Protest against gold mining in beauty spot


This 7 August 2019 video says about itself:

Turkey: Gold mine project sparks protests

A controversial gold mine project has sparked protests in northwestern Turkey.

Thousands of people rallied this week at the mine site owned by a Turkish subsidiary of Canada-based Alamos Gold.

Environmentalists say the firm is doing irreversible damage to the environment.

Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker reports from the Kaz Mountains in Canakkale province.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 9 August 2019:

Mass protest at site of Turkish gold mine

On Monday, thousands of protesters marched onto a proposed mining site in Kirazli Atikhisar, in Turkey’s Kaz mountains. The area is one of outstanding natural beauty.

The Canadian company, Alamos Gold, has contracted Turkish company East Biga Madencilik to clear trees in preparation to establishing the mine.

Initially, security guards tried to prevent the protesters accessing the site, but were overwhelmed by the sheer number of demonstrators. The protesters carried out a mass tree planting exercise in opposition to the destruction of trees the mine would produce.

Monday, August 12, 2019. Former HDP leader says unity can halt ‘environmental and cultural destruction’ in Turkey: here.

Zambia-Vedanta mining conflict


This 7 August 2019 video says about itself:

WOW!! Zambia To Expel London-Based Copper Miner Vedanta

It is not “business and usual” on the African continent for many multination corporations that have been exploiting us for a long time. Many are facing huge tax bills and even the possibility of having their various licences cancelled. The most recent case is Zambia which is already at an advanced stage of “kicking out” London-based copper miner, Vedanta.

Old Svalbard mine still damages barnacle geese health


This 2015 video says about itself:

Daredevil Goslings Make a Terrifying Jump for Life

Greenland’s barnacle goslings undergo one of the most harrowing rites of passage of any creature on the planet. In order to reach the nourishing grassy plains below, the goslings must make a leap of faith and drop over 400ft from nests perched on towering cliff tops.

From Groningen university in the Netherlands:

Pollution poses threat to Arctic goose

Researchers show that growing up in polluted area in Svalbard causes severe stress

12 December 2018

Polluted air, water and land can have a far-reaching effect on animals in polar regions. An international team led by Isabella Scheiber, Maarten Loonen and Jan Komdeur from the University of Groningen and including researchers from the universities of Leipzig, Vienna and Wageningen and the University of Groningen Arctic Centre has shown that heavy metals in the ground in Svalbard affect the physiological processes of barnacle goslings (Branta leucopsis) and lead to stress. Their findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Over 50 years ago, a coal mine imploded close to Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard.

At Ny-Ålesund mine, several disasters killed 71 miners while it was in operation from 1945 to 1954 and from 1960 to 1963.

Although the village was cleaned up, the area around the deserted mine, which is used as a grazing area by a population of barnacle geese, was not. Previous research by a team led by Maarten Loonen had already shown that high levels of heavy metals (trace elements) are still present in the area around the deserted mine. These can accumulate in the goose’s body as it grazes. It is known that pollution can affect animal behaviour, and in stressful situations, such as an encounter with a predator, the right behaviour can mean the difference between life and death. The researchers set out to discover the effect of heavy metals on the physiology and behaviour of barnacle goslings in acute stress situations.

Stress hormones

The research team studied barnacle goslings that spent the first days of their lives grazing by the polluted mine or on clean grounds. They measured the level of a stress hormone in the goslings’ droppings and observed their response to a stress test that consisted of isolating the goslings from their families for a short period of time or limiting their freedom. The goslings that grazed by the polluted mine were more restless and had higher levels of the stress hormone in their blood than their siblings that had grazed in the clean areas.

Survival

This research shows that past pollution persists for a long period of time and can significantly affect an animal’s stress response. Jan Komdeur: ‘We were astounded because the goslings were exposed to the pollution for an extremely short period of time. However, this was during a critical phase in their development. The long-term effect of this early exposure to trace elements, on reproduction success and the survival of the barnacle goose for example, remains to be seen. In fragile ecosystems such as the polar regions, this effect could be crucial to the species.’

More information

Publication: Scheiber, I.B.R., Weiß, B.M., de Jong, M.E., Braun, A., van den Brink, N.W., Loonen, M.J.J.E., Millesis, E. & Komdeur, J. – Stress behaviour and physiology of developing Arctic barnacle goslings (Branta leucopsis) is affected by legacy trace contaminants. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 285: 20181866. doi:10.1098/rspb.2018.1866.

Timber rattlesnakes threatened by mountaintop removal mining


This 2014 video is called Facts about the basic biology and ecology of timber rattlesnakes.

From the Ecological Society of America in the USA:

Does mountaintop removal also remove rattlesnakes?

Mining operations in Appalachia permanently alter habitat availability for rattlesnakes

January 3, 2019

Summary: Timber rattlesnakes, according to the study’s author, are among the most docile creatures in Appalachia. They choose places to hibernate that are more likely to be surface mined due to their ridgetop locations. Mining thus put this species at a disadvantage and reduces the biodiversity of the area.

On the Cumberland Plateau in eastern Kentucky, surface coal mining is destroying ridgelines and mountaintops, and along with them, the habitat of a surprisingly gentle reptile species — the timber rattlesnake.

“Timber rattlesnakes may be the most docile, calm animals of their size in eastern US forests,” Thomas Maigret, a researcher from the University of Kentucky, said. “On several occasions, I’ve witnessed spiders using a rattlesnake as an anchor for a web. Females, especially, move very infrequently, and pose almost no threat to a careful human.”

Unfortunately for the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) and other species in this region — both plant and animal — surface coal mining requires complete removal of mature forest cover and the upper soil layers. This means that soil is scraped away, rocks disturbed and dug out, plants and trees removed, or the ridgetop landscape flattened and made more uniform to reach the coal buried in the earth. This alteration eliminates many diverse, unique places for animals to live and hibernate. The central Appalachia region spans eastern Kentucky, northeastern Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and southern West Virginia and is one of the most diverse non-tropical ecosystems in the world with thousands of plant and animal species, many that are only found there.

Maigret and his colleagues tracked timber rattlesnakes in a study published today in the Ecological Society of America’s journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The researchers implanted radio transmitters in snakes of the Cumberland Plateau and tracked their movements until they retreated to hibernation sites in the fall. The data gathered provided a roadmap for identifying other potential hibernating sites, or “hibernacula”, across the study area.

“Snakes of the eastern U.S. vary in their hibernacula selection behavior, and for many species not much is known about hibernacula preferences,” Maigret explained. “For example, many aquatic snakes prefer damp hibernacula near the streams where they reside during the summer. But for other species, any warm, protected crevice they can fit into seems to suffice.”

By analyzing remote-sensing and satellite imagery, mining maps, and permit data from the USGS and other sources, the researchers were then able to determine how mining might affect a wide range of hibernation sites.

They found that because timber rattlesnakes tend to hibernate in the same places that make ideal mines, surface mining disproportionately alters or eliminates their preferred habitat. “Other species with habitat preferences similar to timber rattlesnakes — including some snakes — may also be affected disproportionately by mining. On the other hand,” Maigret said, “species associated with middle or lower slopes will not be affected by mining to the same extent.”

In other words, the mining operations here are selecting against timber rattlesnake habitat, effectively cutting into the region’s biodiversity.

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 does not require mining companies to reforest the area to the original mountaintop landscape after mining has wrapped up. The law does dictate that the “approximate original contours” of a site be re-established, in an attempt to not leave the area uninhabitable by the species that once lived there. However, it is rare for forests and biodiversity to fully recover from mining-related disturbances, to the detriment of many animals and their habitats.

Is the damage done to mountain-tops irreversible? While researchers are actively improving the ability to restore habitats on reclaimed mine lands, surface mining acts as an eraser of unique ecosystems, creating a uniform landscape where there once were diverse habitat options. In the Cumberland Plateau, mining leaves conservation and management efforts very little to work with even after an operation restores the approximate original mountaintop landscape.

Still, Maigret is optimistic about the future of restoring mined areas for the docile rattlesnakes. “Coal mining in central Appalachia has serious economic headwinds,” he stated, “and may never return to the rates of surface mining of the late 20th century. Timber rattlesnakes are resilient, and their ability to adapt to previous landscape changes — including massive deforestation in the 19th and early 20th century — should not be underestimated.”

Since the 1980s, a mountaintop mine in West Virginia has been leaching selenium into nearby streams at levels deemed unsafe for aquatic life. Now, even though the mine is closed, a new study finds high concentrations of selenium in emerging stream insects and the spiders that eat them along the banks, an indication that the contaminant moves from water to land as it moves up the food chain: here.

Beaked whales threatened by mining


This 19 March 2018 video says about itself:

This is What Gervais’ Beaked Whales Look Like From Above | National Geographic

This mysterious whale is so elusive that it wasn’t seen alive in the wild until 1998. Gervais’ beaked whales live in the waters of the central and north Atlantic Ocean.

By Carolyn Gramling, 7:05pm, August 21, 2018:

Beaked whales may frequent a seabed spot marked for mining

A series of seafloor grooves look a lot like those made by the deep-diving marine mammals

Whales may have made their mark on the seafloor in a part of the Pacific Ocean designated for future deep-sea mining.

Thousands of grooves found carved into the seabed could be the first evidence that large marine mammals visit this little-explored region, researchers report August 22 in Royal Society Open Science. If deep-diving whales are indeed using the region for foraging or other activities, scientists say, authorities must take that into account when planning how to manage future mining activities.

The Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone, or CCZ, is a vast plain on the deep seafloor that spans about 4.5 million square kilometers between Hawaii and Mexico. The region is littered with trillions of small but potentially valuable rocky nodules containing manganese, copper, cobalt and rare earth elements.

Little is known of the seafloor ecosystems in this region that might be disturbed by mining of the nodules. So several research cruises have visited the area since 2013 to conduct baseline assessments of what creatures might live on or near the seafloor.

A 2015 cruise led by Daniel Jones of the National Oceanography Centre Southampton in England is the first to find evidence that suggests that whales may have dived down to visit the seafloor in the region. Using an autonomous underwater vehicle to scan the seafloor at depths from 3,999 meters to 4,258 meters, Jones’ team found 3,539 grooves in all. These depressions tended to be arranged into sequences of as many as 21 grooves, spaced six to 13 meters apart.

It’s difficult to determine exactly when the marks were made, because sediment settles very slowly through the deep water to fill in seafloor depressions. The oldest marks were made within the last 28,000 years, the team estimates. But some newer tracks appear to overlap older tracks.

No known geologic mechanism could produce the grooves, report Jones and his National Oceanography Centre colleagues, deep-sea ecologist Leigh Marsh and marine geoscientist Veerle Huvenne. But living creatures might: Some scientists, including biologist Les Watling of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and marine ecologist Peter Auster of the University of Connecticut at Avery Point, previously suggested that certain deep-diving whales, known as beaked whales, can make such markings as they use their beaks to forage for food hiding in the seafloor.

The new research is intriguing, Watling says, but adds that the biggest question mark is whether a beaked whale could really dive so deep. “When we published our paper, we were extending the probable depth of diving of the whale by several hundred meters”, he says. “These authors are doubling the depth that we talked about.” But, he adds, the new paper also points out that some anatomical studies suggest that a Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris), at least, may be able to survive a 5,000-meter dive.

Auster adds that the researchers were careful to consider other possibilities for what might have made the markings and systematically eliminate those options, leaving only the whales. And that’s definitely a matter that prospective miners will have to pay attention to, he says. Before mining proceeds, he says, future seafloors studies in the region should include efforts to detect whales, using passive acoustic monitoring, for instance.

“This is a huge finding”, says Diva Amon, a deep-sea biologist at the Natural History Museum in London. She has previously cataloged a wealth of seafloor life in the CCZ, including new genera of jellyfish, starfish and sponges. That abundance may be attributable to the variety of sediment types in the region, she adds: Soft seafloor sediment and hard rocky nodules offer numerous places for life to get a foothold.

But whales can be a game-changer, because large, charismatic marine mammals can garner public attention in a way that smaller seafloor-dwellers don’t, she says. Although the new study can’t pinpoint when the grooves were made, she says, “this is why more work needs to be done.” Even if the observed grooves were made by whales thousands of years ago, the whales’ behavior may not have changed significantly in the ensuing years, given the stability of the deep-sea environment.

“I would expect that if they were [making the depressions] a couple of thousand years ago, they’re probably still doing it now,” she says.

To date, the International Seabed Authority, the organization that oversees both mining licenses in international waters and environmental regulation of those regions, has issued 16 exploration contracts within the CCZ. Contractors working in the area must record marine mammal sightings within surface waters, as well as sightings of migratory birds, Amon says.

But, she adds, “the fact that these whales may be diving about a thousand meters deeper than was previously known” — and using seafloor that could be irreparably altered [by mining] — has the potential to change the way we manage the CCZ.”

Deep-sea mining may damage underwater ecosystems for decades. Microbe communities in the seabed off Peru still haven’t fully recovered from being disturbed by a deep-sea mining experiment 26 years ago. By Carolyn Gramling, May 4, 2020.

Christmas Island wildlife threatened by mining


This video says about itself:

10 November 2011

A short video of Christmas Island and its unique wildlife. Truly one of the most beautiful places in Australia.

From BirdLife:

15 Dec 2017

Don’t Ruin Christmas: mining threatens wildlife haven Christmas Island

Home to a unique and rich diversity of life – including five bird species found nowhere else – charmingly-named Christmas Island is one of nature’s greatest presents to Australia and the world. But new phosphate mining proposals threaten devastation. The Australian Government must choose to conserve this incredible biodiversity hotspot.

