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PLEASE HELP!

Indigenous And Farming Workers Targeted By Security Personnel
At Colombian Coal Mine
Owned By Exxon, Anglo-American, Billiton And Glencore.

 

Roger Moody and Richard Solly of London-based Partizans (People Against Rio Tinto And Its Subsidiaries) visited the Colombian Department of Guajira in October 2000 to study the social and environmental impacts of South America's largest coal strip mines on the Indigenous Wayuu population and on local farming communities. The mines are controlled by US-based Exxon and a consortium consisting of three multinationals, Swiss-based Glencore and London-based Billiton and Anglo-American. Over the history of t he mining concessions, local communities have been forcibly relocated, with inadequate or nonexistent compensation. (See lower section for more details.)

One of the communities still facing relocation, and demanding an adequate relocation assistance programme (which would enable the community to move together to new land sufficient to continue subsistence agriculture), is the village of Tabaco, which Roger and Richard visited with Armando Perez, the community's legal representative, last year. On 25th June 2001, one of the local community activists was attacked by mining company security guards and detained, together with a Wayuu journalist and a Wayuu cameraman and two other people, while filming environmental damage around Tabaco. They have been released, but Armando has asked us to make known what has happened as widely as possible, because it represents a very disturbing escalation in the companies' violation of local people's rights. From the account which has been sent to us, it is clear that the perpetrators of the violence were security personnel employed by Intercor, the Exxon subsidiary (100% owned by Exxon) currently operating the mine close to Tabaco. Glencore, Billiton and Anglo-American, however, who together own 50% of that mine, must share moral responsibility for this sharp deterioration in the situation.

Translation of the information received from Guajira on 1st July 2001 (the original Spanish is at the end of this email so you can check for accuracy!)

"Five people -
Vicenta Siosi (Indigenous writer and journalist)
Jose Julio Perez (President of the Tabaco Community Action Committee)
Carlos Epiayu (Indigenous cameraman)
Arcadio Pinto (member of the community)
and Mario Alberto Perez (working voluntarily as a teacher at the school so that they will not close it)
- were brutally threatened with firearms by thirty armed men belonging to the company's security guard, who forced them to hand over the cine camera with which they were filming the condition of the springs and roads around Tabaco, which are being blocked by sterile material from the mine. This is increasing the isolation of the community of Tabaco.

The security personnel argued that this video was being made for the guerrillas and that the cameraman could therefore not continue filming and had to hand over the camera. The cameraman refused to hand over the camera and this produced a violent response.

Jose Julio was punched on the nose, which was broken as a result. Vicenta Siosi was manhandled and forced to get into a police vehicle by being beaten around the head with a gun. The others were also attacked and detained by the police, who arrived in order to defuse the confrontation between the group of thirty men and the group who were filming. The persons detained (Vicenta, Jose Julio, Mario Alberto, Arcadio, Carlos) were held in the police station at Albania [the nearest town] for around three to four hours. The police reviewed the video with the security detachment from the mine and realised that there was nothing bad about it. The police then asked the security detachment whether they should give the video back or not (which indicates that the police are completely biased in favour of the company). Then Armando Perez [legal representative for the Tabaco community in its dispute with the mining company] arrived and succeeded in negotiating the return of the video and the release of the detained persons.

Possible actions suggested by Armando Perez:

  1. Speak to NGOs and tell them what happened.

  2. If possible, these NGOs should organise a visit to the area to see the situation, which is getting worse by the day.

  3. Organise an international campaign to ensure respect for the rights of the community of Tabaco.

  4. Pressure the national government of Colombia to maintain a presence in the area." (Translation ends)

Roger Moody and Richard Solly also suggest the following action (especially for British-based groups, because Anglo-American and Billiton are based in London) as well:

Send emails to Edward Bickham of Anglo American plc (ebickham@angloamerican.co.uk) and Marc Gonsalves of Billiton (mgonsalves@billiton.com) making clear that your organisation is now aware of this incident and concerned about it and demanding that they:

  1. Obtain from Intercor their full explanation for this unjustified act of violent assault, theft and intimidation against the five individuals by security personnel in their employ or acting on their behalf.
  2. Make clear to Intercor that actions of this sort on the part of its employees or employees of its contractors are entirely unacceptable and that its partner companies (AAC, Billiton and Glencore) expect higher standards of adherence to civilised principles of behaviour and respect for human rights, including the right of the mine's opponents to express their views and gather evidence to support those views.
  3. Make clear to the Colombian authorities that police complicity in human rights abuses, assault, theft and unlawful arrest of people peacefully going about their legitimate business is unacceptable.
  4. Explain to Intercor that this incident is being publicised widely and that the behaviour of its employees and contractors in La Guajira will now come under closer scrutiny from international NGOs.
Thank you for any help you can give to our colleagues in La Guajira.

Richard Solly.



