Global days of action against Vedanta’s 2015 AGM

AGM 2015 flyer excerpt Join us for the 11th annual Global Days of Action against Vedanta Resources and its subsidiaries.

On Monday the 3rd of August we will hold a loud and colourful demonstration outside Vedanta’s Annual General Meeting in London in solidarity with the many communities suffering pollution, illness, oppression, displacement and poverty as a result of Vedanta’s operations.

In the days leading up to this event communities suffering from Vedanta’s operations across India and Afrika will hold rallies and meetings as part of the Global Days of Action against Vedanta. News of these protests will be spread via press and social media and shared between affected communities who are joined in this global movement opposing this careless corporate, and all profit-driven corporates colonising and polluting our planet.

Join us in London with drums and placards on Monday 3rd of August, 2pm at Ironmongers Hall, Barbican, EC2Y 8AA.

Download the AGM 2015 flyer here.

A Critical Legal History of Mining in Goa

Sesa Goa mine waste flood at the peak of the mining boom  in 2009

Sesa Goa mine waste flood at the peak of the mining boom in 2009

14th July 2015Krishnendu Mukherjee, Barrister and Advocate at Doughty Street Chambers, has been very involved in exposing the gross scale illegal mining carried out by Vedanta subsidiary Sesa Goa, and other iron ore miners in Goa. This article is a detailed analysis of the manipulations of legal procedures and previous judgements by mining companies and their government and judicial stooges, currently taking place in a desperate attempt to re-start mining in Goa.

Sesa Goa's Sanquelim mine, a demonstration site of proper mine closure, but Sesa Goa have not reclaimed any of their other closed mines.

Sesa Goa’s Sanquelim mine, a demonstration site of proper mine closure, but Sesa Goa have not reclaimed any of their other closed mines.

Meanwhile in Goa, mining dumps which are the result of illegal mining are being auctioned off, and local residents in Caurem claim that companies are taking away twice the amount of reject ore-bearing material as they are buying.  Once a mine lease is terminated mined land should be reclaimed by the leasing company (as according to mine closure plans) and then returned to the state. However in a recent interview published in The Hindu’s Business Line,  Vedanta CEO Tom Albanese is quoted as saying: “We are waiting for clarification on some environmental issues. We have been dumping waste on the land we bought, but we have been permitted to dump waste outside lease areas. We want clarification on whether it will be a proper mining practice to do so.” This slip of the tongue by Albanese raises an important question: Do mining companies intend to enact Mine Closure Plans and give the leased land back to the state at all? If not will they attempt to develop the land or sell it on to another buyer? These are important questions to be asked in Goa, where 18% of the state is affected by mining.

 

A Critical Legal History of Mining in Goa

by Krishnendu Mukherjee

On the 12.8.11, the High Court of Bombay at Goa, delivered a landmark judgment in relation to environmental protection. In Shankar Raghunath Jog v Talaulicar and Sons Pvt Limited and Union of India PILWP 6/2011, the High Court interpreted the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification (EIA) 1994, Paragraph III (c) provides the following:

The [environment] clearance granted shall be valid for a period of five years from the commencement of the construction or operation of the project.”

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Trial of mining execs at Responsible Extractives Summit

Responsible Extractives Summit29th June 2015. Representatives from Foil Vedanta, Women of Colour in Global Women’s Strike, Black dissidents, All Africa Women’s Group, Sorry you Feel Uncomortable, Survivial Guides and Parai Voice of Freedom today opposed the 6th Annual Responsible Extractives Summit at the Tower Bridge Hilton Hotel in London today. They held a theatrical trial of some of the conference attendees and key public figures from the mining industry and NGOs behind the concept of ‘responsible mining and oil and gas’. Protesters wearing masks of Former Shell Executive and UN Global Compact founder Mark Moody Stuart, post-war mining profiteer Tony Blair, Vedanta CEO and former Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese, mining-fixer in Iraq and Afghanistan Ian Hannam, and NGO financier and former business magnate George Soros were found guilty of a list of crimes against humanity and the environment by a woman dressed as a judge in full robes and wig.

