MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Australian mining company implicated in deaths of DRC villagers

Published by MAC on 2005-06-06

Australian mining company implicated in deaths of DRC villagers


Mon, 6 Jun 2005

ABC TV's Four Corners program tonight reveals how the Anvil Mining company, which operates a mine in the south-east of the war-ravaged country of Congo provided vehicles and other assistance to government troops to quell a rebel uprising in the village of Kilwa, 50 kilometres from its mine. The company maintains it did nothing wrong.

Radio Australia - 6 June 2005

An Australian mining company, Anvil, has been implicated in the killing of more than 100 villagers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during an uprising in October last year.

According to eyewitnesses, the villagers staged a protest against the way the company was taking multi-million dollar profits from mining silver and copper out of the country.

A small group took over the police station at Kilwa, looting trucks and stealing fuel and food from the Anvil depot, about 50 kilometres from the company's mine.

Anvil is alleged to have provided vehicles and brought in government troops to stop the uprising, in which at least 100 people were killed.

A secret UN investigation has identified a mass grave and concluded that "at least 28" of the more than 100 deaths "might have resulted from summary execution".

"Internal issue"

Anvil says it did nothing wrong.

The company's chief executive officer, Bill Turner, says some people were killed, but Anvil had nothing to do with them.

"We were not part of this. This was a military action conducted by the legitimate army of the legitimate government of the country," he said.

"We helped the military get to Kilwa and then we were gone. Whatever they did there, that's an internal issue, it's got nothing to do with Anvil."

A local non-government organisation is trying to hold the mining company accountable for the events, and has sought the help of an Australian law firm, Slater and Gordon.

Lawyer Richard Meeran says the company may have a case to answer if its intention in assisting the military and its knowledge of the likely outcome can be established.

"If an Australian national assists someone else in committing those crimes, then that assistance itself will constitute a crime under Australian national law," he said.

Anvil Mining and the Kilwa Massacre, D.R. Congo: Canadian Company Implicated?

MiningWatch Canada Communiqué

Thursday, June 16, 2005

In response to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation program(i), non-governmental organizations in the United Kingdom, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Canada are calling on the Canadian Government to fully investigate serious allegations concerning Anvil Mining's alleged complicity in the actions of the Congolese Armed Forces in putting down a small-scale rebellion in the remote Congolese town of Kilwa with what was reported as disproportionate force.

UK-based Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID)(ii), the Congolese human rights organisations Action contre l'impunité pour les droits humains (ACIDH) and Association africaine de défense des droits de l'homme section du Katanga (ASADHO Katanga), are supported by the Canadian organizations Entraide Missionnaire, MiningWatch Canada, Regroupement pour la responsabilité sociale des entreprises, and Africafiles in calling for a full investigation.

In October 2004, according to eyewitness accounts gathered by human rights lawyers, the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) ruthlessly suppressed a small scale uprising in the remote fishing town of Kilwa(iii) by a hitherto unknown group calling itself the Mouvement Revolutionnaire pour la libération du Katanga (Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Katanga, MRLK). Although the rebels put up no resistance when soldiers from the 62nd Brigade of the 6th Military Region arrived to recapture the town, between 70 and 100 unarmed civilians were killed, including many women and children. The soldiers are said to have been on an indiscriminate rampage carrying out arbitrary arrests and summary killings of suspected rebels and their supporters and subjecting those in detention to torture and beatings.(iv)

Anvil Mining Limited(v) is a Canadian company incorporated in the Northwest Territories on January 2004 and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange since June 2004 (TSX:AVM). First Quantum Minerals, a Canadian company also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:FM),(vi) was, at the time of the event, the largest shareholder in Anvil Mining with an 18.6% stake until March 2005, and its representative was Chair of Anvil's board of directors. The company operates the Dikulushi Mine near Kilwa and has acknowledged that it provided logistical support to the Government troops upon their request. The town is difficult to get to by road so Anvil planes were used to fly in soldiers from the provincial capital of Lubumbashi. At the end of May 2005, lawyers acting on RAID's behalf interviewed survivors. They confirmed that Anvil had also provided ground transportation to assist in the military assault on the town; the vehicles were also used to transport people who had been arbitrarily detained and to help remove corpses after the devastating military operation. Anvil denies knowing what was planned for in the military operation or being involved in it in any way. However, the organizations calling for the investigation believe that companies that operate in conflict zones have a responsibility to ensure that their operations or those that they support do not result directly or indirectly in human rights violations(viii).

