MAC/20: Mines and Communities

London mining companies: climate change, human rights and corporate wrongs

Published by MAC on 2007-04-15

London mining companies: climate change, human rights and corporate wrongs

You’re no doubt well aware that oil and gas are major contributors to global warming

• But did you know that oil's share of world energy markets is now two thirds less than 30 years ago - while coal consumption has nearly doubled? (1)

• Or that five of the world’s seven biggest coal producers have headquarters in London – and actually increased their greenhouse gas emissions in 2006?(2)

Abuses by oil companies - notably Shell - have long hit the media headlines

• But did you know that scores of mining companies were cited last year for violating human rights, while many others stand accused of causing serious environmental damage?(3)

Key facts:

• British-based mining companies deliver two thirds of global iron ore output, the majority of the world’s diamonds, platinum and titanium, and a significant proportion of other metals and minerals.

• London is the world’s biggest centre raising money for the minerals industry. British high street and investment banks, like Barclays, HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Citibank and Standard Chartered, invest hundreds of millions of pounds a year in scores of dubious mining projects across the globe.

The London Mining Network (LMN) …

…is a new alliance of human rights, development and environmental groups. Members include Colombia Solidarity Campaign, The Corner House, Partizans (People Against Rio Tinto and its Subsidiaries), Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links, TAPOL (the Indonesia human rights campaign) and the Society of St Columban. We pledge to expose the role of companies, funders and government in the promotion of unacceptable mining projects.

LMN will do this by publishing reports, participating as “dissident” shareholders in company meetings, holding educational events and, where appropriate, lobbying decision makers such as investment institutions, politicians and other NGOs.

Together we can create a climate of public opinion on some of the most urgent, but least debated, challenges facing us today.

You are invited to a PUBLIC MEETING to launch the network and draw attention to the impacts of British mining company Anglo American plc.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 6.30 – 8.30pm
Room G2, School of Oriental and African Studies,
University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square,
London WC1.

Speakers representing communities in South Africa and the Philippines affected by Anglo American plc; other speakers on Anglo American’s impacts in Colombia and elsewhere in the world.

For more information, please contact:
LMN, 41a Thornhill Square, London N1 1BE.
Email: richardsolly@gn.apc.org

• The mining industry’s key lobbying organisation, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) is based in the UK capital. So is the world’s most important metals price fixing mechanism, the London Metal Exchange (LME), and the premier “over the counter” precious metals trader, the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)

• The New Labour government has consistently backed UK mining companies, despite the many accusations laid at their doors.

The Global Top Five Mining Companies
(with market capitalisation given in billions of US dollars)

1) BHPBilliton Australia/UK 109
2) Rio Tinto UK/Australia 77
3) CVRD/Inco Brazil/Canada 72
4) Anglo American UK 56
5) Xstrata/Falconbridge UK/Switzerland/Canada 39

* UK-listed mining companies together enjoy around half the market capital available to the world’s ten biggest miners.

* The mining industry’s single biggest source of finance is the London Stock Exchange (LSE) followed by Toronto’s. The majority of “junior” mining companies are also registered in Toronto with significant listings in Australia and on London’s fast-growing Alternative Investment Market (AIM)

* By far the most important private mining and metals conglomerate is the global commodities trader, Glencore which, along with the Credit Suisse First Boston investment bank, also holds a 40% equity interest in Xstrata/Falconbridge (listed on the London Stock Exchange).

* Exploration budgets reached their highest-ever level in 2006 (US$7.13 billion). The most targeted metal was gold, followed by base metals, such as copper, nickel and zinc. Latin America attracted nearly a quarter of all exploration funding (24%), followed by Canada (19%), Africa (16%), Australia (11%), the US (8%) and the Asia-Pacific region (4%)

Who controls what? Some examples:

Coal: In 2005 the biggest global producers were Peabody Energy (US), Rio Tinto, Arch Coal (US), BHPBilliton, Anglo American, Siberian Coal Energy (Russia) and Xstrata.

Iron: More than two thirds of all global iron ore comes from just three companies: Brazil’s Compania Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD/Inco), BHPBilliton and Rio Tinto

Gold : Barrick Gold is the world’s number one gold miner, then Newmont Mining, AngloGoldAshanti (of which Anglo American owns 41%), Gold Fields of South Africa , Freeport McMoran (US), Harmony Gold (South Africa), Navoi Metal and Mining (Uzbekistan), Compania de Minas Buenaventura (Peru) and Rio Tinto.

Diamonds: By volume Rio Tinto is the global leader. By value, De Beers (South Africa/UK) (5) is the biggest profiteer (with more than 70% of the market) followed by Alrosa (Russia) and Rio Tinto.

Notes:

1 Energy Outlook 2007, Forbes Magazine, 9 October 2006
2 International oil and gas companies and energy utilities, reporting last year to the Carbon Development Project (CDP), showed a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions over previous years, while metals, mining and steel companies showed a significant increase. See: Carbon Disclosure Project 2006 (UK) page 36.
3 See Flagship or Failure: the UK implementation of OECD guidelines, published by Christian Aid, Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth, January 2006; also, Joint NGO Report on Human Rights and the Extractive Industry, published by the International Organisation for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR), January 2006. See also information regularly posted on www.minesandcommunities.org
4 Rounded figures compiled from Forbes Global 2000, MS Gold 2006, and other sources Exploration data is from the Metals Economics Group, Halifax, Nova Scotia
5 De Beers’ corporate headquarters is in South Africa and its diamond trading centre is situated in London.

 

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