31st August, 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.
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
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.
12th May 2014. A video released by activists from Foil Vedanta today, shows Vedanta boss, and 69% owner, Anil Agarwal, telling a large audience how he bought Konkola Copper Mines in Zambia for just $25 million, rather than the $400 million asking price, and receiving loud cheers when he states that the company brings in $500 million in profit each year. Foil Vedanta had previously released figures from Vedanta’s annual reports showing that the company made $362 million in 2013, but Vedanta CEO Tom Albanese had disputed this during his visits to Zambia in February, repeating the previous claim that KCM was making a very low profit or a loss due to high operational costs and taxes.
In the video, Agarwal, speaking to the Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) in Bangalore, India, March 22 – 23 this year, states about KCM:
“Its been 9 years [since we've owned the company], and since then every year it is giving us a minimum of 500 million dollar, plus 1 billion dollar, every year it has been continuously giving back.”
Tuesday 22nd April. On Monday night the world lost a brilliant and dedicated political activist, people’s movement leader and socialist thinker. Sunil Gupta, better known as Sunilbhai was the general secretary of the Samajwadi Jan Parishad (the Socialist People’s Council), a political party founded by the deeply respected socialist Kishen Pattnayak, and dedicated to supporting people’s struggles across India. As a political activist and people’s economist Sunil succeeded in sustaining the movement of the Adivasis, Dalits and other oppressed caste people’s movement for 32 years from 1984 till his untimely death in 2014.
Sunilbhai trained as an Economist from Jawaharlal Nehru University, but rather than follow a career in the city, settled in the remote Keshla village of Hoshangabad district, Madhya Pradesh in 1984, and organised the locals against oppression under the banner of Kisan Adivasi Sangathan (KAS). He was associated with Samata Yuba Jan Sabha, Samata Sangatahan and Samajwadi Jan Parishad since its inception in 1995.
He rose to prominence leading agitations for rehabilitation of Tawa Dam oustees in 1995 and established India’s most successful adivasi fishing cooperative in the Tawa Dam area. 44 tribal villages were displaced by the Tawa dam, and another 34 by an Army Proof Range Establishment and ordnance factory. Sunil organised them in a struggle for rights and proper rehabilitation, coordinating rallies dharnas and chakka jams which demanded that the fishing rights in the reservoir be given to the displaced tribals. Finally the Madhya Pradesh government conceded the demand and the Tawa Matsya Sangh (Tawa Fishermen Cooperative) was formed in 1996 with the right to fishing and marketing its product for five years. It was later broken up when the catchment area was absorbed by the Satpura Tiger Reserve.
Sunil was a mentor for many activists, some of whom have become prominent socialist lawyers and politicians. Sunilbhai will be deeply missed by his family, friends, colleagues and comrades, and by the thousands of farmers, fishermen and Dalits whom he worked tirelessly in service of.
Please see films of his speeches and interviews below
and read his dedication in the Hindu newspaper and on Anaarkali blog.
One of his articles on the ‘Socialism of the New Century’ is copied below.
Today more than 40 protesters from Foil Vedanta, the Afrikan diaspora and other organisations in London chanted, played drums and held banners and placards outside the Zambia High Commission in London. They demanded that some of the revelations in Foil Vedanta’s groundbreaking report Copper Colonialism: British Miner Vedanta KCM and the copper loot of Zambia are addressed by Vedanta and the Zambian government, and asked the UK Government to formally investigate the company. Meanwhile Vedanta may be about to de-list from the London Stock Exchange as Chair Anil Agarwal becomes the 70% owner by buying up shares in the suffering company.
and read the national debate following the demonstration in the Post Newspaper, Zambia: