Protests at GCM Resources AGM over Phulbari coal mine

Protests at GCM Resources AGM over Phulbari coal mine

By Raaj Manik, 5 December 2013

A noisy and powerful protest was held outside the AGM of London-based mining company GCM Resources, on 4 December, over the company’s proposed Phulbari coal mine in Bangladesh, which if it goes ahead will displace an estimated 130,000 people and will pose threats  to the Sundarbans, one of the world’s largest remaining mangrove forests and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

demo5

The British mining company GCM Resources is currently under investigation by the UK government following a complaint by the World Development Movement and the International Accountability Project. The complaint claims the mine would breach OECD rules by violating the human rights of the people who would be forcibly displaced and impoverished by the project.

The project will destroy over 14,660 acres of fertile agricultural land that produce three food crops annually, threatening to increase hunger in a country in which nearly half of all people currently live below the nutrition poverty line. The project threatens to destroy the homes, lands, and water sources of as many as 220,000 people, and forcibly evict an estimated 130,000 people. The mine would violate the rights of indigenous people living in the area.

The Phulbari coal project has been on hold since 2006 due to intense local and national opposition. Three people were killed and many more injured when paramilitary officers opened fire on a protest against the mine in August 2006.The project has generated grave concern at national and international levels including the United Nations and the UK government’s National Contact Point.

The UK government’s investigation will evaluate whether GCM Resources has breached obligations to ensure meaningful and adequate consultation about the project, or to carry out appropriate due diligence to ensure that its project does not violate people’s human rights.

demo

The company has admitted that most of the people living in the area affected by the mine “will become landless”. Yet the company wants to move forward with its plans of forced – displacement and destruction in north – west of Bangladesh. Yesterday, the company has reassured the shareholder that it has plans to persuade the future government of Bangladesh to approve the destructive project soon after the election. Gary Lye, the company’s unwanted CEO, who had to leave Phulbari amidst protests by villagers earlier this year, told the shareholders that he is keeping contacts with government of Bangladesh through his confidential sources.

But the protesters told this correspondent that GCM will never go Demo2back to Bangladesh. This company had to leave Phulbari on people’s verdict in 2006.

Yesterday’s protest was held by members of the UK Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Port and Power in Bangladesh, the Phulbari Solidarity Group, the World Development Movement and the London Mining Network and other Bangladeshi activist groups.

See further details at:


London protest held at GCM Resources AGM over Open Pit Mining in  Phulbari


Protests at GCM Resources AGM over Bangladesh coal mine


Chairman of GCM Resources offered Jobseeker’s Allowance claim form by concerned shareholder

Protests prevent British mining company GCM visiting mine site in Bangladesh – director resigns

Article reproduced from the World Development Movement website:

Protests prevent British mining company GCM visiting mine site in Bangladesh – director resigns

By Miriam Ross, 4 February 2013

DSC07961Massive protests against British mining company GCM Resources prevented the company’s CEO visiting the site of its proposed open-pit coal mine in Bangladesh last week. One of the company’s directors resigned the following day.

CEO Gary Lye was due to visit Phulbari on 29 January, where GCM wants to open a mine that would displace up to 220,000 people. Mr Lye had planned to distribute blankets to people living in the area, according to the local press. Thousands of people joined protests against the mine, and Lye abandoned his visit on official advice.

One of GCM’s directors, Graham Taggart, resigned on Wednesday. The company’s largest shareholder, Polo Resources, has announced that it is considering selling its 29.77 per cent stake in the company.

A Bangladeshi parliamentary committee has also spoken out against GCM, claiming that that the company does not have a valid agreement with the Bangladeshi government to proceed with the mine.

The British mining company has faced sustained opposition to its planned mine. Three people were killed and around 200 injured when paramilitary officers opened fire on protestors in 2006.
The mine in the northwest of Bangladesh is projected to extract 572 million tons of coal over at least 36 years. Eighty per cent of the coal would be exported. As well as displacing up to 220,000 people, it threatens to destroy a major food-producing agricultural region, and pollute of the world’s largest remaining mangrove forest, the Sundarban Reserve Forest, a UNESCO-protected World Heritage site.

GCM’s London AGM ended in chaos in December when a protestor dressed as Santa Claus presented chairman Gerard Holden with a Christmas stocking full of coal.

World Development Movement campaigner Christine Haigh said today:

The Phulbari mine would devastate hundreds of thousands of lives, destroying valuable agricultural land and causing irreparable environmental damage. It’s high time GCM listened to the massive sustained opposition in Bangladesh and abandoned the project.

Further Links:

London Mining Network (06/02/2013): Protests prevent British mining company GCM visiting mine site in Bangladesh – director resigns

World Development Movement (04/02/2013): Protests prevent British mining company GCM visiting mine site in Bangladesh – director resigns

Coal Guru (05/02/2013):  Future of the Phulbari coal project of GCM in Bangladesh in doubt

The Manufacturer (04/02/2013): Mining CEO resigns after Bangladeshi protests

The Daily Star (30/01/2013): Top Asia Energy official’s visit sparks protest in Dinajpur

The Daily Telegraph (30/01/2013): Tough at the Polo coalface (scroll down)

News: Bangladesh’s climate refugees: ‘it’s a question of life’ – audio slideshow

Disappearing world … a project for climate refugees near Cox’s Bazar, as people have been forced from islands such as Kutubdia in the Bay of Bengal. Photograph: Salman Saeed. The Guardian Online – Sea change: the Bay of Bengal’s vanishing islands.

The Guardian Online has recently published an interesting audio slideshow detailing the impact of climate change on refugees and Bangladesh.  The article is entitled, `Bangladesh’s climate refugees: ‘it’s a question of life’ – audio slideshow’ and the introduction to the article states:

Many Bangladeshis have relocated from the vanishing island of Kutubdia in the Bay of Bengal to Cox’s Bazaar. But they are being asked to move once again as sea levels rise and people’s livelihoods are put at risk by climate change. John Vidal interviews Kutubdia island administrator Firoza Ahmed, who defends the government’s attempts to protect people but recognises that food production is being hampered, and Aminul Hashim, who has been displaced and says: ‘I have lost all of my land, my house. It’s very hard here’

The full link to the audio slideshow is here:  www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/interactive/2013/jan/29/bangladesh-climate-refugees-audio-slideshow

The Guardian Online has published a number of related articles which are detailed below:

The Guardian Online – Bangladesh’s climate refugees: ‘it’s a question of life’ – audio slideshow

The Guardian Online – Sea change: the Bay of Bengal’s vanishing islands

The Guardian Online – Bangladesh: after the floods comes the hunger – in pictures

The Guardian Online – Bangladesh’s once welcome floods are now harbingers of disaster

The Guardian Online – Bangladesh farmers caught in vicious cycle of flood and debt

The Guardian Online – The threat posed by climate change in Bangladesh – in pictures

The Guardian Online – ‘We have seen the enemy': Bangladesh’s war against climate change

 

Santa evicted after dumping coal at GCM’s boss’s desk – Updated Videos from GCM demo in December 2012

A surprised Father Christmas was thrown out of a multinational corporation’s AGM in London today after presenting the Chairman with a stocking full of coal.

Santa Claus was frogmarched out by irate security at the prestigious meeting of GCM Resources, a controversial multinational corporation whose coal mine plans suffered angry condemnation by UN Special Rapporteurs this February. UN experts warned of “irreversible damage” to ecosystems and 50,000 evictions of indigenous people at the coal mine site in Phulbari, Bangladesh.

St Nicholas, dressed in red and white, entered the elite Insitute of Directors in Pall Mall and dumped a Christmas stocking stuffed with coal on the desk Gerard Holden, GCM’s Chairman, in front of shareholders. Father Christmas said “Ho, ho, ho, you’ve been naughty this year. You threatened to evict 130,000 people so you could profit from polluting the climate. Your stocking’s full of coal; next year maybe you should be a good little boy!”

Livid security pulled Santa from the stage and threw him out of the Insitute of Directors. Santa was last seen looking flustered with his beard at an angle, running haphazardly away from the AGM to a bicycle to make his getaway. It is not known whether Father Christmas will recover in time for the yearly gift-giving on Christmas Eve.

For more information on how to save Phulbari, seehttp://londonminingnetwork.org/

See Video:

See also:

Bangladesh mine activists dump coal outside GCM meeting in London

News – Polo Resources Limited: Update on GCM Holding

Source: Business Wire

Polo Resources Limited: Update on GCM Holding

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Polo Resources Limited (AIM and TSX: POL) (“Polo” or the “Company”), announces that it has held discussions with interested parties over the last year regarding the sale of its 29.77 per cent stake in GCM Resources plc (“GCM”). Discussions are ongoing and at a very early stage and there can be no certainty that an offer for some or all of its interest will be forthcoming.

As at today’s date, Polo holds 15,220,985 ordinary shares in GCM, representing approximately 29.77 per cent of the issued ordinary share capital of GCM.

About the Company
Polo Resources is a natural resources investment company focused on investing in undervalued companies and projects with strong fundamentals and attractive growth prospects. For further details on Polo Resources please see our website: www.poloresources.com.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT

The AIM Market of London Stock Exchange plc does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. No stock exchange, securities commission or other regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information contained herein. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, in this news release are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, statements regarding potential values, the future plans and objectives of Polo Resources Limited. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, achievable or recognizable in the near term.

Actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. These and all subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management on the dates they are made and are expressly qualified in their entirety by this notice. Polo Resources Limited assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements should circumstances or management’s estimates or opinions change.

Source: Reuters

BRIEF-Polo Resources says held talks about sale of GCM stake

Jan 22 (Reuters) – Polo Resources Ltd : * Has held discussions with interested parties regarding the sale of its 29.77

per cent stake in GCM Resources Plc * Talks are ongoing and at a very early stage and can be no certainty that an

offer will be forthcoming.

 

Deal with Asia Energy on Phulbari coalmine invalid

Reproduced from the London Mining Network news story:

London-listed GCM Resources’ subsidiary Asia Energy has been accused by a Bangladesh parliamentary committee of having no valid deal since 2006 with the government for any exploration or mining in Phulbari.

The parliamentary standing committee on power, energy and mineral resources ministry has recommended that the Government’s Energy and Mineral Resources Division take action against GCM Resources Plc, the mother company of the AEC, for doing business on the London Stock Exchange showing the Phulbari coalfield project as its own resources.

See http://www.daily-sun.com/index.php?view=details&archiev=yes&arch_date=21-01-2013&type=Deal-with-Asia-Energy-on-Phulbari-coalmine-invalid&pub_no=386&cat_id=1&menu_id=2&news_type_id=1&index=2.

The original article from the Daily Sun:

Asia Energy Corporation (Bangladesh) Pty Ltd has no valid deal since 2006 with the government for any exploration or mining in Phulbari coalmine in Dinajpur.

The parliamentary standing committee on power, energy and mineral resources ministry has recommended that Energy and Mineral Resources Division take action against GCM Resources, Plc, the mother company of the AEC, for doing business on London stock market showing Phulbari coalfield project as its own resources.

Asia Energy got an exploration licence, but it expired on January 27, 2006 as the then government allowed the British company to conduct only feasibility study for two years from January 28, 2004.

In March 2004, Asia Energy also received approval from then state minister for power and energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain to get an exploration licence for ten years.

Later, the Prime Minister’s Office asked the energy and mineral resources division to take action against those who granted exploration licence to Asia Energy for 10 years. But the investigation findings have not yet come to light.

EMRD is now investigating why the then government asked for depositing only two percent royalty for Phulbari coal project, although it fixed six percent royalty for the project.

While visiting the GCM, Plc website, this correspondent found that Asia Energy got exploration licence for 30 years and it is now doing business with the coalfield project.