In view of this, surely there are sufficient grounds to question and investigate the role played by Anvil in the Kilwa massacre. Pointing to the failure of governments to investigate the UN's allegations of corporate misconduct in their operations in the DRC during the resource-fuelled war, the concerned organizations said that decisive action had to be taken now to curb any possible actions or neglects by companies that could contribute to the Congo sliding back into war.(ix)

Canadian organizations support these demands and further request that: - the Canadian government undertake a thorough investigation of the allegations in the report. If the allegations are verified by the investigation, those responsible should be prosecuted through Canadian or international law. The Canadian National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises, formed by representatives from several federal government departments, should be mandated to conduct the inquiry with the input from NGOs. - the Ontario Securities Commission and Toronto Stock Exchange should also inquire into these allegations which, if true, would pose a risk to Canadian investors; - Prime Minister Paul Martin should promote at the G8 Summit in July, the recommendation related to peace and security contained in the Report of the Commission for Africa, endorsed by Finance Minister Ralph Goodale, relating to peace and security: "OECD countries should promote the development and full implementation of clear and comprehensive guidelines for companies operating in areas at risk of violent conflict, for incorporation into the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises."(x)

For more information: - Mining Watch Canada: Jamie Kneen, cell (613) 761-2273 - Entraide missionnaire: Denis Tougas tel. (514) 270-6089

Notes for Journalists

Sally Neighbour, the producer of the Australian Broadcasting Company's Four Corners program about Anvil Mining and the Kilwa Massacre is happy to provide media with footage from the program to accompany the article.

i "Four Corners" broadcast Monday June 6 - consult

ii RAID is a research and advocacy NGO that works on the links between human rights and development and business. It coordinates the international NGO network, OECD WATCH, which promotes corporate accountability by the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Patricia Feeney also helps moderate the corporate accountability list-serve for the International Network on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In June 2004, RAID brought out a report, Unanswered Questions: Companies, conflict and the Democratic Republic of Congo that analysed the UN Expert Panel's allegations against over 40 OECD companies.

iii Kilwa is on Lake Moero, in the territory of Pweto in Upper Katanga, just 50 km from Zambia. It is 350 km from Lubumbashi. It has a population of 6,000 who mainly live from fishing.

iv ASADHO Katanga, Rapport sur les violations des droits de l'homme commises à Kilwa au mois d'octobre 2004, January 2005



viii This principle is also recognized in the UN Global Compact, which states: Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of human rights within their sphere of influence; and principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights violations.

ix Reports of the UN Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. October 2002 (S/2002/1146) and October 2003 (S/2003/1027) available at: and

x Report of the Commission for Africa - Our Common Interest, 2005, p. 174.

Australia's Anvil mining company has defended itself against accusations that it was complicit in an attack, made last October by the Congo (DRC) army, and which resulted in the massacre of dozens of unresisting rebels.

Not surprisingly, in what is still a war situation for much of the country, it is difficult to assess the truth. However, according to a report on the "incident", carried in the Mining Journal (October 22 2004):

* Anvil mining claimed to have held talks with the rebel group, shortly after it attacked the town of Kilwa (some 50km south of its Dikulushi mine) - which triggered the massacre. The rebels told the company it had no interest in the mine.

* Anvil re-started its operations (after a temporary closure) a few days later, but also held "discussions" with the Congolese government to "provide addidional security for the mine so that, should such incidents occur again, the company would be able to continue operaitons."

It is therefore reasonable to assume that Anvil was more aware than it admits, of the purposes to which its requisitioned trucks and planes would likely be put. And why did it issue no statement condemning, or disassociating itself from, the army's actions, until now?

Mining company denies helping with deadly attack in Congo

Drew Hasselback CanWest News Service; Financial Post

June 23 2005

Toronto - Anvil Mining Ltd. is defending itself against accusations that it helped the military of the Democratic Republic of Congo wage a deadly attack on rebels near the company's Dikulushi copper and silver mine.

Anvil said Tuesday that the Congo army ``commandeered'' company trucks and planes used in the military operation last October. The Australian company, which is listed on the TSX in Toronto, denied having advance knowledge about how the equipment would be used.

Human rights groups claim that dozens of people in the town of Kilwa were killed on Oct. 14 after Congolese soldiers put down a rebel uprising. Kilwa is located 50 kilometres away from the Dikulushi mine, which is 90 per cent owned by Anvil.

``Although at the time, Anvil had no knowledge of the occurrence of human rights abuses, we are now learning, it was a terrible event,'' the company said Tuesday.

The declaration reinforces a similar statement issued on June 7, in which Anvil, based in Perth, Australia, responded to Australian media reports connecting the company with the Kilwa incident.

``The idea that Anvil somehow influenced the military action, or should be seen as complicit in the military action, is nonsense,'' the company said.

The Kilwa incident highlights the difficulties of doing business in the strife-torn African nation, which is striving for political stability after years of civil war that have claimed more than one million lives.

