29th 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.
The Responsible Extractives Summit is ‘the leading CSR forum for the mining, oil and gas industry. The conference brings together 200+ top level executives to debate and solve the key issues around sustainability and social performance in extractives.’
Protesters objected to the invitation of Mark Moody-Stuart, author of the book ‘Responsible Leadership: Lessons from the frontline of Sustainability and Ethics‘, and former Managing Director of Shell Plc, to the summit. Moody-Stuart presided over Shell’s collusion with the Nigerian military which resulted in the hanging of nine indigenous Ogoni activists including Ken Saro Wiwa in 1995, for which Shell paid $15.5 million in an out of court settlement in 2009, but did not admit guilt.
Foil Vedanta protesters highlighted recent activities of Vedanta Resources CEO Tom Albanese, the summit’s headline speaker. Albanese was Chairman of Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) earlier this year when they refused to pay compensation to 2000 victims of water poisoning in Zambia’s copperbelt, caused by a major pollution incident at KCM’s Chingola plant in 2006 where pure acid was released into the river Kafue. The Supreme Court of Zambia found KCM guilty of gross pollution this April but removed the $2 million compensation earlier awarded by the High Court under pressure from KCM’s lawyers. Albanese has also presided over the suppression of the Sandeep Bakshi Judicial Commission report which holds Vedanta guilty of negligence in the 2009 chimney collapse which killed 40 workers at Korba, Chhattisgarh, India.
Albanese was previously CEO of Rio Tinto Plc, accused of genocide around their Panguna copper and gold mine in Bouganville, Papua New Guinea, as well as gross pollution and collusion with the Indonesian military at their Grasberg mine.
Attilah Springer from Foil Vedanta said:
“Corporate social responsibility is the new face of imperialist soft power that multi-national corporations practice all over the developing world. We condemn these safe and self-congratulatory gatherings that take place far from the front lines of catastrophic environmental damage and human rights atrocities. CSR is a pill of liberal dishonesty to help corporate criminals sleep well at night. They need a wake up call.”
The protesters also highlighted the role of investment firms and the UK government in creating price instability and enabling tax evasion from natural resource producing nations. They note that JP Morgan, also speaking at the event are working with Blackrock and Goldman Sachs to buy up 80% of available copper, and hold it in warehouses creating a copper futures market enabling speculation, futures trading, and backing of new loans & funds.
Henry Bellingham MP, the former Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and the Commonwealth, also presented at the summit. His brief included presiding over the British Overseas Territories, which include many of the British controlled tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, which enable tax evasion and capital flight from resource rich countries on a massive scale (estimated to be $148bn per year from Africa)7 by mechanisms such as transfer pricing.
Placards detailing the crimes of other key mining figures included:
Tony ‘war profit’ Blair, Prime Minister responsible for the Iraq war, and subsequently profiting from mining in Iraqi Kurdistan by UI Energy Corporation, whom he received large sums from.
George Soros, business magnate indicted for insider trading, turned major philanthropist, who funds big NGOs who help to shape neo-liberal mining discourse in Africa and elsewhere.
Ian ‘rainmaker’ Hannam, the mining industry’s infamous fixer who was also indicted for insider trading. He was at the forefront of post war mining projects in Afghanistan and Iraq and launched numerous mining companies on the London Stock Exchange and elsewhere.