Message received from La Guajira on 1st July:

1.vicenta siosi (periodista y escritora indigena)
2.jose julio perez (presidente de la junta de acci�n comunal de tabaco)
3.Carlos epiayu (camarografo indigena)
4.Arcadio pinto (integrante de la comunidad)
5.Mario alberto perez (maestro voluntario de la escuela para que no la cierren)

Fueron brutalmente hostigados con armas de fuego por 30 hombres armados pertenecientes a la guardia de seguridad de la compa�ia, obligandolos a entregar la camara filmadora con la cual estaban filmando las condiciones en las que estan los caminos y fuentes de agua cerca a tabaco,las fuentes de agua y caminos estan siendo taponadas por el material esteril que se extrae de la mina. Esto ayuda al aislamiento de la comunidad de tabaco.

El grupo de seguridad argumentaba que ese video era para la guerrilla y que por lo tanto el camarografo no pod�a seguir filmando y ten�a que entregarles la camara, el camarografo se opuso a entregar la camara y esto produjo que se diera la violencia.

El se�or jose julio( a quien ustedes conocieron al venir al departamento), fue golpeado en la nariz y le partieron el tabique nasal. La se�ora vicenta siosi fue obligada a empujones y con golpes de arma larga en la cabeza a entrar al carro de policia. los demas tambien fueron agredidos y retenidos por la policia que se presento para calmar el enfrentamiento entre el grupo de los treinta hombres y el grupo que estaba filmando.las personas agredidas( vicenta,jose julio,Mario alberto, Arcadio carlos) fueron detenidas en la estacion de policia de albania por aproximadamente 3-4 horas.

La policia estuvo revisando el video con grupo de seguridad de la mina y comprobaron que el video no tenia nada malo, luego de esto la policia le pregunto al grupo de seguridad de la compa�ia si devolvian el video o no(lo que indica que la policia esta completamente parcializada a favor de la compa�ia). Luego llego armando y gestion� la entrega del video y la liberaci�n de los retenidos. Armando permit�o que liberaran a los retenidos y que entregaran el video. la camara la da�aron.

Posibles acciones a tomar por ustedes :

1.Hablar con las Ngo's y contarles los acontecimientos.

2.Si es posible que esas Ngo's organizen un viaje a la zona para que vean la situaci�n que cada dia emperora m�s.

3.Que se organize una campa�a internacional para hacer respetar los derechos de la poblaci�n de tabaco

4.Presionar al gobierno nacional para que este haga presencia en la zona.



STRIPPING GUAJIRA BARE

The village of Tabaco in central Guajira could be a picturesque place. It is surrounded on three sides by woods and fields. A small river runs by it, and its well-kept houses are surrounded by coconut palms and mango trees.

But on the fourth side lies the biggest coal strip-mine in Latin America � Cerrejon Norte. It is operated by Intercor, a wholly-owned subsidiary of US multinational Exxon. It is owned by a 50/50 Joint Venture between Intercor and Carbocol, until late last year the Colombian government�s own coal-mining agency. In November 2000, Carbocol was bought by a consortium comprising Anglo-American, Billiton and Glencore. Anglo-American is the second biggest mining company in the world (after British-Australian Rio Tinto), backed by South African capital, closely linked to the De Beers family empire, and now headquartered in London. Billiton began life as the mining arm of oil multinational Anglo-Dutch Shell but was bought out by Gencor of South Africa. In the late 1990s its headquarters were moved to London, partly to raise capital for re-investment in South Africa. It has expanded enormously in recent years � into Asia and Latin America, but not Africa. It is now the world�s third biggest miner. Glencore is a Swiss-based commodities trader, probably the most rapacious buyer of relatively cheap mines around the world.

Villagers in Tabaco complain that their houses are cracking up because of blasting from the mine and that their main water source is polluted with coal dust. Pasture land is being lost as mining operations come closer. Many villagers have already left, accepting the company�s financial �compensation offer�, which is based on prices determined by the company itself and is insufficient to enable villagers to buy enough land to practice agriculture elsewhere. But remaining villagers are insisting on a proper relocation programme based on the principle of �land for land�, which the government has supposedly accepted.

Meanwhile, Intercor/Carbocol is attempting to persuade the residents to accept its derisory compensation offer by making life in Tabaco less attractive. The church has been ruined: Intercor/Carbocol bought it from the local bishop (even though it was the local people who built it and paid for it with their own money) and wrecked it. The communications centre and the clinic were closed by the local authority at the company�s insistence. The hope is that villagers will simply give up and leave.

Other communities have fared worse. Nearby Manantial and Carracoli were simply broken up by violence and dispersed without compensation. At Espinal, police trucks arrived one day to remove the villagers to a new site at Rio de Janeiro. Those who co-operated received some funding for new community facilities. Those who demurred were forcibly removed at night to an unproductive, waterless site a few kilometres from Rio de Janeiro. A hundred kilometres to the northeast, on the coast, the Wayuu fishing community at Media Luna was broken up by armed force in 1982 so that Intercor could construct a port for the export of coal from Cerrejon Norte. The port (Puerto Bolivar) is heavily guarded. The railway from the mine cuts across Wayuu ancestral territory and was constructed in 1982 without Wayuu consent a year after the Colombian government decreed the area an Indigenous Resguardo.

