Vedanta updatePublished by MAC on 2007-03-11
11th March 2007
The MAC website diligently reports violations of the law by mining companies all over the world . If asked - as we sometimes are - which is the "worst" company in this respect, we might answer that "none of them is beyond reproach and many are as bad as each other."
Yet one company stands out, not only for the number and extent of the accusations leveled against it, but for the utterly cynical fashion in which it has continued to break the law, even when overwhelming evidence has been offered against it.
Vedanta Resources, one of the half dozen biggest mining companies registered on the London Stock Exchange, is currently accused of a raft of criminal acts in Armenia and of having willfully continued using a defective system to dispose of toxic wastes in Zambia (see below).
In India - where its most important operations are situated - Vedanta has expanded a massive copper smelter without authorisation and in the teeth of orders from the Supreme Court's Hazardous Waste Montoring committee to desist. It has constructed a major alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Orissa, despite a damning report by another Supreme Court committee showing it had already destroyed protected forest land and was operating illegally.
In January, as we revealed on this site, the company was shown to have broken virtually all the terms of an agreement it made with its workers when it took control over a major aluminium complex in Chhattisgarh. [See: http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Action/press1341.htm ]
Now, the Orissa state pollution control board has ordered the company to halt construction of a huge aluminium smelter, intended to take the alumina from its illegal Lanjigarh refinery.
A full six months ago, the company and its shareholders were made fully well that this construction was illegal, when MAC published evidence from a leading Indian nvironmentalist, backed by clear photographic evidence. [see: http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Action/press1175.htm .]
Clearly Vedanta's modus operandi represents a systemic pattern of contempt for the law, not to mention people and the environment, which cannot be tolerated for one day longer.