Report on the Anglo American AGM, Tuesday 30 April 2024

By Richard Solly, assisted by Ana Reyes-Hurt, Andy Higginbottom, Diana Salazar, Jake Simms, Kerima Mohideen, Malvika Gupta, Paul Robson, Rebeca Binda and Sebastian Ordonez

Introduction by Richard Solly

At least Anglo American spared us the self-congratulatory introductory videos that some other mining companies insist on showing at their AGMs. Maybe this is just to save time. I get the impression that the company management look forward to the AGM about as much as we do – in other words, not very much at all, and in their case, mainly because we are there. They steel themselves for the unpleasant ordeal just as we do, knowing that there will be so many objections to the company’s behaviour that the AGM will last a very long time.

Last year, their patience was clearly wearing particularly thin. The company Chairman expressed annoyance at us for asking too many questions (though we had registered them all as requested by the company and it was up to him to decide which question was called and when) and for wanting representatives of communities in Latin America to speak in their own languages, with interpretation by us. 

At the 2023 AGM, I suggested they could afford to have simultaneous interpretation. IndustriALL global union does this at international gatherings, providing delegates with headsets and having interpreters providing continuous translation between multiple languages. Glencore plc provided interpretation between English and German at their 2023 AGM in Zug in Switzerland using similar headsets. Anglo American may have been having a rough time with its finances but they can surely afford a few headsets and interpreters.

Instead, this year, as a way of ostensibly accepting the point while simultaneously contemptuously undermining it, our friend Luis Acevedo from Chile was allowed to make his whole speech and ask all his questions in Spanish, without interruption, while the company’s Board – and not the shareholders in the room – received an on screen translation of those parts of Luis’s intervention that had been sent in in advance. Then company Chairman Stuart Chambers offered a brief and inaccurate English summary of those parts of Luis’s words that he cared to share with those present. Anyone unable to understand Spanish will have been completely in the dark about much of what Luis said, and will have spent a few minutes feeling frustrated while he spoke, given that we were expressly forbidden from providing interpretation as he did so. 

The issue of interpretation for people badly affected by the company’s operations is a good example of Anglo American’s way of operating – frightfully polite on the surface, but underneath it, showing complete disregard for the dignity of those whom it affects. This cavalier disregard for its critics in affected communities cannot be allowed to continue.

Analysis by Paul Robson

More generally, the three society mega-trends that Anglo American says it is working within, and are good for itsbusiness, are:-

  • Energy transition
  • Growing living standards
  • Food security

The three mines that company Chairman Stuart Chambers and Chief Executive Officer Duncan Wanblad focused on in their presentations were:

  • Sakatti (Finland):- copper-nickel-platinum group elements.
  • Woodsmith Project (UK):- which is being branded as a crop nutrient project rather than a mining project
  • Quellaveco

Two are in Europe and only one in the global south. 

The issue of “minimal surface footprint” of mines was mentioned a few times (though how that is defined is unclear). Minimising the surface footprint is supposedly a major feature of the three mines that Anglo American focuses on. 

FutureSmartMining got a few mentions (but not as much as we would have thought). 

The strategic priorities are:

Operational excellence

Portfolio improvement, (simpler portfolio, remove complexity from the portfolio, though simpler was not defined).

Long-term growth delivery

The latter seems to imply investment in the future, which seems to imply a particular focus on investment in copper.  There was a slide that said (I think) that the aim was to have a copper output of 1 million tonnes per year by the mid-2030s, but that isn’t a big increase:- at present AA’s copper output is 826 thousand tonnes per year (copper Chile 507,000: copper Peru 319,000).


This concept seems to imply opening another mine near to an existing one, and that it will somehow be simpler to do this than opening a mine somewhere completely new. This was mentioned in the context of Minas Rio and it was implied that Minas Rio would expand to the adjacent area of Serpantina “when the time is right”. This seems to refer to this announcement in February 2024: “Anglo American plc (“Anglo American”) announces an agreement to acquire, and integrate into the assets of the Minas-Rio System, the high-grade iron ore resources located in the adjacent Serra da Serpentina, owned by Vale SA (“Vale”). Anglo American will continue to control, manage and operate the Minas-Rio System, including any future expansions that include Serpentina.”

Vale made this announcement about Serpentina last year, which implies that there has already been an EIA. There will be a mineral pipeline linking to an existing railway line. 