Immediately to the south of the Cerrejon Norte concession are the concessions of Cerrejon Central and Oreganal. From 1995 - 2000, these were mainly controlled by Rio Tinto. In early 2000, Rio Tinto sold its stake to Billiton, which now controls the area in consortium with Anglo-American and Glencore. The mine at Oreganal has had similar impacts to the Intercor operations further north. At Viejo Oreganal, Rio Tinto, Billiton and Glencore bought up all the pasture land around the community and then started pressuring inhabitants one by one to sell up for similarly derisory prices to those offered at Tabaco. As soon as a villager sold up, the company would construct large earth banks around the property. These banks collected standing water and became breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The church, school and community centre were deliberately destroyed and left as standing shells. Meanwhile, mining operations and test drilling move ever closer to the community.

Resistance followed. A Relocation Committee was set up to demand land for land. The companies offered a compromise: they would pay for the construction of housing and infrastructure on land provided by the municipality (in this case, Barrancas), but housing would only be available to community members who already owned what the company considered to be a decent house, and land would only be available in the form of small back yards. Many community members accepted, for want of anything else on offer. A new village, Nuevo Oreganal, was constructed a few kilometres away. Others continue to resist by remaining in Viejo Oreganal, demanding an adequate relocation package. They are constantly harassed by company security patrols.

The Colombian State decided to invest in coal production in the early 1980s when the price of coal was high. Enormous quantities of public money were pumped into the infrastructure (especially rail construction) which Intercor needed to make Cerrejon Norte profitable. But because of its huge indebtedness, there was no way the Colombian State could recoup its costs during the projected fifty-year lifetime of the Cerrejon mining concessions. The sale of Carbocol last year was a response to pressure from the IMF to open up the Colombian economy to greater foreign corporate control and cut the State�s losses. But Carbocol was sold at a fraction of its real value. The buyers now control coal exports which were expected to amount in 2000 to 5 million tonnes from the Oreganal/Cerrejon Central zone and half the total 15 million tonnes from the Cerrejon Norte zone � out of a Colombian total of 34.41 million tonnes.

The Thatcher government had a direct interest in the mining of Colombian coal. British government teams visited Colombia to look for coal before the Thatcher regime began its assault on British mining communities in the early 1980s. The destruction of these communities depended on the destruction of agricultural and fishing communities in Guajira. The British government wanted cheap coal and British miners� pay was too high. Coal from Guajira would be cheaper: costs could absorbed by villagers removed with inadequate compensation, workers who could be paid much less than British miners, and the Colombian government with its investment in infrastructure. The European Union imports over 70% of Colombia�s coal, with Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain being among the biggest recipients. The privatisation of the British economy was assisted by Colombian coal. British workers, Colombian farmers and taxpayers and Wayuu communities paid the price.

 

Richard Solly, with assistance from Roger Moody, January 2001

 


===========================

 

NOTE: Batchawana Bay is a beautiful resort area on Lake Superior, just north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and location of an Ojibwa reserve/fishing village.

 

Billiton And Intrepid Minerals Corporation Enter Into Exploration Agreement Regarding Batchawana Bay Project, Ontario, Canada



London, 9 May 2001

Billiton Plc announces that its subsidiary Billiton Resources Canada Inc. has signed a letter of intent, subject to board and regulatory approvals, with Intrepid Minerals Corporation ("Intrepid") regarding its Batchawana Bay copper-gold project in the Lake Superior region of Ontario, Canada. The Batchawana Bay area is regarded as prospective for the discovery of new iron oxide-hosted Cu-Au orebodies similar in style to the giant Olympic Dam deposit in South Australia. The key components of the proposed agreement include:

  1. Billiton will receive a total of 450,000 units in Intrepid, consisting of one share and one share purchase warrant, over a period of four years. A total of 100,000 shares are due on signing of the formal agreements.

  2. Intrepid may earn a 50% interest in the property by investing C$1.25 million in exploration work over a four-year period. This commitment includes an initial C$250,000 within 12 months.

  3. All further work will be funded by the joint venture partners in proportion to their ownership of the project, unless Billiton elects, at its option, to increase its interest in the project from 50% to 70%. This would be done by financing all further work through to the commencement of commercial production. Intrepid's pro rata share of this expenditure will be repaid from Intrepid's portion of cash flow.

Intrepid will be the initial project manager but Billiton will have the right to replace Intrepid during the back-in or joint venture phases. Commenting on the agreement, David Whitehead, Billiton's Chief Executive, Exploration and Development said, "We believe that this part of Ontario is very prospective for the discovery of significant new copper-gold deposits, and we look forward to working with Intrepid as it applies its expertise to this exciting new district".

Laurie Curtis, President of Intrepid commented "Billiton is definitely a partner of choice for Intrepid, and the deal gives us flexibility as operator to capitalise on our extensive in-house experience with this sort of deposit".

 

 

Billiton And Western Keltic Mines Enter Into
Exploration Agreement In South West Ontario



London, 9 May 2001

Billiton Plc announces that its subsidiary Billiton Resources Canada Inc. has agreed the terms of an option agreement with Western Keltic Mines ("Western Keltic") regarding its Sault Dam Cu-Au project near Ste. Sault Marie in Ontario, Canada.