Around 1,500 kilometres north-west of the Australian mainland, the limestone-capped peak of an ancient volcano rises 5000 metres from the floor of the Indian Ocean. Closer to Java and Singapore than to Australia, Christmas Island has never been connected to any other landmass. This isolation fostered the evolution of a truly unique diversity of life. The island is home to 254 wildlife taxa and is recognised as a Key Biodiversity Area critical for conserving life on earth.

Internationally renowned for its spectacular annual Red Crab migration (rated as one of the top ten wildlife experience by Sir David Attenborough), Christmas Island is also home to five bird species and six subspecies that breed nowhere else on the planet. Out of all of them, the island’s two endemic seabirds are the most threatened.

One of these birds, the Abbott’s Booby Papasula abbotti, is a curious and distinct seabird of ancient lineage – and, with its long ungainly wings and massive beak, it has been likened to the pterodactyl. Abbott’s Boobies are now only found on Christmas Island. But past clearing for the phosphate mine has left them less than 25 square kilometres of forest on the island to breed.

Similarly, the Critically Endangered Christmas Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi only breeds in one small area on the Island. It has the questionable honour of being one of the most evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered species—up there with the rhino and the dugong. Both species may have fewer than 2,500 pairs left.

Island biodiversity is notoriously fragile. And nowhere exemplifies this better than Christmas Island, which is now considered an ‘extinction hotspot’.

Of the five species of mammal native to Christmas Island, three are now officially extinct, with the demise of the last Christmas Island Pipistrelle being one of the world’s best documented extinctions. This small bat was last recorded on the 27th of August 2009 during a failed rescue mission. The Christmas Island Shrew has not been seen since 1985, and is also presumed extinct. The only remaining indigenous mammal on the island, the Christmas Island Flying Fox, is also at risk of extinction. Likewise, four of the five species of reptile have been wiped off the island, with two now surviving only in captivity. It is also probable that seven plant and invertebrate species are extinct.

The clearing of forests for phosphate mining and the associated impacts of invasive species – introduced by lax quarantine – are the greatest threats to the island’s unique wildlife.

Mining activity has already cleared 25% of the island’s forest

An expert panel commissioned by the Australian Government reported in 2010 that ‘Christmas Island has undergone severe ecological stress from activities associated with mining that has cleared over 25% of the island area at one time or another.’

Put simply, the mining impact is irreversible and wholesale.

The ecosystem cannot recover from mining, which strips off the island’s phosphate-rich soil for export. Even if the intention was to replace the soil, doing so would do more harm than good by introducing further invasive pests. And it is not by chance that Abbott’s Booby are first in the firing line. The boobies nest on top of the tallest trees – and, of course, the tallest trees grow on soils rich in phosphate.

The impacts of mining are not restricted to the site of excavation. Even where the nesting trees are spared, boobies still suffer. The disruption of the primary forest canopy through mining exploration and tracks exposes booby nests to strong winds and creates turbulence which can eject the eggs and chicks. Furthermore, mining also exposes the remaining pristine forest to invasive species that degrade the ecosystem for all native wildlife.

Even beyond Christmas Island the mining harms ecosystems. The phosphate stripped from the island feeds oil palm plantations in South East Asia, aiding large scale rainforest destruction.

The mining activity is so short-sighted that, in a rare show of agreement, Australian Governments of all stripes have committed to transitioning away from mining on the island numerous times.

In 1987 Prime Minister Bob Hawke stopped the clearance of rainforest for mining, allowing only old spoil dumps to be reworked. The aim was to facilitate a soft transition away from mining for the island. Yet instead of planning a way out, a decade later Christmas Island Phosphates was angling unsuccessfully for new mines, and applied to clear more primary rainforest.

Even if the mine was approved, it would only provide an extra five years’ worth of income

In 2005, then Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, stated: “We need to build a long-term, sustainable future for Christmas Island. Even if the mine was approved, it would only provide an extra five years’ worth of income, and it is critical that we learn from the mistakes [of phosphate mining] on Nauru [Island]. There are large parts of Christmas Island that are certainly a biological ark.”

Fortunately, then Environment Minister, now Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull rejected the mining proposal in 2007.

Unperturbed, in 2010 Christmas Island Phosphates even took the next Government’s Environment Minister, Peter Garrett (of ‘Midnight Oil’ fame), to court over his decision to prevent further mining.

Three decades on, and after the likely extinction of another five vertebrate species, Christmas Island Phosphates is at it again. In 2016 application for phosphate mining exploration was put before the Australian Government. BirdLife Australia is taking a stand, making it clear in a formal submission that approving the exploration will destroy the habitat of a suite of birds already at high risk through habitat loss. These include the globally Endangered Abbott’s Booby, Vulnerable Christmas Boobook Ninox natalis, and the Near Threatened Christmas Imperial-pigeon Ducula whartoni and Christmas White-eye Zosterops natalis.