Questions and Answers

There were a number of questions posed by other shareholders. This report concentrates solely on those which we at LMN and associated groups were asked to raise by our contacts in communities affected by Anglo American’s activities in Latin America.

Chagres Smelter, Chile

Andy Higginbottom asked a question about air pollution on behalf of the community of Catemu in Chile, affected by Anglo American’s Chagres Smelter

He said that the community of Catemu has a child mortality rate three times the national average, the worst in the whole of Chile. Were shareholders aware that Anglo American’s Fundicion Chagres (Chagres Smelter) is, on its own data, responsible for more than 80% of the particulate matter of 2.5 micrometres that people in Catemu breathe?

Stuart Chambers replied that Chagres has always complied with air quality regulations. The smelter is recognised as of the highest environmental standards in Chile. It is continuously monitored. The operations have never been fined or taken to task for exceeding pollution limits, so the health issues in the area are not a result of Chagres. The system of prediction allows the company to know 72 hours in advance if emissions are likely to exceed safe limits and enables the operation to stop. The company is intent on ensuring it does not exceed safe limits.

Andy Higginbottom said that the answer did not conform to the experience of the community. The Chairman was sweeping the problem under the carpet. The problem was not simply the highest infant mortality in Chile, but children at Catemu were being born with deformities, there is widespread disease, and the company’s own figures show that 80% of the particulate matter is being emitted by its own foundry.

Stuart Chambers said he could not accept this. He said that the company wants to engage with the community on this matter. He said there are many, many contributors to the particulate air pollution, including the clearing of agricultural land by fire. Anglo American is determined to make sure that Chagres complies with relevant standards. There is a need for a meeting between the company at local level and those who sent the question so as to discuss the matter.

Andy concluded that, although Anglo American had not been fined for pollution at Chagres, it should have been.

Water use and damage to glaciers at Los Bronces copper mine, Chile

Jake Simms asked about water use at the Los Bronces project in Chile on behalf of communities affected by the mine.

“The Los Bronces Integrated expansion project in Chile has been denounced by various organisations and communities. In fact, this month GreenPeace has a massive campaign against the operation calling on people to ‘Raise your voice and lower Los Bronces’ to publicise the tremendous negative impacts it will produce if it goes ahead.

“The expansion of Los Bronces affects two of the most populated regions of Chile and its impacts are multiple: damage to biodiversity in an area that is a nature sanctuary, air pollution in Santiago (where the air is already considered ‘saturated’ with pollutants), use of public roads, damage to the increasingly scarce water resources and destruction of glaciers, among many others. Regarding the latter, Chile has been in a mega-drought for more than 13 years and access to fresh water is mostly thanks to glaciers – precisely those that Anglo American is destroying with its Los Bronces operation. The company’s intensive and irresponsible use of water in the area (1380 litres per second plus the mine’s water) puts the water security of more than seven million Chileans and the fragile mountain ecosystems at risk.

“Why does Anglo American continue to destroy the glacier zone if there is evidence that this is generating an irreversible crisis? What guarantees does Anglo American give to the world that it is conserving a heritage for humanity which is crucial in confronting the climate crisis, such as the glaciers? If Anglo American brings desalinated water, how much freshwater will it return to communities and in what ways?”

Stuart Chambers replied that the operation involving the glacier is the Integrated Project. The project has not yet started, and it has received the necessary permits from the authorities. There is no way in which the project could or would affect the glaciers. If this were not the case, the company would not be pursuing it. 

Duncan Wanblad added that the work done on the project has involved consultation with many stakeholders over many years and it is designed with leading edge standards on air quality, land preservation and glaciers. The project complies with leading edge legislation and thinking on nature preservation and the coexistence of mining with it. The project does not aim to extract 100% of the resource at the expense of its environment but that part of the resource whose extraction would allow the environment to thrive. On water, Los Bronces has been working for years to come up with solutions that are more sustainable than the extraction of water from current sources. It has come up with plans to source 45% of its water from other sources by desalination. Desalinated water would be provided to the communities while the mine used grey water that is currently disposed of to the ocean in accordance with Chilean legislation.

Jake said he found the answers disrespectful and dismissive of the concerns of the communities. He then asked about tailings dams.