The agreement takes the form of an exploration option over an area of approximately 6,300 ha located 25km NE of Ste. Sault Marie in SW Ontario, Canada. Previous work by Billiton in the area suggests potential for copper-iron-gold mineralisation of an affinity similar to that of the giant Olympic Dam deposit in South Australia.

Under the terms of the option, Western Keltic may earn a 70% interest in the property from Billiton by investing C$1.75 million in exploration work over a four-year period. In addition, Western Keltic will issue Billiton up to 250,000 units comprising one common share and a full purchase warrant over a period of four years, of which 50,000 units will be issued on commencement. Billiton will retain a First Back In Right to earn an additional 20% interest in the property (for an aggregate 50% interest) by spending the next C$3.5 million over a period of 3 years. A second Back In Right allows Billiton to increase its interest in the property to 70% by providing project financing to the start of commercial production.

Commenting on the agreement, David Whitehead, Billiton Chief Executive, Exploration and Development said, "This agreement with Western Keltic Mines is a logical extension to our program of focusing on high-quality early stage exploration opportunities that have the potential to develop into world class mining operations. We are extremely pleased to add Western Keltic to our list of partner companies and look forward to the results of the forthcoming exploration program."


===========================


Peru protesters block road over Antamina mine worry



June 22, 2001
(Reuters)


LIMA, Peru - Hundreds of local residents of a fishing village blocked Peru's main north-south highway with boulders on Wednesday in protest at environmental fears surrounding the major new Antamina copper and zinc mine.

Inhabitants of Huarmey, some 88 miles (140 km) north of Lima, fear contamination from a pipeline to transport the minerals to the Pacific Ocean, and from a processing plant at the port.

The Antamina mine, owned by Billiton Plc , Noranda Inc , Teck Corp and Mitsubishi Corp , is expected to become Peru's biggest zinc producer and a major world supplier. It began test operations this month and is expected to become the world's seventh largest copper producer and third largest zinc producer.

"The people are asking for the port and the pipeline not to be used because they believe there is a risk of contamination, as has happened in other places touched by mining," Juan Pacifico, the mayor of Huarmey, told Reuters.

The first blockades, which caused no problems for Antamina, began on Tuesday and Pacifico said they would go on unless the company managed to convince the population about its environmental protection at a meeting yesterday.

Antamina, located 16,000 feet (4,800 meters) up in the central Andes, expects to achieve full commercial operation by the end of the year, when the mine is forecast to go from an initial average of 35,000 tonnes a day of treated minerals to 70,000 tonnnes - the planned maximum output for 10 years.

Of the $2.296 billion investment in the project, some $400 million has been earmarked for environmental protection - a key concern in Peru, which combines major mineral deposits with stunning natural beauty.

"Antamina is the biggest project (of its kind) under construction and is meeting international standards and Peruvian legislation on environmental issues. There is no problem with contamination," the company said in a statement.

The company added that the water used to transport the mineral in the pipeline would not be emptied into the ocean but would be treated and used to irrigate a desert region.

Antamina expects to export its first batch of concentrates at the start of July.


ENVIRONMENT A PROBLEM FOR MINING


by Eduardo Orozco
Reuters News Service


"The experience in Peru is that mining causes environmental and social problems because of the dumping of waste which affect people's health, livestock and fish stocks by contaminating water," said Miguel Palacin, head of a nationwide lobby group for communities affected by mining.

Energy and Mines Minister Carlos Herrera has said environmental issues at Antamina are under control.

When Antamina is fully operational by the first quarter of 2002, production is expected to reach a million tonnes of copper concentrates a year, 490,000 tonnes of zinc concentrates and 6,500 tonnes of molybdenum concentrates.

Antamina will increase Peru's mining exports by 30 percent from the first year of operations, and is forecast to have a 20-year life.

Peru is the world's fifth largest copper producer. It is also the world's No. 2 tin and silver producer, No. 3 zinc and lead producer and No. 8 gold producer.

Peru's energy and mines ministry expects Antamina to boost the country's struggling $54 billion gross domestic product by 1.8 percent and to increase copper production by 35 percent and zinc by 50 percent. Copper

 



Republica (Lima) 20 June 2001
Altavista translation


Settlers of Huarmey, Casma, Bolognesi and Huari block Pan-American North

Massive mining protest against Antamina


Settlers of the provinces of Huarmey, Casma, Bolognesi and Huari blocked sections 291 and 298 of Pan-American North as part of second regional deployment of 48 hours declared against the mining company Antamina.

The blockade of the tracks beginning from the midnight of Monday and deployment had accepted in total form by the settlers and civil organizations of the zones of influence of the miner.

Successful deployment responds to the environmental damage that would produce the beginning of the mining activity of Antamina in Huarmey and the zones near the 302 mine and of mineroducto of km2 of extension.

The conflict arose the last week when in an opened meeting, the mining company Antamina did not know to respond to the questions made by the specialists of the Defense front and the settlers.

Juan Asti, who has analyzed the Study of Environmental Impact of Antamina, says that the miner does not inform the chemical components that the treated water will have once the mineral concentrated one (made up of copper, zinc and silver) happens through mineroducto until arriving at the port of Huarmey.

