South African miners massacred for corporate profits

This 7 May 2018 video is called South Africa’s mining industry puts profits before people – NUM.

Another video from South Africa used to say about itself:

SHOCKING: Reportedly, Video of South African Police Shooting and Killing Some Striking Lonmin Miners

South Africa’s president has announced an official inquiry into the shooting dead of 34 mine workers by police officers.

Having cut short an official trip to Mozambique to visit the scene of the killings at the Marikana mine, President Jacob Zuma told a news conference he was “saddened and dismayed” by what happened on Thursday.

He said the whole country was mourning and promised a full investigation into the incident, for which the mine workers and police have blamed each other.

Mr Zuma said: “We have to uncover the truth about what happened here. In this regard, I’ve decided to institute a commission of inquiry.

“The inquiry will enable us to get to the real cause of the incident and to derive the necessary lessons too. This is a shocking thing.”

Brazen Lonmin bosses at the tragedy-hit Marikana platinum mine ordered employees to return to work or face dismissal today.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Hard questions for SA police

Sunday 19 August 2012

There can never be justification for a massacre of striking workers and it is essential that the committee of inquiry set up by Jacob Zuma to examine the tragic events at Marikana makes this a central conclusion.

Nor should the committee concern itself solely with the most recent events – the murder early in the week of police, security guards and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members and the subsequent massacre of strikers by police.

The South African Police Service must explain why its officers were armed with automatic weapons when an order was issued last year banning the use even of rubber bullets during public protests.

Inadequate police training to deal with potentially violent situations, combined with officers’ anger at the butchery of two of their colleagues, was always likely to provide a combustible mix.

But the committee must also examine the wider picture of the platinum industry, the conduct of mining employers, the living conditions of miners and their families and the role of trade unionism.

Platinum mines have delivered tens of millions of pounds of dividends for shareholders, but, despite promises made in company annual reports, workers and their families still live in corrugated iron shacks without running water or electricity.

The most recent investigation of the industry by the faith-based Bench Marks Foundation is scathing in its description of routine death toll of miners underground – usually through rock falls.

It lays bare the penny-pinching attitude of the mining corporations, using poorly paid and inadequately trained subcontracted labour, which compromises the health and safety of workers.

The Bench Marks Foundation was emphatic that the introduction of labour subcontracting, to which the trade union movement has demanded an immediate end, was designed specifically to “break the power of NUM” and weaken the bargaining rights won over decades of struggle.

It is therefore unsurprising that British-based transnational corporation Lonmin, which owns the mine, has cast oil on the flames by ordering strikers back to work on pain of the sack.

Grieving families have not yet buried their menfolk. Some have not even traced which hospital their wounded relatives are in. It is unacceptable that Lonmin bosses should risk an escalation of tension by telling 3,000 workers to get back or ship out.

The divide-and-rule tactics within the industry dominated by an oligopoly of powerful houses are well documented.

The NUM, South Africa’s largest union and a prime target for corporate hostility, has seen the oligopoly use every underhand trick in the book to undermine collective bargaining agreements and to divide the workforce. It accuses one company, BHP Billiton, of initially funding the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, led by Vuzimusi Joseph Mathunjwa, whose recruitment efforts across the platinum industry have common features.

These include systematic violence, extravagant demands – such as a near trebling of pay at Marikana – and collaboration from the mining companies.

One of the NUM members killed early last week was a shop steward and the union insists that its key personnel were on a hit list drawn up by the AMCU leadership.

None of this excuses police commanders of their responsibility for arming their officers to the hilt and ordering them to open fire with automatic rifles.

But it should give some people pause for thought before they repeat erroneous allegations that NUM is a sellout union or that President Zuma ordered the slaughter.

SOUTH African platinum miners were yesterday continuing their strike, and their wives are occupying the entrance to the British-owned Lonmin Marikana mine: here.

Bosses forced to push back deadline for striking miners.

No striking miners will be fired in the week that South Africa officially mourns the killings of 44 men at the Marikana platinum mine, including 34 strikers shot by police, a South African government spokesman said yesterday: here.

Unrest spread across South Africa’s platinum-mining industry today, with previously unaffected mines reporting walkouts and pay demands: here.

Grieving South African families attended memorial services today for 34 striking miners killed by police.

South Africa’s day of mourning fails to stem anger over Marikana massacre: here.

More join South African strike as autopsies show miners were shot in the back; here.

Fewer than 7 per cent of Lonmin’s 28,000-strong South African workforce reported for duty at the strife-torn Marikana mine today as the company held talks with trade unions.

PLATINUM miners arrested at South Africa’s Marikana mine were yesterday charged with the murder of 34 colleagues shot by police: here.

In an act of naked class justice, South Africa is using an apartheid-era law to lay bogus murder charges against striking miners targeted by police in the Marikana massacre: here.

BHP Billiton corporation threat to orang-utans of Borneo

This video is about orang-utans.

Talking about greenwashing by corporations … from The Sunday Times in Britain:

Mining giant to raze apes’ forest home

Clare Rewcastle and Jon Ungoed-Thomas

THE world’s biggest mining company, a supporter of the BBC’s Saving Planet Earth campaign to protect orang-utans, is planning to raze some of the great apes’ rainforest habitat.

Documents obtained by The Sunday Times reveal that the Anglo-Australian group BHP Billiton plans to exploit mining rights across swathes of Borneo’s tropical forests in southeast Asia. It has lobbied for the protected status of some of these areas to be lifted so it can clear the trees and dig for coal.

Details of the proposed open cast mines in the region, known as the Heart of Borneo, have outraged environmentalists and wildlife experts.

Orang-utan ancestry: here.

Primates of Indonesia video: here.

Proboscis monkeys of Borneo: here.

Geology of Borneo caves: here.

‘BHP Billiton mining corporation poisons workers’

This video from the USA says about itself:

When Erica [Fernandez] found out that a liquefied natural gas facility was proposed for the coast of Oxnard and Malibu with a 36-inch pipeline routed through low-income neighborhoods, she was outraged. She worked in concert with the Sierra Club and Latino No on LNG group to mobilize the youth and Latino voice in protests and public meetings. She organized weekly protests at the BHP Billiton offices in Oxnard, met regularly with community members, marched through neighborhoods that would be most impacted, reached out to the media, and brought more than 250 high school students to a critical rally.

From British daily The Independent:

Lawyer pursues BHP Billiton over ‘living death’ poisoning

By Abigail Townsend and Mark Hollingsworth

Published: 26 November 2006

FTSE 100 giant BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, has become embroiled in a row over compensation for workers suffering from manganese poisoning, a crippling condition similar to Parkinson’s disease.

The dispute is centred on a South African plant run by BHP subsidiary Samancor Manganese – the Metalloys plant in Meyerton, south of Johannesburg.

Richard Spoor, a lawyer specialising in occupational health and the mining sector, is demanding compensation for six severely ill former workers as well as screening for the entire workforce.

“There has been a spate of severe manganese poisoning cases at the Meyerton plant,” said Mr Spoor.

“I do occupational health and have seen some pretty ugly things but this [condition] is the worst I have seen. It’s a living death.”

Manganese poisoning is incurable and leaves victims, who also suffer seizures, unable to work.

But Mr Spoor said that BHP had not paid compensation to the former workers.

Instead they had been left to claim benefits from the Workmen’s Compensation Scheme, a state-backed fund.

He said that the maximum payment people were entitled to from the scheme was 11,000 rand (£798) per month, and that the workers he was representing were “getting nothing close to that.

The drugs [needed to control the condition] cost more than the [monthly] pension”.

Mr Spoor is planning further meetings with BHP management, but will also involve trade unions in the campaign. It is thought that legal action against BHP has not been ruled out. …

South Africa has large reserves of manganese, and Metalloys is one of the main producers of manganese alloys.

Earlier this year, BHP hit the headlines when its copper miners in Chile went on strike after claiming their wages, unlike company profits, had not benefited from the surge in global commodity prices.