Also at risk are unique Christmas Island subspecies of White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus, Grey-capped Emerald-dove Chalcophaps indica, Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus and Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus.

Mining approval would not only do the island’s wildlife a disservice, but would also deprive its human population of a long-term economic future. Christmas Island Phosphates squanders the chances of the island to grow as a destination for high-end nature tourism at the doorstep of a fast-growing Asian market. In the global economy, tourism is responsible for one in every ten jobs, with ecotourism being its fastest-growing segment. Christmas Island has all the attributes of a premier nature tourism destination: outstanding wildlife, coral reefs, tropical rainforest, beautiful beaches and exquisite diving experiences. Yet mining directs investment away from this sustainable industry. And, worse, it destroys its main tourism assets.

The Australian Government has the power to stop this latest proposal. Because the exploration is on Crown Land, Christmas Island Phosphates needs Government approval to proceed. A decision on the exploration permission is imminent.

Earlier this year BirdLife Australia declared Christmas Island a Key Biodiversity Area in Danger and campaigned for the Government to rule out mining once and for all. We are now turning up the heat with a petition calling on Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to follow through on his 2007 convictions and put the future of the island beyond doubt by saying no to further mining on Christmas Island.

International pressure will play a key role in this campaign, since both Christmas Island Phosphates and the tourism trade rely on overseas business. Sign the petition and tell the Prime Minister of Australia: #DontRuinChristmas. Commit to safeguarding this unique rainforest by ending mining on Christmas Island and funding invasive species control.

How many more species need to go extinct before Australia steps up to its international obligations and saves the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean for future generations?

Read more about BirdLife Australia’s campaign and sign the petition here.

British polluting mining corporation Vedanta, London protest


This video from Britain says about itself:

5 July 2017

The latest hearing in the case of the Chingola communities consistently polluted by Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) began at the Court of Appeals in London today. A rally organised by Foil Vedanta with Pan African solidarity groups took place outside the court in solidarity with the victims of ongoing pollution who have been fighting legal battles for justice in Zambia, and now the UK, for eleven years.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Mass protests call out corporate crimes of cruel Vedanta

Tuesday 15th August 2017

BRITISH-based mining giant Vedanta faced angry protests yesterday over allegations of its environmental and rights abuses around the world.

Dissident shareholders and campaigners accusing the firm of “corporate crimes” disrupted Vedanta’s annual meeting in London. Demonstrations also took place in India and Zambia, where Vedanta operations have devastated communities.

Vedanta is being sued in British courts by Zambian villagers who claim that they have suffered 12 years of water pollution due to its operations.

Zambian government officials visited the villages earlier this year to persuade them to drop their case and settle with the mining company out of court.

But leaders from the village of Hippo Pool issued a statement that was read out at the Vedanta AGM in central London by Women of Colour spokeswoman Shoda Rackal.

It read: “The people here are sick and tired of pollution which is killing us through illness and loss of our crops and fish.

“The pollution must end at all costs. Whether we receive compensation or not, we are asking you to stop polluting us now.”

Tribal communities in India say Vedanta has colluded with the state to murder and harass them. They called for an end to the displacement and repression of Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi communities across India by Vedanta.

Vedanta has long struggled to maintain any shred of ethical treatment of the communities close to the sites it despoils.

In 2010, the Church of England decided to disinvest in the company. In February 2016, Vedanta employed former Iraq war General Sir Richard Shirreff and Lord Peter Hainas consultants to advise on “handling local protest groups.”

Vedanta was excluded from the Norwegian Pension Fund in March after a report found “there continues to be an unacceptable risk that your company will cause or contribute to severe environmental damage and serious or systematic human-rights violations.”

Foil Vedanta spokesman Samarendra Das said: “The UK government and London Stock Exchange are directly responsible for failing to investigate Vedanta’s corporate crimes in India and Zambia since its London listing in 2003.

“The Zambian state’s threats to polluted farmers demonstrate the ongoing colonial power of this British corporation, which acts more powerfully than the Zambian state.”

He accused Britain of giving the company a “cloak of respectability” while the financial system benefits by “appropriating the resources of the third world.”

Vedanta was contacted but declined to comment.

On every continent, journalists have faced difficulties investigating environmental issues. Since 2009, at least 13 journalists have been killed working on environment-related stories, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. CPJ is still investigating 16 additional deaths, so there may be as many as 29 cases. Other journalists were forced to shut down their newspapers. Many, constantly under threat, simply can’t work anymore, because they have been forced into hiding or can’t find news outlets willing to risk publishing their stories. One subject is particularly perilous: documenting environmental damage by the mining industry: here.

