Yesterday, 29 May, Glencore hosted its AGM in Zug, Switzerland. It was intended as a celebration of the company’s achievements during the past year. In response, people around the globe have been demonstrating their discontent with Glencore, as its mining projects continue to generate severe problems for people and the environment. The demos took place in front of the Glencore AGM in Switzerland, Glencore’s offices in London and Swiss Embassies in Bogota, Lima and London.

Glencore has been tagged as #ToxicGlencore. Its toxicity includes the amount of pollution it produces, the CO2 released from burning all the coal it extracts, the blood of people with heavy metals in their bodies, the legal processes not followed, and the multiple other human rights abuses that have been documented for more than 50 years in areas such as La Guajira and El Cesar in Colombia.

In Switzerland, people were protesting against the expansion of Glencore’s coal mines. Glencore, the world’s largest private coal company, continues to push the expansion of coal mining globally, worsening the climate crisis. The company is accused of abusing human and workers’ rights and disrespecting the rights and lands of indigenous peoples. Protesters were demanding justice for people and the planet.

In Peru, people from Espinar live with toxic metals in their blood. A study conducted by the Environmental Evaluation and Supervisory Body has shown that the leachates from the Tintaya tailings dam are affecting the chemical composition of the groundwater that flows to the Tintaya and Salado rivers. The emissions of the Antapaccay copper mine have created a high concentration of pollution in the soil and air, affecting plants and animals in the area. The community of Pasco is also affected by this mine. A similar story comes from the communities of Ancash affected by the Anatamina copper mine.

In Colombia, Indigenous Wayuu and African descent people are asking for the Bruno Stream to be returned to its natural course and to stop the expansion of the Cerrejon opencast coal mine. Workers from the Prodeco coal mine are asking for fair reparations as the company ran away without a proper mine closure plan. Equally, Yukpa Indigenous people are demanding that Glencore clean up its mess after the company left their ancestral territory wrecked and polluted. There is also a call for the multinational to withdraw its ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) cases against Colombia. 

In Argentina, the Mara gold mine project has provoked great opposition from the people in Andalgala, who are resisting this project because they say it pollutes their water and uses glaciers. Why does Glencore want to carry out mining activities in Agua Rica, in an area where Argentinean law prohibits it? (Law on minimum budget for the protection of glaciers and periglacial environments -Article 6 inc. C / Ley de presupuesto mínimo de protección de glaciares y ambientes periglaciar -Art. 6 inc. C-)

The campaign Global Energy Embargo for Palestine says that 60% of the coal use in Israel comes from mines in Colombia, including Glencore mines; in that sense, the current attacks on Gaza, which the International Court of Justice says may amount to genocide, are also connected to the London-listed Swiss company.

Global actions took place in various cities in Europe. Multiple groups organised a demonstration in London in front of Glencore’s offices, followed by a workshop on Glencore’s actions in some of its mines and a march to the Swiss Embassy, accompanied by chanting and drumming.

People in Frankfurt also demonstrated against Glencore

and in Berlin, in front of the Deutsche Bank.