Tailings dams at Los Bronces copper mine, Chile

“In early January, Chile’s National Human Rights Institute (INDH) published the report of its 30th Observation Mission to the tailings of Anglo American’s Los Bronces mine. The report includes potential risks from the existence of the tailings, such as possible collapse and air and water pollution. The document states that one of the main risks observed is the collapse of one of the dams ‘and that the material it contains could quickly reach the surrounding communities’. In this regard, the INDH states that there are no maps and management plans for this risk that are known to the population, in addition to noting that in one of the walls of the Las Tórtolas dam, located in Colina, a crack was generated ‘that the company did not detect and therefore did not report’.

“Considering that Chile is an intensely seismic country, what concrete actions are you taking to address the serious allegations made by the INDH? Why do none of Anglo American’s tailings in Chile have efficient and informed community safety and evacuation plans?

“Two parallel studies revealed the toxic metal footprint that the mining boom from 1990 onwards has left in the environment, leaving a worrying legacy associated with the impact on human health, including arsenic, lead and sulphur. A high concentration of toxic metals has been discovered in houses and trees in the north of the country 70 kilometres from the mining operations.

“Considering that the Los Bronces mine is 50 kilometres from the town of Lo Barnechea and other operations even closer, how does the company take responsibility for the damage it is doing to people’s health?”

Stuart Chambers replied that Anglo American’s tailings dams have all the legal permits necessary and are permanently monitored according to national guidelines, the company’s policies and the international GISTM standards. The Chile National Human Rights Institute Report is based on opinion and has no technical support. There is no crack in the Las Tórtolas dam which compromises its safety or stability. Anglo American has refuted the report with technical arguments. Information on the status of the tailings dams has been made public and shared with the community. The company permanently arranges community visits to the facilities to show them on site how the dams are managed and all are invited to participate in these visits. It is understandable that people living in the vicinity of a tailings dam, especially in South America, are anxious, given what has happened in recent years. The only way to manage that anxiety is through open dialogue and sharing information. He implored Jake or the person on whose behalf Jake was asking the question to turn up to the next encounter between the mine and the local community.

Jake said that the other way to deal with the problem would be to listen to what the communities wanted and do it.

Stuart Chambers said that the company would do this – but it was clear he was having some difficulty hearing all that had been said.

Community rights on common lands around El Soldado copper mine, Chile

Luis Acevedo then asked his question, in Spanish.

Stuart Chambers said that he would summarise in English what Luis had said. He began by saying that Luis’s intervention contained “a lot of views and opinions” about Anglo American’s El Soldado copper mine and how it affects surrounding land and communities, thus immediately throwing into doubt any possibility of a faithful, dispassionate and accurate summary. Stuart Chambers said that Luis had talked about the ownership of the common lands. Stuart Chambers said that land ownership in Chile is very different from the UK but needs to be clearly understood. He said that Luis made “a number of accusations about what the mining activities have done to the community, and so on, but in essence there is only one question, and that is, why has Anglo American at El Soldado recently started a process of suing the directors of the trade association which Mr Acevedo represents and declaring that this association does not represent the interests of the community members.” Stuart Chambers said that Luis had referred to a letter from the trade association to Anglo American laying out a lot of this material and a reply from Ruben Fernandes, the Senior Manager responsible for South America and other areas, with which Luis had been pleased because it came across as sincere and constructive. Luis had expressed concern that this was not being applied consistently by people in local management.

Stuart Chambers then thanked Luis for his constructive attitude. The company often experienced people raising issues at the AGM and refusing to engage at local level. In this case, Stuart Chambers said, he could see real efforts being made to engage constructively. He thanked Luis for that. He said that Anglo American is one of many landowners in the area included in the common lands. The company owns just over 20% of ‘a couple of the properties’. In total there are just over 300, he said, and Anglo American has just over 20% of two of them. The company has no intention or desire to expand that. It has no desire to control the land or build anything on it. It just wants to make sure that the land is managed in the best interests of the majority of the landowners, which includes Anglo American, Luis’s association, farmers and many other people. Because of some irregular activities by some people, which are causing a problem for other landowners, and are being pursued in the interests of a minority, Anglo American has asked for an independent administrator, to be appointed by a majority of the community, and this is the best way that all the landowners can be represented. Anglo American’s only interest is to protect this land in its form so that it can create a buffer zone between the mining activities and any people who live in the area. The company is not suing anybody and has no intention of doing so. The views expressed by Ruben Fernandez in his letter are the company’s views. If there is any disconnect or inconsistency with the team in El Soldado, Anglo American will straighten it out. Luis would be very welcome to talk about this with Anglo American personnel in London while he is here.