Protest against British mining polluters Vedanta


Demonstration outside a previous Annual General Meeting of Vedanta. Protests on Monday will also be held at locations in India and Zambia

From daily News Line in Britain:

Friday, 11 August 2017

MASSIVE PROTEST ORGANISED FOR THE VEDANTA AGM ON AUGUST 14th!

LOUD and angry protests will again be held outside the AGM of British mining company Vedanta Resources’ AGM at the Lincoln Centre, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London at 2pm on Monday 14th August.

The demonstrators are accusing the company of major environmental and human rights abuses across its operations. Parallel protests will be held by affected communities and their supporters at several locations in India and Zambia.

Inside the AGM, dissident shareholders will ask questions on behalf of Zambian villagers who are suing Vedanta in the UK for twelve years of polluted water, as well as tribal inhabitants of the Niyamgiri hills in Odisha, India who accuse Vedanta of murdering and harassing them with state collusion.

Protesters in London will pour scorn on Vedanta’s 2017 Annual Report, which claims that the company ‘demonstrates world-class standards of governance, safety, sustainability and social responsibility’. They say it represents a poor attempt to don the ‘cloak of respectability’ of a London listing, pointing out that:

• Vedanta was again excluded from the Norwegian Pension Fund’s investments this year following an investigation which found ‘numerous reports of Vedanta’s failure to comply with government requirements’ at four subsidiaries in Odisha, Chhatisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Zambia.
The report concludes: ‘There continues to be an unacceptable risk that your company will cause or contribute to severe environmental damage and serious or systematic human rights violations.’
• Vedanta’s Annual Report makes no mention of its liabilities relating to the landmark legal case in which 1,826 Zambian farmers have been granted jurisdiction to sue Vedanta in London for gross pollution by its subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
• At the July appeal hearing in the case, Vedanta’s lawyers claimed that the company’s sustainability and human rights reports are only produced for show as a requirement of London Stock Exchange rules.
Instead they claimed Vedanta Resources has very little actual oversight or involvement with subsidiary operations such as Konkola Copper Mines.
• Vedanta are again subject of an international arbitration for withholding $100 million in dividends from Cairn Energy, owner of 9.8% shares in Vedanta-controlled oil company Cairn India.
In December 2016 London courts ordered Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines to pay $103 million in withheld dividends to Zambian State entity ZCCM-IH.3.
• The Rajasthani High Court has uncovered a $96 million tax evasion scam in which Vedanta subsidiary Hindustan Zinc Ltd benefited from tax fraud at the hands of shamed IAS officer Ashok Singhvi in 2015.4.
• While their Annual Report claims to respect the right to ‘Free Prior Informed Consent’, Vedanta has not given up its plans to mine the Niyamgiri hills,in Odisha state, eastern India, homeland of the Dongria Kond tribe, despite a unanimous referendum against it by tribal inhabitants in 2013.

In twelve village meetings, the Dongria unanimously rejected the mine, causing the national government of India to refuse the company the necessary clearances. The Odisha State mining company is now claiming that that decision was flawed and is taking the matter to court once again.

They seek to overturn the referendum, claiming it overstepped the provisions of the Forest Rights Act by allowing Palli Sabhas (village meetings) to decide on mining, rather than merely settling their claims.

The Dongria Konds of Niyamgiri will hold a protest before the AGM demanding the dismantling the Lanjigarh refinery, and an end to its illegal expansion. They will also demand the release of Dongria activists from jail, decrying the ongoing abductions, false arrests and State-sponsored murders of tribal activists against Vedanta’s mine.

In May, Kuni Sikaka, a 20-year-old Dongria woman and active Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (NSS) member, whose father-in-law is NSS leader Dadhi Pusika, was removed from her home and kept in police jail for three days, where she was told to surrender as a Maoist or be jailed for 15 years.

On 7th April 2016 Dasru Kadraka, a 25-year-old Adivasi youth leader and activist of NSS, was arrested and tortured with electric shocks by police asking him to surrender as a Maoist. An all-female fact-finding team comprising of senior Indian activists detailed these abuses in May 2017.

In September 2016, a group of Dongria Kond had burned down a CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) camp, opposing construction of a road connecting Niyamgiri to Kalyansingpur, which they claim is to aid Vedanta’s mine plans, and opposing ongoing harassment by the force.

In Zambia, severely polluted villagers will submit questions to be asked by dissident shareholders at the London AGM. Government officials visited their villages in Spring this year asking them to drop the London case against Vedanta and settle out of court with the company.

