By Samarendra Das and Felix Padel
(Article for ‘The Global Economic History of Bauxite’, Canada 2010)
Most critiques of the aluminium industry focus on refineries and smelters, which are among the worst culprits of global heating. But bauxite mining excavates a huge surface area, and has caused environmental devastation in Jamaica, Guinea, Australia, India and recently also in Vietnam.
Perhaps no bauxite deposits are located in more sensitive areas than those in India, whose most significant deposits occur as cappings on the biggest mountains in south Orissa and north Andhra Pradesh. Tribal people live in hundreds of communities around these mountains, which they regard as sacred entities for the fertility they promote. Appropriately, the base rock of these mountains was named ‘Khondalite’ after the region’s predominant tribe, the Konds. Early geologists noticed the perennial streams flowing from these mountains, and modern evidence suggests that their water regime is severely damaged when the bauxite cappings are mined.
Call for protest at the Vedanta AGM (Annual General Meeting) 2011, 3pm on 27th July, Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, London, SW1P 3EE.
Please join us for the 7th annual protest outside the AGM of Vedanta Resources, the now infamous UK registered Indian mining company who have this year been exposed by the Indian government for serial environmental and human rights violations. We stand in solidarity with the Dongria Kondh and other inhabitants of Niyamgiri and Lanjigargh who have lost land, health and livelihood to Vedanta’s refinery, and faced repression and struggle in fighting Vedanta’s plans for a 73 million tonne bauxite mine and a six fold increase in the refinery’s capacity. We oppose Vedanta’s attempted take-over of British Oil company Cairn Energy who plan to drill in Greenland and Sri Lanka.
The protests at the 2010 Vedanta AGM brought a lot of attention to Vedanta’s Niyamgiri operations. Here are a collection of the articles, videos and photos taken of the day. Join us for the 2011 AGM demonstrations!
By Felix Padel and Samarendra Das, Economic and Political Weekly, December 2005
“The evidence we present goes against the conventional history of aluminium, which tends to portray the industry as central to various countries’ economic power and prosperity, without understanding the financial manipulation and exploitation between and within countries, and the true costs.”
Few people understand aluminium’s true form or see its industry as a whole. Hidden from general awareness are its close link with big dams, complex forms of exploitation in the industry’s financial structure, and a destructive impact on indigenous society that amounts to a form of genocide. Continue reading