A speech originally given at the Foil Vedanta & Centre for World Environmental History Activist Academia forum, September 13th 2014.
I would like to start by saying that since the two world wars the leading powers have learned nothing. Its the same old squabbles: religion and material wealth. Scottish independence could be the thin end of the wedge in clearing the way for nuclear reduction. As I understand it the rest of the UK has no appropriate facility that can accommodate Trident or its replacement. I hope you would agree that these weapons are a destructive nightmare which keep the economic justice of the common man’s welfare down, as the billions spent on a weapons of defence can only encourage others to equip themselves with the same, only a little more powerful. Why? in ‘defence’. As I hope you’ll agree there are so many avenues in which these beneficial funds could be distributed in the many places of the world we know of which are pillaged for the resources required to maintain the armaments industries where the economic bodies of the world are embroiled. The question is how do we fix it?
A two day event bringing international activists and academics together to reflect on academic pursuit and forms of knowledge production, and establish working links between those working against the impacts of neoliberalism, the extractive industries, including damage to communities, ecology, democracy and governance.
Hosted by the Centre for World Environmental History (CWEH) University of Sussex.
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Places are limited. Please book as soon as you can. Last booking date is 1 September 2014.
2nd ANNIVERSARY DEMONSTRATION
AGAINST THE BRUTAL MARIKANA MASSACRE
SOUTH AFRICA HOUSE, TRAFALGAR SQUARE, LONDON
2-5PM Sat 16th August 2014
Join the facebook event!
and see MINERS SHOT DOWN film
7pm FRIDAY 15th AUGUST 2014 @ 365 Brixton Road, BRIXTON, LONDON, SW9
THE MARIKANA MASSACRE WAS DELIBERATE. S.A. POLICE KILLED 34 AND INJURED 78 STRIKING MINERS. MANY WERE SHOT IN THE BACK &/or ON THE GROUND. RAZOR WIRE, SUB-MACHINE GUNS AND ARMOURED CARS. HORSES AND HELICOPTERS WERE USED. 270+ SURVIVORS WERE ROUNDED UP AND CHARGED WITH THE KILLINGS. WITNESSES ARE BEING REGULARLY MURDERED AS THE WHITEWASH OFFICIAL INQUIRY ROLLS ON. THE WORKERS STRUGGLE CONTINUES.
Please read more below..
August 1st 2014. Protesters from Foil Vedanta, MPs and other organizations today held a loud and colourful demonstration at the AGM of controversial FTSE 250 mining company Vedanta at the Lincoln Centre, Lincoln Inn Fields, London. On 31st August parallel demos were held in Odisha, Delhi and Johannesburg. 400 miners protested Vedanta’s Konkola Copper Mines in Ndola, Zambia. In Odisha, India, a consultation on the proposed six fold expansion of the Lanjigarh refinery on 30th July met with major opposition after Vedanta lost permission to mine the Niyamgiri Hills this year. Meanwhile, Vedanta are accused of tax evasion and mismanagement at their Konkola Copper Mines subsidiary in Zambia after investigations revealed they may be externalising up to $500 million per year in profits.
60 people railed against Vedanta’s London AGM today, representing a variety of organisations including diaspora from Zambia, Goa, Tamil Eelam and Odisha where Vedanta is currently embroiled in scandals and accused of major illegalities. Tamil Parai drummers kept up a loud rhythm throughout the demo. Shortly before the AGM started at 3pm a huge banner was unfurled from the top of the next door building saying ‘Vedanta out of London’ eliciting cheers from the crowd. The protesters were joined by a 6m inflatable blade of grass referring to Anil Agarwal’s repeated claim at previous AGMs that Vedanta ‘have not touched a single blade of grass’ at the Niyamgiri Hills. Company executives were hassled as they entered the AGM.
See the film of today’s demo in London here, and the Parai dummers here, and see MP John McDonnell and others update the protesters after the AGM here.
And photos on Demotix here and here
A full account of the questions asked inside the AGM, and Vedanta’s responses can be found at London Mining Network’s website here.
Coverage by: Economic Times, Activists protest at Vedanta’s AGM over alleged illegalities
The Ecologist, India: Foil Vedanta protests erupt in Delhi
Odisha Sun Times, Foil Vedanta stage protest in London; decries company’s move in Odisha.
The Statesman, Protesters target Vedanta, Govt.