Samarendra Das from Foil Vedanta says: ‘The UK government and London Stock Exchange are directly responsible for failing to investigate Vedanta’s corporate crimes in Zambia since 2006.

‘The Zambian State’s threats to polluted farmers demonstrate the ongoing colonial power of this British corporation which acts more powerful than the Zambian State.’

Former Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese will step down from Vedanta’s board at this year’s AGM along with executives Euan MacDonald and Aman Mehta. Vedanta’s CEO of Zambian operations Steven Din has recently been accused of offering bribes for the Simandou iron ore mine by the former Guinean mining minister, as part of a major corruption investigation. Din was head of Rio Tinto’s Guinean operation at the time the scandal unfolded, while Tom Albanese was CEO.

Trump administration admits lying about American coal miners’ jobs


This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Team: We Lied About Coal Jobs Coming Back

3 June 2017

Coal “doesn’t make sense any more.” Is there anything the Trump administration hasn’t lied about? Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.

Whether or not the United States will remain in the historic Paris climate agreement is a major question surrounding President Donald Trump’s trip to Italy for the G7 Summit. Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, was asked about the decision aboard Air Force One on Thursday, and had some surprising answers.

Cohn told reporters that coal doesn’t “make that much sense anymore,” but that pushing renewables could make America “a manufacturing powerhouse.” The words seem off-message from a White House that has promised repeatedly to bring back coal jobs and just proposed massive cuts to federal investment in clean energy.

Read more here.

British Vedanta mining, anti-environment, anti-farmers


This video from England says about itself:

9 April 2014

Today more than 40 protesters from Foil Vedanta, the Afrikan diaspora and other organisations in London will chanted, played drums and held banners and placards outside the Zambia High Commission in London.

They demanded that some of the revelations in Foil Vedanta’s groundbreaking report Copper Colonialism: Vedanta KCM and the copper loot of Zambia launched in London on Wednesday 2nd April, are addressed by Vedanta and the UK government – asking them to formally investigate the company, and criticising the involvement of the Department for International Development (DfID) in promoting their Zambian operations. Meanwhile Vedanta may be about to de-list from the London Stock Exchange as Chair Anil Agarwal becomes the 70% owner by buying up shares in the suffering company.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

ZAMBIAN VILLAGERS SUING VEDANTA OVER WATER POLLUTION AND DISPLACING

FARMERS PROTESTS were held in India and Zambia in parallel with last Friday’s AGM of British mining company Vedanta Resources at Ironmongers Hall, Barbican, London.

Inside the AGM dissident shareholders asked questions submitted by Zambian villagers who are suing Vedanta in the UK for twelve years of polluted water, as well as displaced farmers who were never compensated for their land in Lanjigarh, Odisha, India and accuse Vedanta of murdering and harassing them with state collusion.

A loud protest organised by Foil Vedanta took place outside the meeting, demanding that Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines publish its hitherto secret annual accounts in Zambia, and accusing the company of pollution, human rights abuses and financial mismanagement in India and Afrika.

At Vedanta’s London AGM activists from Foil Vedanta interrupted the meeting asking questions to the Vedanta board and gathered shareholders on behalf of the Zambian Copperbelt villagers living downstream of Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), who are demanding an end to twelve years of pollution by KCM, which has turned the Kafue into a ‘river of acid’ and left them with no access to clean water.

They asked why KCM has never submitted annual accounts in Zambia in accordance with national laws, and whether Vedanta’s deliberately obstructive approach to compensation cases as revealed in a recent London judgement was company policy.

Outside the meeting protesters drummed and chanted in loud voices, holding placards with pictures of the polluted Zambian villagers and victims of the 2009 chimney collapse which killed between 40 and 100 people at Vedanta’s BALCO plant in Chhattisgarh, India.

The Sandeep Bakshi Judicial Commission report (leaked by activists in 2014) held Vedanta guilty of negligence in the incident but no action has been taken. 1,826 Zambian villagers are suing KCM and Vedanta in the UK for personal injury and loss of livelihood due to gross pollution, having won a precedent London jurisdiction hearing in May.

The villagers are also demanding that KCM de-silt and remediate the contaminated areas so they can return to normal life. An estimated 40,000 people in total are affected by contaminated water which also affects the municipal piped water system.

One villager Judith Kapumba appears in a YouTube video testifying to how contamination has destroyed their livelihood and their lives, claiming that many have ‘collapsed and died’ as a result of illnesses caused by drinking contaminated water, and that crops can no longer grow leading to starvation and extreme poverty.

