MAC: Mines and Communities

Further Press Releases on Inco AGM 2004

Published by MAC on 2004-04-20

Further press releases on Inco AGM 2004

Inco Affected Communities to Protest Inco's Abusive Mining Practices at Annual Shareholders' Meeting

JATAM-Mining Advocacy Network

For Immediate Release - April 20, 2004

Jakarta, Indonesia - Inco’s deplorable environmental and social track record will be emphasized once again at the Canadian nickel mining company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday, April 21st. Representatives from New Caledonia, Guatemala, St. John's, Newfoundland and Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada impacted by Inco's operations will attend and take the opportunity to question Inco CEO, Scott Hand, about the company's poor environmental and human rights track record, and to demand real action and justice for their communities. A colourful demonstration is planned on the outside of the meeting location, the Design Exchange, 234 Bay Street, Toronto.

Protest participants will also be spreading the message of Inco's notorious track record in Indonesia. Due to logistics, no one from Indonesia could attend this year's AGM like in past years where community leaders have come to share their stories of ongoing struggle with the mining company.

PT Inco’s nickel mine and smelter operations on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia have degraded the air, water and soil in the area of their operations.

PT Inco employees play golf where the Karonsi’e Dongi indigenous community’s fruit tree plantations once stood. This community has never been compensated for the loss of their land and livelihood. "Our cultural assets that are located within Inco's concession area have been taken over unjustly. We have lost everything to defend and continue our generation," stated Naomi Mananta, a Karonsi'e Dongi indigenous woman in 2002.

Inco's Indonesian operations have also recently become more militarized with the presence of the notorious and brutal Indonesian military police force Brimob. Brimob has a long and dark history of shootings and beatings of community members at other mining, oil and gas sites throughout the country. In January 2004, Brimob shot and killed 30 year old Rusli Tungkapi, who was participating in a peaceful protest to stop an Australian gold mining venture in the Toguraci protected forest on the island of North Maluku.

Almost half, 47%, of PT Inco’s contract of work area lies in a protected forest area. Inco is part of an international mining lobbying group that is pressuring the government of Indonesia to reverse its forestry legislation that bans open-pit mining in protected forests. Deforestation in Indonesia is occurring at an alarming rate. The government of Indonesia has issued several laws that aim to protect forests and water catchments, including Forestry Act No. 41/1999, which prohibits open-pit mining in protected forest areas. However, the government is under severe pressure from mining companies like Inco and foreign governments like the Canadian government to override this environment protection law and grant mining permits. Forest conservation, biodiversity preservation and flood prevention in Indonesia rely heavily on the protected forest and conservation area system. In the beginning of April 2004, Inco announced that the company was preparing to take the Indonesian government to international arbitration if they were not granted access to mine in the part of their concession designated as protected forest.

Today, people in Port Colborne and Sudbury, Ontario, Canada are fighting a daily battle both in and out of the courts to get Inco to clean up their contaminated properties. Last year, demonstrators from Port Colborne handed out "Inco dirt bags" outside of Inco's meeting. The bags were filled with Inco's legacy, soil contaminated with nickel oxide, a carcinogen.

Media Contacts:
Siti Maimunah, Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM)
Indonesia, Tel: +62-(0)811 920462 /+62-21-791 81683, Email:
Tracy Glynn, JATAM (in Canada), Tel: 709-739-5120, Email:

For more informaton, please visit:

- Media Advisory -

Environmental Defence, MiningWatch Canada

Representatives from communities around the world impacted by Inco attend annual shareholders’ meeting

What: Representatives from New Caledonia, Guatemala, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Port Colborne, Ontario communities around the world impacted by Inco operations will attend the mining company’s annual shareholders’ meeting. They will take the opportunity to question Inco CEO, Scott Hand, about the company’s poor environmental and human rights track record, and to demand real action to improve community relations.

When: Wednesday, April 21, 2004The shareholders’ meeting begins at 10:00 a.m.

Who: Representatives from New Caledonia, Guatemala, St. John’s and Port Colborne NOTE: Representatives will be available for interviews after the meeting

Where: Design Exchange Trading Floor 234 Bay Street (west side of Bay between King and Wellington Streets)

About Environmental Defence: Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, safe food and thriving ecosystems. Nationwide.

About MiningWatch Canada: MiningWatch Canada responds to threats to public health, water and air quality, fish and wildlife habitat and community interests posed by irresponsible mining policies and practices in Canada, and by Canadian mining companies around the world.