Felipe Cantuarias, vice-president of Corporative Subjects of Antamina, said in an interview to a radial transmitter that the water of mineroducto will arrive at the port and will enter a processing plant, of will leave a water there used class 3 for irrigated land. The water will go to one puts of storage and the liquid element will be used for a foresty project of 170 hectares.

Nevertheless, Asti indicates that it is very probable that concentrate uses heavy metals which are difficult to be treated. " the exact volume of the used water is not known Either that together with the little information of their composition could affect the water-bearing one of Huarmey ", maintains Asti.

For Cantuarias any risk of contamination of Antamina does not exist, but it recognized the lack of correct information of the population.

The mayor I solicit " that the monitorimnh and supervision of the environmental impacts is made with the participation of the local governments and Fronts of Defense of the zone of influence of the miner.

Also it demanded the fulfillment of pacts and agreements subscribed between Antamina and the communities farmers, as well as the payment of municipal tributes.

La Mina de Crandon Mina de Cobre-Zinc Amenaza a las Ind�genas de Wisconsin




Republica 17 May 2001
By EFRAI ROSALES
Correspondent in Huaraz
Altavista translation


But of 3 thousand people they raise to defend its environment against the abuses of the transnationals - Blockade of the Pan-American one and more than 50 hurt in beginning of r egional unemployment of Ancash that rejects contamination generated by Antamina miner

The blockades of the channel, as much in Bolognesi as in Huarmey, generated the immediate retaliation of the National Police that sent tear pumps against the demonstrators and, even, made firings to the air, being 50 hurt people, among them one of bullet, informed the leaders.

..... several set afire, interprovincial omnibus and trucks ... and beached vehicles in about 10 kilometers of the North highway Pan-American were the balance of regional unemployment that initiated 12 provinces of the department of Ancash, in protest by the environmental contamination generated by the mining company Antamina

The force measurement was accepted in almost a 100 percent in the provinces of Huarmey, Bolognesi, Piscobamba, Yungay, San Luis, Pallasca, Llamell**n, Huari, Huaylas, Carhuaz and Sihuas, whose mayors stood out as he leaves from his platform of fight Exigencies:

Its iron defense of the ecology and the environment,
The approval of a study for the residual water processing of mineroducto.
The formalization of a forestry project
The monitoring and supervision of the environmental impacts with participation of the local governments,
The recovery of the Lagoon of Conococha
The rehabilitation and the maintenance of the channels of communication used by Antamina,
The fulfillment to pacts and agreements and municipal laws and tributes.

They asked for the accomplishment of an additional study of the environmental impact of the port of Huarmey... with the participation of representatives of the population.

They demanded the government who demands to the mining company Antamina the creation of a bottom that serves to compensate to the communities affected farmers and populations, The fulfillment in the agreements subscribed with the land proprietors near the scope of influence of the mine, in order to mitigate the socioeconomic and cultural effects.

The provincial mayor of Bolognesi, Caesar Fernandez Callupe, headed a mobilization of of near three thousand people, who blocked with immense stones the North Pan-American highway, in the sectors of the Lagoon of Conococha, in the zone coast and Cajacay, the mountain range. These actions were imitated by settlers of the province of Huarmey, who headed by leaders of the FEDIP carried out a mobilization by the main streets, finally to block the highway and to take the bridge located on the iver from the same name, like the zone of Miramar and the sector of Four Bridges to the south of city.

An immense tail of beached vehicles occupied about 10 kilometers in t he sector of Snakes, and to the south from the toll to the denominated place " the Vixen ".

The call to regional unemployment was raised by the provincial, distritales mayors and leaders of the National Coordinator of Communities Farmers (Conacami) in protest against the Antamina company and the central government so that the transnational company fulfills recovering

the zones damaged by its contractors Sagitario Besalco. They assured that these companies made uneven the water mirror of Laguna Conococha and have depredated the biodiversity of that ecosystem due to the transfer of mineral remainders.


MORE AT
Avisos & Noticias Del Medioambiente Peruano
(Peruvian Environment Alerts and News)
http://www.unii.net/allparuna allparuna@yahoo.es

 

Peruvian Links:
Local communities in Peru affected by mining
http://www.mmsd-la.org/paises/indices/participa_peru.htm

Servicio de Informacion Indigena servndi@hotmail.com

Coordinadora de Comunidades Afectadas por la Mineria (Conacami) sito en Jr. Carlos Arrieta 1059 Urb. Santa Beatriz, Lima. PERU http://www.eurosur.org/rebelion/ecologia/mineria221200.htm
E-mail comunidades@mixmail.com

Carta a Peru de Wisconsin
ALLPA RUNA Avisos & Noticias Del Medioambiente Peruano

 

Regional Strike Against Canadian Mining Companies



August 31, 1999
http://www.converge.org.nz/lac/articles/news990831a.htm


Peruvian army troops with automatic weapons took control of Huaraz, capital of Ancash department, on Aug. 20 as residents shut down the city on the second day of a nearly total 48-hour civic strike.