This video says about itself:

Judith Kapumba

11 February 2016

Thousands of villagers around Chingola in Zambia are sick and have lost their livelihoods because of contaminated water from British mining company Vedanta‘s mine and plant. This is Judith’s shocking story from Shimulala village.

The News Line article continues:

Leo Chikopela, one of the claimants in the UK case said: ‘We have no water source apart from the river and its totally polluted. Most of us are very weak and have constant stomach pains. When we bathe using this water our skin itches.’

A number of scientific papers have documented the extent of contamination, with acid pH and heavy metal content regularly tens and even hundreds of times above legal limits. Justice Coulson’s judgement on the polluted villager’s jurisdiction case indicted KCM for financial secrecy, historic dishonesty and attempts to pervert the course of justice, revealing that KCM have never filed any annual accounts in accordance with the Zambian Companies Act, and referring to a 2014 London arbitration case against KCM in which three judges found KCM to be dishonest, obstructive and willing to cause unnecessary harm.

An UNCTAD report published in July 2016 found ‘systematic export underinvoicing’ of copper from Zambia starting in 2005, the year after Vedanta took over KCM (Zambia’s biggest copper producer). $12 billion of underinvoicing is recorded between 1995-2014.

Following damning audits of KCM in 2014, the Zambian government entity ZCCM-IH which owns 20.6% of KCM has also filed a case against KCM and Vedanta in London for $100 million owed on an April 2013 settlement. The UK government has repeatedly promoted KCM via the Department for International Development’s Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), most recently in 2012 when KCM were sponsors and speakers at their Jubilee Economic Forum in London alongside then Zambian President Michael Sata.

In Chingola, Zambia, residents of Nchanga South submitted a petition to the press and the London AGM(6) decrying the fumes and noise from KCM’s copper smelter, which is less than 50m from houses on East 1st Street, and demanding to be compensated and resettled as per the 2006 Environmental Impact Assessment.

Posting on their facebook group Justice for Residents of 1st Street Against Pollution, 1st Street resident Ngmanaya Luhana said: ‘We will fight until something is done about our living conditions. Most us are living just less than 50 metres from their Chingola plant its really a serious health hazard. We do not even know how our health is now due to the toxic gases this plant is releasing in our atmosphere and neighbourhood. It is life-threatening and inhuman. This company has no respect for our health as citizens as long as its making profits. Enough is enough.’

In Kitwe former KCM miners who have never received their terminal benefits since being retrenched in 2009 held a protest ahead of the next hearing in their ongoing case against KCM in the Zambia High Court on 8th August. 2,500 miners were retrenched by KCM in November 2015, and have also been denied proper benefits, leading to riots.

Chairman of the group, Francis Wambuzi said: ‘Like so many other former miners we have been from pillar to post fighting this injustice. We want the government and Zambians to know how former miners, the backbone of this country are being treated after losing their jobs. Vedanta cannot profit at our expense.’

In Bhubaneswar, capital city of the State of Odisha in India, indigenous Dongria Kond from Niyamgiri as well as Lanjigarh land losers and activists opposing Vedanta’s planned Puri University, rallied in front of Vedanta’s office a Fortune Towers. They demanded that Vedanta is kicked out of its two Odisha bauxite operations at Jharsuguda, where ongoing pollution has led to farmers protests, and displaced people have never been compensated, and Lanjigarh (Niyamgiri) where local tribal activists and protesting land losers have been beaten, harassed and killed by police this year, under the pretence that they are Maoists.

Fact finding teams led by former Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Justice B G Kolse Patil, as well as the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) found state collusion between the police and Vedanta, who have been thwarted in their attempt to mine Niyamgiri’s bauxite by the people’s movement.

Padmanav Choudhury from Asarpada village, an active member of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (Niyamgiri Protection Council) and a land loser yet to receive any compensation from Vedanta alleged: ‘I was tortured for two days, hung upside down and thrashed by police for participating in a demonstration against police atrocities in Niyamgiri.

‘Vedanta and the Odisha government are working together to deny our democratic and legal right to object to their mine. No matter what they do, we will not leave Niyamgiri or give up our fight.’

Despite a May Supreme Court ruling which rejected Vedanta and the Odisha state’s right to challenge the ban on Niyamgiri mining Mines Minister Piyush Goyal stated in July that he would again try to push the Niyamgiri project through. Adivasi and Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti leader Dadhi Pusika echoed the protesters demands that the refinery built to process Niyamgiri’s bauxite should now be decommissioned, saying: ‘Lanjigarh must be shut down and stopped from causing pollution, misery, and landlessness in our villages. This a not just a local issue. It is a global struggle of the humanity to protect nature and civilisation.’