Contact: Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence Canada, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232 or (647) 280-9521 (cell) Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 569-3439 or (613)-795-5710 (cell)

Inco's Mineral Concessions in Guatemala Violate International Agreements and Peace Accords

For Immediate Release - April 21, 2004

(Toronto) The Guatemalan Asociación Estoreña Para el Desarrollo Integral (AEPDI) and MiningWatch Canada are publicly denouncing Inco Ltd.'s mining concessions in Izabal, Guatemala as having been granted without consultation with the affected Q'eqchi' Maya communities, in violation of the 1995 peace accords and Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), ratified by Guatemala in 1996.

In the Peace Accord on Indigenous Identity and Rights signed in 1995, the Guatemalan government committed itself to the protection of indigenous lands, as well as upholding the guarantees contained in ILO 169.

Inco Ltd. owns 70% of the 384.4 km2 Niquegua concession in the municipalities of El Estor, Panzós and Cahabón. Inco was granted a 40-year concession under its subsidiary, Exmibal SA, on August 14, 1965. However, these operations have been abandoned since Inco left the country in 1982. In an accord between Inco and Skye Resources, Inc. of Vancouver dated December 2003, Inco will transfer its Niquegua concession and related properties to Skye after various conditions for technological experimentation, financing and renewal of the soon-to-expire concession are met.

The Defensoría Q'eqchi', the justice programme of the AEPDI, and MiningWatch Canada believe that the planned re-activation of this mining operation, involving several new open pit mines, should be subject to consultation with the more than 50 Indigenous Q'eqchi' communities in the area, as per ILO Convention 169. By treating the communities as they have, Inco and the Guatemalan government are violating the rights of more than thirty thousand Q'eqchi' Indigenous people.

"The Indigenous communities are fearful that renewed mining in the area will ruin their lands and destroy their culture. Inco must respect the communities' rights and be proactive in compliance with the legal norms that guarantee those rights," states Daniel Vogt, Director of AEPDI.

"It is time that Inco show leadership in its relations with Indigenous peoples. This is their land, and we demand that Inco respect their rights," adds Mel Quevillon of MiningWatch Canada.

The AEPDI and MiningWatch Canada call for Inco to work with local organizations and communities to assure that legal and transparent consultations with the Indigenous population are conducted, and the communities' decisions and rights are respected.

Daniel Vogt, Asociación Estoreña Para el Desarrollo Integral (613) 795-5710
Mel Quevillon, MiningWatch Canada (613) 795-5710

Inco Violates Fundamental Rights of New Caledonia's Indigenous Kanak People - Kanak Leaders Visit Shareholders' Meeting

For Immediate Release - April 21, 2004

Two Kanak traditional authorities, Senator Dick Meureureu-Goin, member of the Customary Senate of New Caledonia and Chief Adrien Koroma, of Waho, South New Caledonia, are in Toronto for Inco Ltd.'s Annual Meeting to call for the immediate establishment of a negotiation process with the affected Indigenous Population.

Since the launch of the Goro Nickel project at the end of 2001, Inco has avoided the legitimate concerns of Kanak communities. With its Goro and Prony concessions, Inco holds the largest nickel reserve in the world with the potential for one hundred years of exploitation - at the cost of violation of Indigenous Peoples' rights, environmental devastation, and loss of unique biodiversity.

"Inco's refusal to recognize the rights of the indigenous people of New Caledonia is a denial of the fundamental rights of the Kanak people as enshrined in the Noumea Accord signed with the Government of France on May 4th, 1998", says Senator Dick Meureureu-Goin. "We do not understand why Inco has such a discriminatory attitude vis-à-vis the Kanak people when the mining company has signed agreements with the Indigenous People of Labrador".

The Kanak people have identified specific issues around which they want to initiate discussions with Inco.

"The Kanak people's Rhéébu Nùù Committee, which monitors the Inco project, has called for the review of the Environmental Impact Assessment by an independent team of scientists but Inco has not yet responded clearly on whether or not they accept to cooperate with the independent team," says Chief Adrien Koroma. "A short independent study released in November 2003, has identified seismic risks due to tectonic friction in the region. This instability is a great concern, especially with regard to acid production and storage."

The concerned Kanak population has set up a blockade at the Goro-Nickel site and their leaders say there will not be any further development of the project until Inco agrees to enter into a negotiation process with the Rhéébu Nùù Committee.

The Goro project comes not only with environmental but social costs. In the context of globalization, New Caledonia's lax environmental and social regulations make Prony and Goro lucrative prospects for Inco, and ones that may well come at the cost of jobs in Manitoba and Ontario.

Contact: Jacques Boengkih (613) 795-5710

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