Luis clarified his remarks, again in Spanish.

Stuart Chambers again offered a summary in English. He said that Luis had said that the association represents farmers who have been farming the land for a very long time and that Anglo American are miners and do not understand farming. Stuart Chambers said that it was precisely for this reason that Anglo American are so keen for there to be an independent administrator who can listen to those views and respect them, and prevent the use of land in the wrong way and against the wishes of the majority. He said he could not go into any further detail. He said he had given Luis the company’s clear assurance of constructive engagement and thanked Luis for his own willingness to engage with the company’s team at local level when he returned to Chile. He said that although at the AGM he could not go into all the detail of the case, the Board stands behind Mr Fernandez’s commitment in his letter.

Tailings dams at El Soldado, Chile

Armando Caroca asked about the tailings dams at the El Soldado operations in Chile

He said that Anglo American had continued to operate the El Torito tailings dam despite the fact that it had polluted the land and the groundwater downstream, as had been explained previously. Currently, the dam is licenced by the Chilean state for use until 2027. His question concerned the fact that the company had been purchasing rights of use of common land. He asked specifically about Site Number 2 of the common land. Does Anglo American have any plan to build a new tailings dam or any kind of infrastructure on this special common land number 2? The construction of a new dam in that area would damage the entire watershed and this watershed currently supplies three rural water distribution systems with water that has been maintained as pollution free. Does the company have a plan for this special site number 2? Could the Chairman explain why the company is buying these rights to use the land?

Stuart Chambers said that the company is not seeking to acquire or control land in order to get permits to build another dam. It has no intention at all of doing that. The concern about land sue is mainly about protecting the safety of the community in order to prevent people building new settlements and living too close to the tailings dam. Duncan Wanblad added that it was also to keep the company’s commitments on compensation and reafforestation and to increase biodiversity.

Armando pointed out that the area was far from the mine operations and therefore does not make sense as a buffer zone.

Coarse Particle Recovery and Hydraulic Dry Stacking of tailings

Paul Robson asked about tailings and hydraulic dry stacking.

Scientists at the US Geological Survey estimate that the mining industry, globally, produces about 10 billion tonnes of tailings per year. Thirty per cent of these tailings come from copper mining. The average grade of copper now being mined is less than 1% so a mine such as Quellaveco, with an annual output of copper of 300,000 tonnes, is probably producing about 30 million tonnes of tailings per year. Globally, the amount of tailings produced per year is increasing due to falling grades and the increase in mining of low grade ores such as copper. Copper is an increasing part of Anglo American’s portfolio. 

Paul said that he took an interest in the actions of the mining industry to mitigate the risks that derive from this output of mine tailings. He attended an Anglo American seminar about “partnerships” in November 2023 and, in the context of a presentation about Quellaveco, asked a question about the use of new technologies of ore processing and tailings dam construction. The answers had given him the strong impression that these were very much at the pilot stage. 

The Annual Report and the Sustainability Report for this AGM give a different impression: they suggest that Coarse Particle Recovery and Hydraulic Dry Stacking are about to be rolled out at scale as proven technologies at Quellaveco. He said he would therefore like to know:

  • What has been proved with these technologies (Coarse Particle Recovery and Hydraulic Dry Stacking)?
  • Have they been independently assessed? 
  • What is the timetable for implementation of these technologies at Quellaveco? 

Duncan Wanblad replied that there were different stages for each technology. Anglo American started out with a pilot project at El Soldado and progressed to a larger coarse particle recovery project at Quellaveco. Both of these are now at production scale. The capital has been spent on them and they are in the process of commissioning and ramp up to full production. Those are no longer pilot trials but full scale implementation on the back of the demonstration project at El Soldado. On dry stack dewatering, the purpose is to reduce the footprint of mining. It reduces the amount of land and the volume of water needed for mining. At pilot scale at El Soldado the company has demonstrated the proof of concept of dry stack tailings and is moving into the next stage of a feasibility study for the deployment of this technology in large mining operations and new mining operations. The results are very positive and encouraging.

