of mining operations on communities or ecosystems. London Mining Network delivered a letter to the Minister of Mining to make her aware of our concerns about the impacts of Anglo American and Antofagasta Minerals’ operations on neighbouring communities and especially about the impacts on the environment.
4) Ejidatario of the ejido El Bajío, in resistance against Fresnillo plc, faced death threats Earlier this year, a delegation from Ejido el Bajío in Sonora, Mexico, supported by London Mining Network and London Mexico Solidarity, attended the Fresnillo AGM in London to present their demands and questions to the company. (An ejido is a community with a particular status under Mexican law, giving them rights over common land.) Among the members of the delegation was Jesús Javier Thomas, one of the representatives of the ejidatarios. Today, Jesús is receiving death threats.
5) Miners warned commodities boom could harm environment, communities The push by companies and governments to take advantage of the mining boom and global minerals demand could lead to more harm to the environment and communities, an international conference heard on Wednesday.
6) Opening up protected areas in the Amazon to mining may lead to massive forest losses A model developed by Brazilian researchers shows that opening up protected areas in the Amazon to mining projects would lead to massive losses of forest coverage.
7) Ranked: The world’s top 10 most valuable base and precious metal mines The mining industry relies on a relatively small number of giant deposits to fuel growth — and new discoveries of this nature are few and far between. Among owners of these top ten mines are London-listed Anglo American, BHP and Rio Tinto.
8) The world’s biggest dirty energy club is cracking up Major EU countries are quitting the Energy Charter Treaty. After a wild Twitter rant, the boss of its secretariat says he was hacked.
9) UN treaty on business and human rights 8th Session of the UN Intergovernmental Working Group on a proposed treaty on business and human rights The 8th session of the UN open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (IGWG) took place on 24-28 October 2022 in Geneva. The Third Revised Draft and the concrete textual proposals submitted by States during the 7th session served as the basis for the discussions at the IGWG meeting. Prior to the session, the Chair also shared suggested proposals for amendments to several articles to facilitate the discussion. The draft report was adopted on 28 October. Business and Human Rights Treaty: Clean up the mess! A Treaty to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and to ensure access to justice for victims, is more urgent than ever. In the absence of such treaty, we can clearly see the devastation that global companies are causing to human rights and the environment, all over the world, from the Brumadinho Dam Collapse in Brazil, to widespread land grabbing in Africa.
10) Rio Tinto news Rio Tinto reaches agreement with two Turquoise Hill shareholders over $3.3bn bid Rio Tinto announced Wednesday it has entered into agreements with certain funds and entities related to Pentwater Capital Management and SailingStone Capital Partners in relation to the special meeting of shareholders to vote on the acquisition of 49% of the outstanding shares of Turquoise Hill Resources. Rio Tinto ousts Australian uranium unit directors over contentious report Rio Tinto has ousted the chairman and two other board directors at its uranium unit, a key victory in a dispute over potential mining in Australia’s Kakadu national park that had threatened its efforts to rebuild ties with indigenous groups.
11) Glencore in the news Aboriginal cultural heritage protected as NSW rejects Glendell coalmine expansion Wonnarua people want Ravensworth Homestead added to the state heritage register and to become a site of reconciliation Sukunka coal mine proposal comes with risks to threatened caribou Glencore’s Sukunka coal mine proposal would produce three million tonnes of steel-making coal per year, but poses risks to threatened caribou herds, an environmental assessment has found. Glencore-owned coal miner Cerrejon restarts operation after roadblocks Colombian coal miner Cerrejon, owned by Anglo-Swiss commodities giant Glencore said it was able to restart operations after earlier reporting that production at its mine was halted by some 13 illegal road blocks. Glencore faces flood of UK litigation following bribery charges Glencore Plc faces a raft of class-action style lawsuits from investment and pension funds in the UK, months after the mining giant pleaded guilty to market manipulation and bribery. UK prosecutors implicate 11 Glencore employees in bribery probe As many as 11 former Glencore Plc employees could be under investigation by UK prosecutors as the company prepares to be sentenced for bribery across five African countries, prosecutors said. Glencore employees moved bribes cash by private jet, London court told Employees and agents of a British subsidiary of mining and trading group Glencore used private jets to transfer cash to pay bribes to oil officials in West Africa, prosecutors told a London court on Wednesday. UK battery startup Britishvolt secures short-term funding UK battery startup Britishvolt said on Wednesday it has secured a short-term investment to stay in business and staff will take a temporary pay cut while the company seeks longer-term funding for its planned gigafactory project in northern England. Britishvolt had earlier received backing from mining giant Glencore, which kicked off a funding round for the startup in February.
12) B2Gold, AngloGold put Gramalote project in Colombia up for sale Canada’s B2Gold and South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti (which also raises money via the London Stock Exchange) have decided to put their $925 million Gramalote gold project in Colombia up for sale before year-end.
13) Hochschild in Latin America Protesters in Peru target Hochschild’s largest mine Peruvian demonstrators on Monday burned infrastructure at London-listed Hochschild Mining Plc’s Inmaculada mine as part of a protest, the company said, threatening the operations of its largest mine in the Andean nation. Hochschild makes headway at gold project in Brazil Precious metals producer Hochschild Mining has completed 16% of its Posse gold project in Brazil’s central state of Goías, only two months after obtaining the environmental permit.