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Extractive Industries on Trial! Protest at the Responsible Extractives Summit 2015.

Responsible Extractives Summit 2015 flyer excerptPlease join us to oppose the 6th Annual Responsible Extractives Summit at Tower Bridge Hilton on Monday 29th June.

Expose crooked executives from Shell, Vedanta, Rio Tinto, JP Morgan, Bechtel and more, co-opting UN’s human rights mechanisms and using sustainability and CSR spin to cover up their extensive and ongoing crimes against humanity and the environment.

Monday 29th June, 12 midday. Hilton Hotel, Tower Bridge, London, SE1 2BY.

Bring drums and placards!!

download the flyer here: Responsible Extractives demo flyer

More info on the true neocolonial faces of the key speakers at the event:

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Zambia: Evidence of corruption and miscarriage of justice in KCM water poisoning case

Mushishima Stream, polluted by Vedanta KCM

Mushishima Stream, polluted by Vedanta KCM

2nd June. This article also appeared in the Lusaka Times on May 19th.                    On 2nd April the Supreme Court of Zambia upheld a precedent High Court verdict that Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is guilty of major water pollution which turned the Kafue into a river of acid in 2006 and poisoned thousands of people, some of who have suffered long term impacts to their liver, kidneys and other functions(1). But the $2 million compensation originally awarded by the High Court to 2001 victims who self organised to sue KCM, has been reduced to virtually nothing, denying them their long due justice.(2)

Now lead claimant James Nyasulu has been receiving threats and harassment from agents working on behalf of KCM, telling him not to fight this multinational company, which has connections in the judiciary.Nyasulu and the committee of claimants have evidenced multiple incidents of procedural irregularities, bribery and corruption during their nine year struggle for legal redress:

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Zambia Supreme Court holds Vedanta guilty of water poisoning

Supreme Court demo London2nd April 2015. The Supreme Court of Zambia today upheld a 2011 High Court verdict which found Vedanta (KCM) guilty of water pollution which poisoned thousands of Chingola residents in 2006(1).Meanwhile in London protesters held a vigil outside outside the Zambia High Commission, drumming and holding banners in solidarity with the victims of Vedanta’s water pollution. The judgement will be officially read out in court in seven days time.

The High Court had awarded 10 billion kwacha in total to 2000 claimants who had suffered illness and liver and kidney damage as a result of drinking the water.(2) However Vedanta challenged the decision which was not re-heard until June 2014. Today’s judgement delivered some justice to the poisoned victims after eight long years wait, but will not award compensation until an assessment is carried out by the High Court Deputy Registrar. This is likely to reduce the total award since the claimants were only able to show twelve medical reports which they had been able to obtain at the time of the pollution incident. The High Court had previously ruled that these twelve reports were indicative of the damage caused to all residents who had drunk the water, and had heard testimonies from victims who were unable to obtain medical reports from the doctors (many of whom worked in Vedanta sponsored medical centres).

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James Nyasulu, a poultry farmer from Chingola and the lead claimant in the case reacted to the judgement today:

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The court should have stood firm and fully supported the High Court judgement. Compensation should even be increased due to the damage done to our health and interest on the original award. The poison we drank violated our right to life, but the court is treating life as cheap. Citizens of this country cannot be treated as guinea pigs for investors.”

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200 of Vedanta’s victims flood Lusaka courtroom

poisoned water kafue placardOn Friday 6th February 200 people who were victims of a major pollution incident caused by Konkola Copper Mines in 2006, which poisoned the Kafue river and made thousands sick, flooded the Supreme Court of Zambia. They were attending the hearing of an appeal (by KCM) against the precedent judgement in January 2011 which awarded them K10 billion ($2 million) in damages for the sickness caused by drinking polluted water, and defended the original judgement.

The 2000 claimants in the original case, led by lead claimant James Nyasulu, had feared they would never get justice until President Michael Sata intervened after meeting them in April 2014 and arranged a hearing of the Supreme Court in Ndola on June 3rd. The hearing took place but one of the three judges, Justice Albert Wood, had previously been an advocate for KCM in earlier hearings of the case. Nyasulu and his group complained to the Supreme Court about this undeclared conflict of interest and were granted a re-sit of the hearing on Friday 6th Feb in Lusaka.

