Campaigners bring demands of affected communities to Anglo-American AGM

By agency reporter
May 8, 2018

Despite breaking news of its divestment from the Nautilus deep sea mining project, Anglo-American, one of the world’s largest mining companies, still faces a barrage of criticism over the impacts of its operations worldwide.

Human rights campaigners will attend its AGM on Tuesday 8 May to present the demands of affected communities. The AGM takes place at 2.30pm at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster. Activists will attend from organisations working with different communities affected by the company’s operations in Colombia, Brazil and South Africa.

Anglo-American owns a third of Latin America’s largest opencast coal mine, located in La Guajira, Colombia. The Cerrejon mine has a long history of evicting indigenous and African descent farming communities.

Maria Cristina Figueroa, indigenous Wayuu Community leader, says: "Every day we see more pain and poverty. We are subjected to a model based on handouts, which destroys our environment along with our autonomy. Despite the various court orders, there is no real protection for our people."

In Brazil, the pipeline of the Anglo's Minas-Rio project burst twice in March 2018. The second burst occurred two days after the pipeline was inspected and put back in operation. Most of the Minas-Rio Project is now suspended for at least three months and employees face losing their jobs.

A local resident in Conceicao de Mato Dentro, anonymous due to threats people have received for criticising the mine, says: “A month after the first tube burst, we still have no explanation for why it happened. They even refused to name the company that manufactured the parts. Shareholders should demand answers about the incompetence that led to fines being paid, never mind the job losses, water pollution and suffering in local communities.”

In South Africa, settlement in a class action brought on behalf of 30,000 ex-goldminers over work-related silicosis is imminent. It was brought against a number of corporations, including AngloAmerican. Silicosis is a debilitating, incurable and yet preventable disease affecting tens of thousands of ex-miners in Southern Africa.

Tony Dykes, Director of the Action for South Africa, says: "For too long, mining companies like Anglo-American have dodged their responsibilities. These workers will never be well again. They need and deserve sufficient compensation to access to decent healthcare and live their remaining years with dignity. And any settlement must also be accompanied by real change. Anglo-American owes its workers that at least.”

Deep Sea Mining Campaign will raise the issue of Anglo-American's support for Nautilus, a high-risk deep sea mining project in Papua New Guinea.

Andy Whitmore, of the Deep Sea Mining campaign, says: "Anglo-American has just confirmed it is withdrawing from the project. Now, campaigners and local communities want recognition of just how dangerous this experimental practice really is."

* War On Want https://www.waronwant.org/

[Ekk/6]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.