Still, several miners believe the mineral rich country is worth the risk. Mining accounts for 25 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world's second largest gold miner, said Tuesday it will keep an exploration office in Congo. The Johannesburg-based miner has come under fire because earlier this month it admitted paying $8,000 to a local militia group.

Toronto-based junior Banro Corp. is spending $10 million to drill four gold properties in Congo this year. Just seven years ago, Banro was left reeling after the Congolese government seized the company's mining licences. The licences were eventually returned. Now Banro says it believes political stability is returning to Congo, particularly as the country ramps up for the first democratic elections in four decades.

Anvil is also well acquainted with the pitfalls of doing business in Congo.

Just last month, Anvil secured a political risk insurance policy for the Dikulushi mine from an agency affiliated with the World Bank.

Anvil's open pit Dikulushi mine started operations in 2002. Located in the resource rich province of Katanga, it produces 20,000 tonnes of copper and 1.6-million ounces of silver a year. The mine is supposed to be a comfortable distance from much of the fighting, and Anvil considers the October incident to be a fluke.

``The property is located far from the hot areas,'' said Robert La Valliere, Anvil's Montreal-based vice president of investor relations.

``I don't know why it did, but it happened there. You had some rebels who went to the town, took over the town and made some trouble.''

La Valliere said Anvil is answering questions about the incident from the Canadian and Australian governments, as well as officials from the United Nations. ``We're providing information to them and exchanging documentation.''

Media reports say that last October, rebels seized the police station in Kilwa, then looted Anvil's supply depot of equipment and food. The government struck back on Oct. 14. Some reports say more than 100 villagers were killed.

Anvil evacuated its own employees from the region and returned them a few days later. Mine operations were suspended for a couple of days, then resumed.

A leaked United Nations Report casts severe doubt on claims by the Australian mining company, Anvil, that it didn't assist in the massacre of a hundred unarmed "rebels" in the Congo last year.

Aussie mining firm's 'conflicting stories' on Congo bloodshed

James Madden, The Australian

September 29, 2005

PERTH-BASED mining company Anvil gave inconsistent accounts of its involvement in a murderous military crackdown in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a UN report.

The document, prepared by the UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo and obtained by The Australian, suggests that Anvil representatives provided contradictory statements about their role in the October 2004 uprising, which left more than 100 people dead. The company has admitted that several of its trucks and planes were used to transport troops to Kilwa, a village in the country's southeast where local rebels were active near the Australian company's mine.

During the uprising, company vehicles were allegedly used to transport corpses away from the site. But Anvil has denied any knowledge of what the vehicles were to be used for, claiming in June this year that the trucks and planes were commandeered by the army. However, the UN report claims that "at least three of the company's employees (were used) during the counter-offensive at Kilwa".

It also claims that Anvil employees provided food and money to the army in Kilwa. In an interview earlier this year, Anvil chief executive Bill Turner admitted: "We helped the military to get to Kilwa and then we were gone. Whatever they did there, that's an internal issue." But in a company report published last December, Anvil made no mention of the requisitioning of its vehicles and its employees by the Congolese military.

When quizzed by the UN over the omission, Anvil allegedly claimed that the report was produced prior to the company "having an appreciation of the seriousness of these events".
Last night, an Anvil spokeswoman said there was nothing in the UN report that suggested the company had acted improperly. Richard Meeran, special counsel with Melbourne law firm Slater & Gordon, who is representing three Congolese citizens seeking compensation from Anvil, said what really happened in Kilwa was yet to be resolved. "The real question that has yet to be answered - and needs to be investigated further - is in what circumstances were Anvil's planes and vehicles used by the Congolese military in this massacre," Mr Meeran said.

"If the vehicles were taken by force, Anvil is in the clear. "But if they were handed over willingly, then the picture could be quite different."

The AFP last month launched an investigation into the company's role in the incident.

Tricia Feeney, executive director of non-government organisation RAID, said Anvil's refusal to allow the UN access to its own internal investigative report was a concern. "The alleged sightings of Anvil employees at key moments during the course of the counter-offensive, when grave human rights abuses were allegedly carried out by the Congolese Armed Forces, makes it all the more urgent for Anvil to co-operate," Ms Feeney said.

Four Corners is publishing the final UN report into the massacre in Kilwa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which took place in October 2004. The report, which has been translated from its original French, was produced by MONUC, the UN's official agency in the DRC.

The report confirms that the Australian company Anvil Mining provided logistical support - including trucks, drivers and air transport - and "contributed to the payment of a certain number of soldiers" when Congolese military moved to crush an uprising at Kilwa. It also details threats made against local human rights campaigners after the Four Corners report "The Kilwa Incident" was broadcast on June 20, 2005.

UN Report (PDF):

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