Huaraz mayor Waldo Rios Salcedo said the regional strike was supported by 27 provincial and district mayors in Ancash department, and by 132 campesino organizations. The strike was called to protest the activities of two Canadian mining companies, "whose gold production at the Pierina mine is valued at $50 billion, while the surrounding areas get no benefit at all," according to Rios.

The Canadian companies Barrick-Misquichilca and Antamina are under fire for not paying adequate taxes to benefit the region; for failing to hire local people -- only five of the total 870 workers on the companies' payroll are from Huaraz; and for using cyanide in their production process.

Municipal offices, schools and commercial establishments were closed during the two-day strike; only a few pharmacies and street vendors were open for business. There was no public transport. Footage aired on a privately owned cable television station showed soldiers guarding bridges, gas stations, public buildings and plazas, and patrolling the city in private vehicles.

On Aug. 19, after a demonstration in the main plaza of Huaraz where mayor Rios blasted the mining companies, groups of protesters blocked streets with stones, burned tires and knocked down signs around the city. The office of the Ancash Prefecture said in a communique that the army presence in Huaraz was necessary "in the face of the abuses committed by groups headed by mayor Waldo Rios, which caused damages to property." Police said the disturbances left five people injured and 10 arrested.

 

===========================


BHP plays down Peru troubles



by John Phaceas
May 25, 2001


BHP said yesterday it was not aware of any guerilla attacks on its Tintaya copper mine, or Billiton's Antamina mine, in Peru, ahead of a general election there next year.

In Lima yesterday, the head of Peru's mining, oil and energy society, Ricardo Briceno, said a number of foreign-owned operations were being targeted by Shining Path guerillas and "other subversive groups" in the lead-up to the election.

Mr Briceno said blocked roads, stolen dynamite and attacks on workers and property had been reported at a number of sites over the past three months, including those owned by BHP and Billiton.

The attacks appeared to have been orchestrated to foster instability and undermine Peru's crucial mining sector, he said.

BHP played down Mr Briceno's comments.

"We are unaware of any incidents of that nature," a company spokesman said.

Mr Briceno's claims come just days after BHP shareholders approved a $57 billion merger with Billiton, despite many expressing concern at risks associated with Billiton's greater exposure to developing nations.

It also comes as work gets under way on a $US138 million ($226 million) expansion of Tintaya to lift capacity 40 per cent to 130,000 tonnes a year by late 2002.

Meanwhile, Anglo American-controlled diamond giant De Beers seized on suggestions BHP may divest the fabulous Ekati mine in Canada in the wake of its merger with Billiton.

Speaking in London, a De Beers official said the company would "monitor" any proposed changes to Ekati's ownership.

Canada was a "new frontier to broaden (De Beers') supply base", he said.

On Wednesday, BHP chief strategic officer Brad Mills said the $1 billion Ekati mine had to "get bigger and grow ... or we'll have to harvest the value in that".

Any offer from De Beers would be likely to draw fierce opposition from Rio Tinto, which is building the $1.4 billion Diavik mine nearby.

Tom Wilson

===========================

 

 

Track Record Links:

 

ENVIRONMENTAL INCIDENTS

Check out Billiton's worker safety and environmental record for 1999. Go to www.billiton.com and then click on HSE and Community. Once in, click on Environmental Management or Health and Safety.

From: Environmental Management section of Billiton's HSE and Community Report (part of the 1999 Annual Report (See also the Health and Safety section for Injuries and Fatalities)

or open the frame:
http://193.129.118.87/billiton/HSE_report/health_saftey/health.htm
http://193.129.118.87/billiton/HSE_report/environmental/enviromental.htm

"This year we recorded 508 environmental incidents, of which 12 were at Level III. We will try harder. Our commitment is zero spills. Many of the Level III incidents were related to the release of contaminated water into the receiving environment. The Southern Hemisphere has been particularly affected by exceptionally high rainfall that compromised water management facilities in Australia and South Africa. These water discharge incidents occurred after consultation with local authorities and in accordance with licensing conditions. No penalties or fines were incurred.

Billiton Environmental Incident Reporting Levels
Level I: Massive non-compliance, with severe adverse and possible irreparable damage, or affecting a large area with major legal implications.
Level II: Major non-compliance excursions with severe damage, costly to repair. Level III: Localised non-compliance of material with known toxicity.
Level IV: Minor non-compliance and impact.
Level V: Incidents with environmental impact not covered by legislation, particularly spills and other incidents, as per defined volumes."

 

GENCOR splits gold, non-gold interests , 1997

Gencor is busy with plans to separate its gold and non-gold interests, involving the division of its base metals and precious metals operation with non-gold interests to be transferred to a new company around London - registered subsidiary Billiton International.

In a bid to raise between �600-million and �1,2-billion to fund international expansion, base-metal interests including aluminium, copper, zinc, tin and titanium operations, and Ingwe coal will be moved under Billiton. Precious metals will remain with Gencor's listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with Gengold and Impala Platinum provinding the company's local focus.

Gencor has made no secret of its foreign expansion plans, and has made it clear it would resort to foreign capital markets to raise the amounts it needs for expansion. Last year, 51% of Gencor's earnings came from outside South Africa.

