MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Anglo American proceeds with shabby pretence of AGM

Published by MAC on 2020-05-05
Source: London Mining Network

Today marks the moment that UK mining giant Anglo American's holds its London AGM. It has decided to conduct the "event" behind closed doors this year due to the covid pandemic. This is also very convenient for avoiding scrutiny over its plans to mine the Brazilian Amazon and other controversial projects worldwide.

London Mining Network has submitted formal questions to the company:
https://londonminingnetwork.org/2020/05/questions-for-anglo-american/

LMN has also made a short video and some spoof FAQs, for sharing on social media:
https://londonminingnetwork.org/anglo-american-agm2020/ (using hashtag
#AngloAmericanAGM).

Future Smart? COVID19 exposes mining giant Anglo American’s true
priorities

Joint Media release

London Mining Network et al

4 May 2020

London, UK - On Tuesday 5th May, UK-listed mining giant Anglo American
will host its AGM in controversial fashion, in the wake of disturbing
revelations about the company’s plans to mine in the Brazilian Amazon
and its response to the COVID19 pandemic.

Anglo American has announced that, due to the pandemic, it will hold its
AGM behind closed doors this year, with a quorum of just two
shareholders present at the meeting. While other companies have opted to
move their AGMs online, maintaining access for shareholders, Anglo
American is using the coronavirus crisis to avoid accountability and
difficult questions over its controversial operations around the planet.

Last month, investigations by Brazilian journalists writing for
Mongabay[1] revealed that Anglo American and its two Brazilian
subsidiaries have submitted nearly 300 applications to explore for gold
and other minerals in the Brazilian Amazon- an ecosystem of global
significance in the fight against climate change.

Andrew Hickman from human rights and climate justice organisation London
Mining Network says: “The investigations reveal that the company- which
refused to answer questions from journalists- has exploration interests
that overlap with the territories of indigenous peoples being repressed
by a Brazilian government that is seeking to open the Amazon to
extractive industries. In order to grant Anglo American and others
exploration permits in these territories the Bolsonaro Administration is
seeking to create a new law, in contravention of the Brazilian
Constitution.”

Anglo American markets itself as a modern, forward-looking mining
company which has “the utmost consideration for our people, their
families, local communities, our customers and the world at large”[2].
Actively seeking to mine in one of the planet’s most critical
ecosystems, in close collaboration with a Brazilian administration
widely viewed as unstable, militaristic and anti-democratic, hardly fits
with this rosy image. For critical industry observers, however, it is
not as surprising as it may seem[3].

Today a coalition of frontline communities, human rights and climate
justice organisations will challenge Anglo American’s greenwashing at
its AGM, presenting evidence of the historic and ongoing examples of
company misbehaviour worldwide during the COVID19 pandemic.

“The attempt by mining giant Anglo American to rebrand their destructive
practices as being somehow ‘ethical’ rings hollow with the continued
failure by its AGM to ensure effective scrutiny and accountability. For
those communities already facing the deadly impacts of their operations
year on year, and who now face a public health crisis this is not just
an insult, but will have lethal consequences”, says Asad Rehman,
Executive Director of London-based global justice NGO War on Want.

The coalition will shed light on how Anglo American is advancing its
destructive operations in Colombia, Brazil, Peru and Chile. They will
share their experiences of how the company is capitalising on the
COVID19 pandemic, presenting itself as a solution-bearer to the problems
of water scarcity, inequality, mining-related illnesses and
malnutrition, which the company has helped to create in the first place.

“As the pandemic crisis deepens, mining companies like Anglo American
are jumping at the opportunity to gain good PR. But dropping parcels of
food or hand gel in communities cannot solve the chronic health and
ecological problems created by mining in the first place. The pandemic
is making it abundantly clear that the needs of communities, not mining
corporations, are essential”, says Hannibal Rhoades, European Regional
Coordinator of the Yes to Life, No to Mining Network.

In Colombia... “Thousands of Indigenous Wayuu children have died of
malnutrition and thirst in the region where AngloAmerican is third-part
owner of Cerrejon, a huge open-cast coal operation that consumes vast
quantities of water. During the COVID19 crisis the company has been
delivering food parcels, yet it plans to restart operations in an area
where there is little access for communities to health facilities,
exposing indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities to a higher risk of
infection”, says Diana Salazar, a researcher with Colombia Solidarity
Campaign.

“Coal is not a human right, we can live without the exploitation of
coal, but we cannot live without water and culture”, says Luis Misael
Socarras, of Indigenous association Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu.

In Chile… “For the last decade, Chile has endured severe drought. This
situation is much worse in territories where mining is also present.
This is the case for the communities of El Melón and Lo Barnechea who
live near Anglo American’s El Soldado and Los Bronces mines. For these
communities, mining has brought pollution, water scarcity, disease, land
degradation and the destruction of glaciers and native species. They do
not have access to drinking water and live in fear because they cannot
prevent the spread of the coronavirus”, says Javiera Martinez from the
London Mining Network

In Peru… “On March 19th, a bus carrying 32 workers from Anglo American’s
Quellaveco mine in southern Peru was detained in Cajamarca in the north
of the country for being in violation of the general quarantine decreed
by the government. The Governor of Cajamarca initiated a criminal case
against the company for putting the population of Cajamarca in danger,
describing their actions as "careless and irresponsible". Anglo American
is also at the centre of allegations that it contaminated the
Asana-Tumilaca river during the construction phase of the Quellaveco
mine. The company has been warned by the Peruvian Ombudsman's Office
about tensions around water access emerging in the company’s area of
operations between neighbouring regions of Arequipa and Moquegua in the
Tambo river basin”, says Aldo Orellana López of TerraJusta.

Press contact

Saul Jones, London Mining Network
saul@londonminingnetwork.org
07928 443248

Notes

[1] Mongabay: Anglo American looking to expand Amazon
mining:https://news.mongabay.com/2020/03/anglo-american-seeking-to-mine-on-indigenous-lands-in-brazils-amazon/

[2] Anglo American, Our Purpose:
https://www.angloamerican.com/about-us/our-purpose

[3] Responsible Mining Index 2020:
https://2020.responsibleminingindex.org/en/companies/48

 

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