Paul asked whether the company expected to be using these new technologies for all production at Quellaveco in the near future. Duncan Wanblad said that Quellaveco was already using these new technologies.

Water treatment around the Minas Rio iron ore mine, Brazil

Kerima Mohideen said that her question concerned the water treatment plant in the resettlement area of Piraquara in the community of Conceicao do Mato Dentro. Analyses have detected harmful contaminants in the local water supply. Therefore the water treatment plant is critical to ensuring safe drinking water for the communities. When is Anglo American committed to operating this plant till? What steps will the company be taking to ensure a smooth transition of responsibility for running the plant to local government?

Stuart Chambers said the company had committed to engaging with the local community in Piraquara. The company has committed to running the plant for five years, after which responsibility will be taken over by the local authority. Five years should be ample time for the local authority to prepare to take on the responsibility.

Kerima suggested that the company needed to commit to running the water plant until the local government was ready to take on the responsibility. The company could not simply end operation of the water plant with nobody ready to take over. Duncan Wanblad said the company would not walk away from its responsibilities. Stuart Chambers said that if the company did not give the local authority a time-bound commitment they may not step up, but the company would not withdraw from its responsibility. Kerima pointed out that the local authority may not have the same resources as Anglo American to run the water plant.

Remembering Samuel Arregoces

I held up a photograph of our friend Samuel Arregoces, from Tabaco, a community evicted in August 2001 to make way for the expansion of the Cerrejon opencast coal mine in La Guajira, Colombia. Samuel had died of cancer at the end of the preceding week, still waiting for justice for his scattered community. How many others from Tabaco would die before they received the just settlement that they deserved? I asked whether the Chairman would be willing to hold a moment of silence in Samuel’s honour. He replied that it would be churlish not to do so, and so silence was held for a minute to remember Samuel.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is SAmuel-mirada-sonrisa-595x427.png

Samuel Arregoces, from Tabaco in Colombia, who died prematurely the week before the Anglo American AGM after many years campaigning for justice for communities affected by Cerrejon Coal

Asana River diversion, Peru

Diana Salazar asked about the impact of the company’s Quellaveco copper mine on the Asana River in Peru.

“The Asana River diversion system consists of the diversion dike, the diversion tunnel and the river diversion channel. The tunnel is 7.2 km long and has a concrete floor and full lining. In addition, works have been carried out to divert the natural flow of the Sarallenque and Millune streams, which are conveyed by concrete channels to a discharge point.

Anglo American’s responses to our queries regarding the diversion of the Asana River during the 2020 AGM highlight that the Asana River will be protected by a tunnel that will isolate its waters from the mining operations, maintaining its quality for domestic and agricultural consumption. However, recent studies conducted in 2019 by the Environmental Evaluation and Oversight Agency (OEFA) in Peru show that the diversion of the Asana River altered water quality. In addition, there were 22 seepage zones identified along the 7.2 km length of the tunnel, associated with areas of structural weakness (faults and fractures). Despite the fact that any water that leaks through faults and fractures is supposed to be captured by a collection system, there are leaks and laminar flows at present that flow into the waters of the Asana River.

“In order for these waters not to affect the water quality of the Asana River, this will require continuous maintenance of the tunnel during Anglo American’s mining operations, which makes us question what will happen when its mining activities end. 

“How will Anglo American ensure continuous maintenance of the Asana River diversion tunnel during its mining operations and what will be its plan to maintain water quality and the diversion tunnel at the end of its mining operations? What actions and/or interventions were taken to solve the problem of seepage in the diversion tunnel? What are the causes and relationships between water flows, groundwater and the old channel of the Asana River, and what actions were taken to ensure that these flows do not come into contact with mining operations?

“These flows do not currently influence the physicochemical, hydrochemical or biological characteristics of the Asana River; however, continuous maintenance of the tunnel walls and roof should be performed, especially in areas of shotcrete deterioration.”