The company believes that raising capital in London will be an important move towards reintegrating South Africa business back into the mainstream of international capital markets.

http://www.mg.co.za/mg/za/archive/97jun/02jun-news.html

SURINAME bauxite mines

http://www.cs.org/publications/featured%20articles/1998/suriname3.htm
http://www.essential.org/monitor/hyper/mm1195.05.html

CHINA

Plans are also afoot to dam the main stems of all the rivers, even though electricity prices are crashing in China, and its current headline-stealer, the $35-billion Three Gorges Dam, is wracked by corruption and incompetence.

China has just begun building a massive dam on the Mekong River south of the project area. When it is finished it will be 958 feet high, one of the tallest in the world. The British mining firm Billiton is negotiating for a large lead and zinc mine near the project area. The air and water pollution and soil erosion it generates could bedevil the region for years.

http://www.prop1.org/nucnews/2000nn/0008nn/000804nn.htm

BRAZIL/THAILAND

Bauxite projects with Alcoa and sister company Shell near the Trombetas River and on Sao Luis island in Brazil (The Ecologist 19(6):219-224 (1989).

Tin smelter in Thailand with Union Carbide (Who Owns the Earth, By James Ridgway, 1980, p. 110).

Directory of Transnational Corporations
July 1996 Edition, compiled by George Draffan
� Public Information Network
P.O. Box 95316, Seattle WA 98145-2316
E-mail: itp@igc.apc.org
Internet: http://violet.berkeley.edu/~orourke/PIN.html

NETHERLANDS : Hazardous Waste May 1992

The Dutch government considers how Pasminco company can dispose of Budelco's jarosite, a waste material laden with toxic heavy metals. The Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary Billiton is a partner in Budelco.

Australian Financial Review 1/5/92

BRAZIL : Aluminum Pollution Sept. 1991

Shell has 40% of the Alto Brasil Mineracao project, near Oriximina, Para state. (Alcoa has 60%). In addition to producing 2.3 million tonnes of bauxite - the 2 companies have another 60/40 joint venture of Alcoa Aluminio S.A. and Billiton Metais S.A., Shell Brasil's metals unit - to make aluminum. "Alumar, located in the northeastern port of Sao Luis, is the world's second-largest combined alumina refinery and aluminium smelter."

Reuter September 27, 1991

[Bauxite mining is generally polluting, and destructive to the land. Aluminum production floods the surrounding country-side with air-borne flourides, as well as PAH's raising the cancer rate, especially for aluminum workers.]

BRAZIL

Shell's metals subsidiary Billiton is one of 5 companies that use 3% of Brazil's total electricity production. Billiton along with Alcan and Dow applied to build their own power station and dam called Serra Quebrada on the river Tocatins.

Gazeta Mercantil July 25, 1989
http://www.alternatives.com/library/biz/bizwgen/shellrec.txt

SOUTH AFRICA

UK metals giant Billiton wants to set up a zinc refinery at Coega, on the coast of South Africa�s Eastern Cape province. According to environmental and community groups, the local township population already suffers high pollution levels, and key reports on hazardous waste disposal and economic impacts have been kept from the public. Residents likely to be forcibly removed haven�t even been told about the proposals (let alone consulted), and those remaining are likely to suffer �severe health impacts�. Moreover, the refinery itself is within 500 metres of a fragile marine reserve - Billington�s own scientific specialist admits that �The survival of the Jackass Penguin and the Roseate Terne is at risk�. Stephen Byers (Peter Mandelson�s successor at the Department of Trade) has a letter in his in-tray pointing out that OECD guidelines (which he oversees) are repeatedly violated by the proposals. But hey, its good for the UK economy...

http://www.corporatewatch.org/magazine/issue8/cw8bab.html


Billiton Plc�s Proposed Coega Zinc Refinery Eastern Cape, South Africa
Violation of The OECD Guidelines For Multinational Enterprises
From the SOUTHERN AFRICA ENVIRONMENT PROJECT 1998 http://www.saep.org/sa/province/eastcape/coega/coegacampaign2.html

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises have included a chapter on environmental protection since 1991. The chapter sets out the most basic elements of corporate responsibility to the environment. Billiton Plc., the UK based metals multinational, in the actions and assessments that it has undertaken and commissioned in pursuit of the construction of a zinc refinery at the Coega site in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, including the activities of Billiton�s predecessor in interest, Gencor, is in clear violation of these provisions in a number of significant respects.

SOUTH AFRICA

NUMSA plans strike over Billiton lay-offs
Sept. 13, 2000 (Business Day, Jhb.)
http://www.bullion.org.za/bulza/newsotd/2000notd/130900.htm

The National Union of Metal Workers of SA (NUMSA) plans to embark on a "massive strike" to retaliate against London-based resource group, Billiton, immediately after the Congress of South African Trade Union's (COSATU's) national congress. According to Numsa the company is in the process of retrenching 5000 workers, starting next week.

"NUMSA will put the issue of Billiton on the agenda of COSATU's coming seventh congress," said NUMSA spokesman Dumisa Ntuli. Billiton, which produces stainless steel, aluminium, manganese and ferrochrome, will apparently close several of its divisions and furnaces.