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However justice was not delivered as Vedanta asked for an adjournment in order to find another lawyer and prepare more documents. The judges granted them 10 days to file any additional information, and the respondents (the victims) to file a response to that. However the judges stated that they were ‘suspicious about Vedanta’s activities’ and asserted that the judgement will be delivered by them at the next sitting of the Supreme Court.

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Anil Agarwal anonymous in New York

Anil Agarwal NYT7th February 2015  The New York Times has published an exposé of Vedanta boss Anil Agarwal as part of a series on the people behind shell companies buying up New York real Estate, entitled ‘Towers of Secrecy’ by Louise Story and Stephanie Saul. The section on Vedanta is copied below and the full article is highly recommended.

Like most Time Warner owners, Anil Agarwal, an Indian mining magnate, is anonymous in New York. While interviews and private documents reviewed by The Times confirm he is behind condos purchased by the Amantea Corporation for $9.1 million in 2004, his name appears nowhere on public records. The deeds for Amantea’s Time Warner condos — one on the “maids floor” and another with sweeping views of Central Park — are signed by a New York lawyer named Constance Cranch. When contacted, she said: “You cannot say anything with respect to me. It’s a client of mine’s apartment, and I pay their bills.”

For all the secrecy at Time Warner, Mr. Agarwal is hardly private about his wealth. He spends much of his time in London and told a newspaper in 2005: “I have to have a Bentley, the best of chauffeurs and butlers.”

But Mr. Agarwal and his company, Vedanta Resources, are known in some parts of the world for having left financial and environmental problems in their wake.

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Cairn Lanka and the corporate takeover of the Tamil seas

map-of-CIL-activity-in-tamil-seas26th January 2015Just five days before January’s Sri Lankan Presidential elections former Minister of Power and Energy Champika Ranawaka dropped a bombshell, accusing Mahinda Rajapaska’s government of failing to collect $7 billion in inflated share value from Cairn Energy – the first oil company to discover gas in the Mannar basin. His firey argument (aimed at shaming the then incumbent President) was that mineral exploration rights had been sold to British oil company Cairn Energy for a song following meetings between Rajapaksa and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (who was a school friend of Cairn Energy boss Bill Gammell) in 2006. In 2011, after gas was discovered in their Mannar block – SL 2007-01-001, the value of shares skyrocketed and Cairn Energy sold them on at a highly inflated value to Vedanta Resources, a British-Indian company, who bought Cairn Energy’s South Asian oil and gas subsidiary Cairn India, assisted by the British Prime Minister David Cameron.

 

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Surround GCM’s AGM! Surround the dirty coal miners!

Phulbari GCM AGM 201410th December 2014.  Bangladeshi activists, in conjunction with a diverse group of environmental and left political activists in London, heckled the investors of Global Coal Management Resources with their noise demo and coal play yesterday. Activists blocked the entrance to the Aeronautical Society by dumping coal in the doorway. They surrounded GCMs’ CEO Gary Lye and his fellows who are aggressively moving ahead to implement a massive open-pit mine in Phulbari, the northwest region of Bangladesh. At the same time a delegation of protesters disrupted the AGM of GCM by questioning the investors inside the AGM about their fraudulent business in London’s Alternative Share Market (AIM).

The demo was organised by the UK branch of the National Committee to Protect Oil- Gas-Mineral Resources and Port-Power in Bangladesh, in conjunction with Phulbari Solidarity Group. The event was endorsed by Socialist Party of England and Wales, London Mining Network, World Development Movement, Occupy London, Foil Vedanta, Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition, UK, and several community organisations including Nari Diganta, Swadhinota Trust, Udichi Shilpi Gosthi, Jubo Union, Friends of Chatro Union, Bangladesh Workers Party (UK branch), Bangladesh Communist Party (UK branch), and Bangladesh Socialist Party (UK branch).

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