14) Coal in the UK Coal mine decision delayed for third time A decision on whether or not to grant planning permission for a controversial new coal mine in Cumbria has been delayed for a third time and is now due to be made “on or before 8 December 2022”. “Scotland … has drawn a line, the era of coal is over” The Scottish government has stated that the “era of coal is over”. Lorna Slater, Co-leader of the Scottish Greens, announced at their party conference the preferred position against coal mining, for all types of coal. This is essentially a ban on coal mining in Scotland, similar to the one on fracking. The Scottish Government doesn’t have ultimate say on mineral extraction, but the preferred position means that local councils won’t be able to permit new coal mines under Scottish policy. Living in the noise, dust and pollution of the UK’s largest open coal mine at Ffos-y-Fran, Merthyr Tydfil “Everything was black. We were constantly cleaning… We couldn’t open the windows. The noise would penetrate the house… the noise of the diggers is just horrendous. There’s no sleeping with it.” Ffos y Fran – let’s stop more coal being mined Ffos-y-Fran opencast coal mine was going to come to an end, but the company has applied to mine even more coal – to the detriment of our planet and the local community. Find out how you can help stop this.
15) This 11-year-old from Manipur is leading anti-coal mine protests in Chattisgarh A young activist from Manipur is leading the protests in the region. She has been carrying out marches, holding sit-in protests, delivering speeches, and putting out threads on Twitter arguing why coal mining should be stopped in Hasdeo. The main company involved is Adani, which is involved with sponsorship at the Science Museum in London.
16) Launch of trade union guide of practice for a Just Transition The term Just Transition is used by employers, governments and other multiple stakeholders. But what is a Just Transition on the workers’ terms, and what approaches are worker-centric in ways that protect workers’ expectations and interests?
17) 100 UK universities pledge to divest from fossil fuels Move affecting 65% of institutions means endowments worth almost £18bn are out of reach for firms.
18) S. Africa: Robust and enforceable financial provision regulations are needed to ensure that companies profiting from extractive operations are accountable for environmental damage Robust financial provision regulations can play an integral part in South Africa’s ability to move to a resilient low-carbon economy and provide meaningful post-extractive livelihoods for mining-affected communities. Nelly Nkosi is an environmental activist who lives near Ermelo in Mpumalanga province. One of the biggest challenges that she faces in her work for the Khuthala Environmental Care Group is the problem of an abandoned and unrehabilitated coal mine.
19) Equator Principles put on notice by CSOs to commit on climate, nature, human rights, and pandemics, ahead of 20th Anniversary in 2023 BankTrack, the Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network and 25 CSOs (including LMN) sent an open letter to the Equator Principles Association ahead of its AGM outlining strong commitments to be made
20) The changing complexion of divestment, as managing polluters turns vogue The threat of the boot can still spur polluters to clean up faster, experts and activists say. Divestment could also be driven by economic factors, though a runaway pullout of funds would harm markets and societies. https://www.eco-business.com/news/the-changing-complexion-of-divestment-as-managing-polluters-turns-vogue/
21) Civil Liability for Human Rights Violations: A Handbook for Practitioners In 2019 – 2022, the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights led the project on civil liability for human rights violations funded by the Oak Foundation (Project). The Project involved a comparative study of the legal systems of a wide range of jurisdictions to analyse existing domestic law mechanisms or principles for imposing civil liability on public bodies, corporations, and individuals in three specified categories of human rights violation: (1) assault or unlawful arrest and detention of persons; (2) environmental harm; and (3) harmful or unfair labour conditions. Professor Catherine O’Regan led the Project, and Dr Ekaterina Aristova coordinated it. A Handbook for Practitioners is one of the Project’s outcomes.
22) Nuclear News Zaporizhzhia is the poster child for abandoning the use of nuclear power The continued military activity around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, home to six of Ukraine’s 15 reactors, has raised worldwide concern about the terrible consequences should a missile strike a reactor, or worse, the unprotected irradiated fuel pools or radioactive waste storage casks. Zaporizhzhia on the brink: How deteriorating conditions at the nuclear power plant could lead to disaster Soon after it started its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Russian military occupied the southern part of the Zaporizhzhia region. The occupied area includes the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the largest in Europe. During the summer, the area around the Zaporizhzhia NPP was hit multiple times by missiles and artillery. 7 reasons why nuclear energy is not the answer to solve climate change There is a small group of scientists that have proposed replacing 100% of the world’s fossil fuel power plants with nuclear reactors as a way to solve climate change. Many others propose nuclear grow to satisfy up to 20 percent of all our energy (not just electricity) needs. They advocate that nuclear is a “clean” carbon-free source of power, but they don’t look at the human impacts of these scenarios. Let’s do the maths… Nuclear energy too slow, too expensive to save climate: report Nuclear power is losing ground to renewables in terms of both cost and capacity as its reactors are increasingly seen as less economical and slower to reverse carbon emissions, an industry report said.