Regional integration and development in Southern Africa:
A case study of the MOZAL Project and its implications for workers

Leon Pretorius
International Labour Resource and
Information Group (ILRIG), March 2000
http://www.aidc.org.za/ilrig/research/mozal.html

Billiton..... has a history of conflict with worker organisations such as The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) in South Africa. During 1998 in South Africa, Billiton threatened to take NUMSA to court because of a solidarity strike with other workers in the metal industry. Billiton argued that because it was a strike in the motor vehicle sector it had nothing to do with Billiton. The solidarity strike at Billiton was therefore illegal. NUMSA accussed Billiton of attempting to smash the trade union at its plant.

Billiton wins strike inderdict
Oct 26 1999 za.business
Daily Mail and Guardian
http://www.mg.co.za/mg/za/archive/99oct/26octpm-business.html

Billiton won an interim court order on Tuesday preventing workers from embarking on a planned strike at is Alusaf Hillside plant in Richards Bay,on Wednesday, SABC radio news reported. The order will delay the strike until November 25 when the case will be heard. Billiton spokesman Mohammed Seedat said Billiton wants to resolve the problem through arbitration. It launched the application last week after the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa gave notice it would strike over the Company's skills-based pay system.

SOUTH AFRICA Feb 24 1999 Nelspruit Sapa

COLOMBIA : El Cerrejon Coal Mines
(This is deja vu--Exxon was partners with Carbocol; see Track Records of Exxon and Rio Algom http://treaty.indigenousnative.org/track-1.html )

Anglo American, Billiton And Glencore Sign Memorandum Of Understanding On Carbones Del Cerrejon, Colombia 23/05/2000 http://www.billiton.com/newsite/html/press/colombia.htm

Anglo American, Billiton and Glencore announce that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in terms of which Billiton will acquire a one third share of Carbones del Cerrejon ("CdelC") from the current equal shareholders, Anglo American and Glencore. The next stage will be for Anglo American, Billiton and Glencore to sign a definitive sale / purchase agreement.

CdelC holds the rights to mine three world class, high grade coal reserves totalling some 2 billion tonnes - Cerrejon Central, Oreganal and Cerrejon South - which support the current and planned mining operations in northern Colombia. CdelC supplies steamcoal to customers in the USA, Europe and the Middle East, via Puerto Bolivar.

James Campbell, Executive Director of Anglo American with responsibility for Anglo < Coal commented, "This is another important step in the development of coal exports from Colombia, and we welcome this further relationship with Billiton." Mick Davis, Executive Director of Billiton responsible for Billiton Coal added," We are pleased to be associated with Anglo American and Glencore in this important coal venture in Colombia. This investment is consistent with our long term coal strategy."

Ivan Glasenberg, Head of Glencore coal activities commented, "We look forward to developing the vast coal potential together with our partners in Colombia."

RESTRUCTURING: Coal rush goes into reverse

As the oil giants pull out, a new generation of coal owners is moving in, by Gerard McCloskey.

The new generation of coal owners will have as clear a stamp as the old oil industry grouping. They are, with one marked exception, the traditional raw material producers and miners, and all are already in coal in one way or another. Two, Anglo Coal (formerly Amcoal) and Billiton (formerly Ingwe), are based in South Africa and see little prospect for developing their coal business at home.

To a degree Billiton has already made its move, with substantial investments in Australia and some involvement in the swiftly growing Indonesian coal scene.

Anglo Coal's diversification has so far been limited to a one-third share in the Colombian operation Carbones Del Cerrejon. Billiton and Anglo Coal (the latter in partnership with Glencore, the commodity trader and coal producer) are among the six companies in formal negotiations with the Colombian government over this year's planned sale of Carbocol. Like most bidders for Carbocol's 50 per cent stake in the El Cerrejon mine (Carbocol's only asset), the two South African companies have made it clear that they want to control operations rather than being limited to the meek role of partner.

GENCOR DISTANCES ITSELF FROM MPUMALANGA FUNDING ROW

Gencor Limited on Wednesday distanced itself from reports this week that it donated R175000 towards the salary of Mpumalanga premier Mathews Phosa's special adviser and speechwriter, African Eye News Service reported.

Mpumalanga treasury head Issy Lief told the province's finance portfolio committee last week that Gencor was one of a number of outside agencies contributing to Pieter Rootman's salary. Gencor chairman Michael McMahon rejected the claim and denied that the company offered financial support to anyone in the Mpumalanga administration.

"Gencor is not associated with Mpumalanga in any way and we can't understand why th African Eye News Service reported that Billiton Plc made the donation.

Billiton public affairs manager Michael Campbell was quoted as confirming on Wednesday that two of the multinational's subsidiaries made significant financial donations to Mpumalanga over the past two years.

"Last year Ingwe Coal Corporation and the Billiton Development Trust provided some R7,9-million of financial support into educational, health and developmental projects in Mpumalanga," he said.

The projects included rural development partnerships with the province as well as a R500,000 capacity-building grant to Phosa's office.

Mpumalanga provincial spokesman Oupa Pilane said he had no comment.

http://www.anc.org.za/anc/newsbrief/1999/news0225

===========================

 


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