Stuart Chambers replied that the diversion was intended to ensure that mining activity did not interfere with water needed by the local community. He said that the company was committed to continuous maintenance but the monitoring of the quality of the Asana River coming in from outside the mine area and then going out after the diversion, on the other side of the mine, was being done not just by the company but by the local community on the form of the local authority, and they are taking account of the concerns Diana had mentioned and ensuring that they are not leading to deterioration in the quality of the water. After the mine is closed, quite a long time in the future, the company is committed to returning the river to its original course if that is the request and the desire of the local communities, but local communities sometimes say that if the water quality is fine under the new arrangements it would be better to keep them rather than go through the disruption of further construction work and a period of the river settling down again. The company would not insist on returning the river to its original course if the local community did not want that.

Diana noted that the Environmental Oversight Agency had noted that the quality of the river had been changed already as a result of the filter. Stuart Chambers said that this was new information for him and he asked that Diana or her local contact engage with the company’s local management to ensure that they had this information. Diana said that she had asked in advance for written answers to the detailed technical questions she had submitted. Stuart Chambers said that the company does not make a blanket commitment to provide written answers but if something requires it, like this, they may do so. Diana pointed out that she had received a different response from the company by email before the AGM. Stuart Chambers said that giving written answers was not the norm, but an arrangement made during the COVID pandemic.

Infractions by the Quellaveco mine in Peru

Ana Reyes-Hurt explained that London Mining Network had submitted a number of very detailed questions about Peru and would appreciate written answers because it would not be possible to deal with them all at the AGM. She said that the Moquegua Region is where the Quellaveco Mine is situated.

She said that the Moquegua region in Peru where the Quellaveco mine is situated suffers from constant water stress. This has worsened in the past few years years as a result of competition for water use by mining companies. Peruvian state institutions, such as the Ombudsman’s Office, have shown concern for the potential social conflicts that could be triggered by Quellaveco’s use of water, not only in Moquegua but in other regions, such as the province of Arequipa.

Another constant concern in Moquegua has to do with the consequences of the diversion of the Asana River through a tunnel to make Quellaveco’s operations viable. In the past few years there had been complaints from social organizations in Moquegua, indicating that there are defects found in the tunnel affecting the quality of the water. People had also recently found out about the possible expansion of the mining pit, foreseen in the 5th amendment to the Environmental Impact Study, which could have effects on the infrastructure in place for the diversion of the Asana River, which raises concerns.

Between 2016 and 2023, Anglo American Quellaveco S.A., accumulated a total of 16 environmental infractions imposed by the Environmental Evaluation and Oversight Agency (OEFA), the most relevant of which Ana went on to mention.

“Anglo American failed to comply with capturing the water flow coming from the Sarallenque stream and diverting it to the natural water courses, failing to comply with the provisions contained in its environmental management commitments.

“Anglo American diverted water from the Titire River without having the correct infrastructure to capture its water.

“Anglo American did not treat the domestic wastewater, which, with prior authorization from the National Water Authority, will be used to irrigate revegetated areas and roads. In addition, it did not implement adequate measures to mitigate dust emissions during the loading of cut material in the Caracoles area.

“Anglo American did not interview key stakeholders to record their level of information regarding the community relations plan, nor did it disseminate the results of the environmental monitoring activities to evaluate their compliance with the Community Relations Plan.

“The company has also failed in coordinating with the populations of the Areas of Direct Influence to carry out participatory environmental monitoring activities, train the population of the Areas of Direct Influence in the use of environmental monitoring tools; and disseminate the results of the environmental monitoring carried out in all localities in 2017.

“How has Anglo American complied with all the infractions identified by the OEFA and has it paid the amount required within the deadlines assigned by law? Are there more changes foreseen in the Environmental Impact Study with regard to the dimensions of the tunnel? 

“How is Anglo American ensuring that the populations living in their direct area of influence are adequately informed about a number of key issues, including, the lack of treatment of domestic wastewater and the measures taken to remedy this? Were the communities of the Tambo Valley and Ilo-Moquegua basin informed about the diversion of the Titire River? Have they resolved the infrastructure issues needed for the adequate catchment of the Titire River and the Sarallenque stream?”

Stuart Chambers replied that he had already answered the questions about written answers and water extraction. Regarding environmental infractions, he said that Anglo American has accepted the judgements and paid the fines. Regarding expansion, Duncan Wanblad added that there were no plans to change the dimensions of the river. He said the company could increase output from the mine without abstracting more natural sources of water or changing the dimensions of the tunnel, because of using the new technologies spoken about earlier.

Conflicts over water around the Quellaveco mine, Peru

Sebastian Ordonez asked about conflicts about water use around the Quellaveco mine in Peru.