31st July, 2014. Yesterday public hearings on the six fold expansion of the Lanjigarh refinery, at the base of the Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha, were disrupted by around 1000 local people including Dongria and Kutia Konds virulently opposing the expansion.
Some Konds waved their axes demanding that Vedanta (Sesa Sterlite) leave Lanjigarh immediately and citing their objection to the Niyamgiri mine (voiced unanimously in a precedent referendum last year). The Land Losers Association also registered their objection citing the false arrests and imprisonment they have suffered since losing their land to Vedanta without proper compensation or employment as Vedanta had promised. A recent report from a local activist detailed how 34 of the Land losers have died since they lost their land, attributing this to poverty and disease from the Lanjigarh plant.
See a film of the public hearing and the key points raised by opposing groups here.
Miriam Rose, Samarendra Das, John McDonnell MP and Richard Solly in the House of Commons
Speakers from Foil Vedanta and London Mining Network yesterday presented evidence in the House of Commons on the criminal behaviour of some London Listed mining companies, and called for better accountability measures and the de-listing of criminal companies. Focusing on contentious UK miner Vedanta Resources, they exposed new evidence of tax evasion, illegal land grabs, displacement, major pollution and water poisoning, as well as the UK’s role in promoting and protecting the company, and called for its immediate investigation and potential de-listing in London.
In a packed meeting hosted by John McDonnell MP in the House of Commons speakers told MPs, journalists, diplomats and members of the public attending that high risk mining companies like ‘the world’s most hated company’ Vedanta Resources are bringing shame on the London Stock Exchange, and demanded better accountability measures and the de-listing of criminal companies. MPs attending were Jeremy Corbyn, Eric Joyce and John McDonnell.
7th July. In May this year Foil Vedanta released a video showing Vedanta boss Anil Agarwal mocking the Zambian parliament and bragging that he makes $500 million per year from Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), having bought the company for $25 million, against a $400 million asking price. The video caused outrage in Zambia, where KCM has failed to pay taxes, and is indebted to contractors. A few days later hundreds protested in the streets in Lusaka demanding that Vedanta pay taxes and improve the conditions for workers. In light of the profitability of KCM claimed by Agarwal, this article examines the poor treatment of KCM workers by Vedanta, and some of the recent protests by current and former miners.
4th July. This explosive article appeared in today’s Post Zambia newspaper. An arbirtration hearing in the London High Court of Justice heard on Tuesday how Vedanta has used a Dubai based subsidiary called Fujairah Gold to buy under-valued copper from its subsidiary KCM, and hide its profits, in a scam known as transfer mispricing. Fujairah Gold is managed by Anil’s son Agnivesh Agarwal, and is a well hidden subsidiary, controlled by several other Vedanta subsidiaries. According to Vedanta’s 2013 Annual Report:
Fujairah Gold Gold and Silver processing is an Indirect Subsidiary of the parent Company Vedanta Resources with 58.02% shares based in Dubai, UAE which is under Copper Mines Of Tasmania Pty Limited (‘CMT’)CMT 100.00% which is under Monte Cello BV (‘MCBV’) Holding company based in Netherlands which is under Sterlite.
The article also details how Vedanta’s often claimed $2.8 billion in KCM investment is in fact a fabrication. The judgement itself states that; ‘the $2.8 billion figure was in fact made up of US$2.07 billion of internally generated cash flows and US$739 million through borrowing from banks, mainly Standard Bank. It was clear that Vedanta had not injected any capital into KCM as it was supposed to have done.’
The central question is how Anil Agarwal can claim that KCM is earning ‘$500 million per year plus an extra US$1 billion’ when accounts show a loss of $6.3 million after tax in the year ending 31 March 2013. The judgement suggests that ‘if these claims are true then it must be happening by unreported means. ‘ Transfer mispricing is one of the most common techniques for hiding profit. The Zambian Government is currently carrying out a ‘forensic’ audit of KCM’s accounts to ascertain the truth about their profits and taxes due. Watch this space for more news!
Full article below
kcm cheating on copper exports
The Post newspaper, Zambia.
By Mwala Kalaluka
Fri 04 July 2014
Tues 3rd June. On Friday 30th May a group of Pan Afrikan activists and supporters held their annual Afrikan Liberation Day Demonstration outside the London headquarters of Vedanta Resources, highlighting it’s role in plundering and neo-colonising Afrika – particularly in Zambia.
The press release is copied below, and video’s of the demonstration, which included Tamil Parai drummers alongside Afrikan drums can be seen here and here.