In September 2022, protests took place in the region of Arequipa, led mainly by farmers from the Tambo Valley, in rejection of the permit granted by the National Water Authority of Peru to the Quellaveco mine, which allows it to use 22 million cubic metres of water from the Titire and Vizcachas rivers. Both rivers are located in the Tambo basin, on which the Tambo Valley depends. Protesters called for the cancellation of Quellaveco’s water use license. Although Anglo American has reiterated on several occasions that the water that Quellaveco will use is not suitable for agricultural consumption, the use of water from the Tambo basin continues to generate concern. What is the current situation of this conflict and how is Anglo American dealing with it? What has Anglo American done to dispel any doubts about the impacts of mining on water use with the people that rely on water supply in the Tambo Valley in Arequipa? How has it assessed the risk that reactivation of protest could present for the operation in 2024? Has the company communicated adequately with the community about the amount of water transferred from the Tambo basin to the populations of the lowlands?

Stuart Chambers said that this issue had come up at a number of previous AGMs and that he had been at pains to explain all that the company had done to construct dams to ensure water supply. Duncan Wanblad said that with respect to the continuation of consultation and dialogue with affected communities, the company does that all the time. Despite the fact that the company has the EIAs and water licences, the company does continue to talk and engage with all the communities to understand the concerns that they have, in addition to working collaboratively with them in respect of monitoring water quality and management. If there are any changes that are required, the company makes them. The question about the water licence was raised and the national authority has confirmed that these complaints were unfounded and the company’s water licence stands and there is no further opportunity for appeal on that. But this does not mean that the company does not continue to work with the communities and understand their concerns and continue to evolve the situation. But the company is absolutely compliant with all the requirements of its water licences.

Resettlement around the Minas Rio iron ore mine, Brazil

Rebeca Binda asked a question on behalf of the community of Conceição do Mato Dentro, affected by Anglo American’s Minas Rio iron ore mine.

“The Gondó region is one of the thirteen local communities impacted by the Minas-Rio project. There, Anglo American is currently drafting its Resettlement Action Plan. Under this plan, residents in Gondó are set to receive new housing. However, a great number of residents are being unjustly excluded from this resettlement plan due to technical problems with their proof of address. Can you explain what criteria were used to exclude these people?

“Up to this point, individuals affected by the Minas-Rio Project in Conceição do Mato Dentro, who have been forced to relocate or have been resettled, have not yet received the ownership titles to their new homes, significantly affecting their lives. Last year, at the last AGM, Tricia Wilhelm, Anglo American’s Group Head of Social Impact, assured us that she would address this issue, and a meeting with the local Brazilian office was promised. Despite an agreed attempt to arrange this meeting in June 2023, the affected community members were never contacted by either the English or the Brazilian office. Given this lack of follow-through, how and when does Anglo American plan to resolve this issue and provide the necessary property titles to the community members?”

Stuart Chambers said he could not comment on how Tricia or anyone else had responded. This was news to him. Gondó is a rural community. It does not much public infrastructure. Details around land ownership and deeds is a complicated area for local authorities to agree and then provide title deeds to relocated people for the existing place they have left. They have to go through multiple generations of records to try to find information around ownership, and these things take time. The company recognises the human aspect of that. Although this matter is not the company’s direct responsibility, it has to be supportive as its activities have displaced the people. Duncan Wanblad would take the issue up with Tricia and ensure satisfactory engagement with community members.

Rebeca asked how residents should expect to receive communication from Anglo American. Stuart Chambers asked if there was a community organisation with which the company could communicate. Rebeca replied that there is. Stuart Chambers said the company would go back to whatever engagement structure has been set up. Given that residents have an association, the company would communicate with that association.

Rebeca then repeated her question about the criteria being used to exclude people from the resettlement action plan. There are people who have proof of address yet are being excluded from the settlement. Stuart Chambers said this was a very detailed question and not suitable for the Board to try to answer in any quality way in an AGM. He said this could only be solved through local engagement. He said the company would contact the local community as discussed. At present he did not know what the criteria were. Rebeca noted that the only reason she was bringing the issue to the AGM was that the community tried to contact Anglo American Brazil but it was not possible as they never answered. Stuart Chambers said he understood that, and that this was why they would make sure that engagement happened.