According to the mines and minerals act of Bangladesh, any company is allowed for open-pit mining for ten years while for underground mining for 20 years subject to approval from the prime minister.

Late last year, the parliamentary watchdog recommended taking action against the GCM for continuing their business on London Stock Exchange showing Phulbari Coalfield project.

“We have recommended that EMRD take action against the GCM as it has claimed that Phulbari Coalfield project is its own resources,” Subid Ali Bhuiyan, chairman of the standing committee on power, energy and mineral resources ministry, told daily sun on Sunday.

He said the committee members at a meeting on January 6, 2013 expressed satisfaction after the GCM had removed its claims on Phulbari coal project from its website. “We have advised the EMRD to be alert as no one can illegally claim the country’s mineral resources as its own,” he said.

Prof Anu Muhammad said the government should claim compensation from GCM Plc. “The government will have to force the company out of the country by March 29. If it fails, the national committee will stage huge demonstrations at Phulbari on March 30.”

In reply to a query about recent controversy over the activities of Asia Energy at Phulbari coalmine, Prime Minister’s Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said the company had received a licence only to conduct a survey.

He said Asia Energy is yet to get a coal-mining licence for Phulbari. The government would not sign any mining deal without determining underground water in the country’s northern region, he added.

In an official letter on October 14 last year, the home ministry informed the local administration that the company (Asia Energy) is keen to carry out survey in Nawabganj, Parbatipur, Birampur and Phulbari areas for possible coalmine developments.

The officials concerned were disappointed at the decision as energy division is the legal authority to allow any company to do such work.

Asia Energy Corporation (Bangladesh), a subsidiary of GCM plc, had earlier proposed implementing Phulbari coal project with an estimated investment of $2 billion.

 

Fascinating Story of Resistance: RDC personnel imprisoned by villagers in Phulbari

Resistance to open pit mine, forced-displacement and environmental disaster is strengthening everyday in Phulbari.  Yesterday, our colleagues from Phulbari reported an exciting development.  Shahriar Sunny, a forefront activist of National Committee in Phulbari, states that villagers opposing the proposed Phulbari Coal Project imprisoned two personnel of Research and Development Centre (RDC) believing that they are agents and spies of Asia Energy.

Tow imprisoned RDC members in Phulbari 10 Jan 2013. Photo Credit: Anonymous.

Tow imprisoned RDC members in Phulbari 10 Jan 2013. Photo Credit: Ashraf Ali.

In a written message to Phulbari_Action Group, a virtual forum to share information about resistance to the proposed Phulbari Coal Project in Bangladesh, Sunny states,

‘Some intruders from RDC entered in the village of Poragram (Birampur Upazila) on  January 10 2013 . They entered on a disguise of voter ID corrector. Almost always they only enlist woman on their category. Villagers captured 2 of them. After capturing the villagers imprisoned them for 5 hours. We rescued them from enraged villagers, and handed over
them to police intact’.

When contacted, the co-ordinator of Phulbari Solidarity Group , Rumana Hashem, says, ‘ this incident symbolises the power of the resistance and the passion of people to halt the long-disputed Phulbari Coal Project’ .

She said, ‘GCM and their lobbyists are yet to recognise the power of community resistance to the proposed open-pit mine in Phulbari. But they will soon’, she added.

Angry villagers burn Dan Mowzena's effigy during general strike in Phulbari on 24 Nov 2012 . Photo credit: Mizanur Rahman

Angry villagers burn Dan Mowzena’s effigy during general strike in Phulbari on 24 Nov 2012 . Photo credit: Mizanur Rahman

Asia Energy is known to be the Bangladesh subsidiary of Global Coal Resources PLC, who proposed to build a destructive and immense open pit mine in the North-west of Bangladesh. The project would forcibly evict an estimated 130, 000 people immediately and would pollute water resources and agricultural land by which an estimated 220, 000 people would be gradually removed from the region. The Home Ministry in Bangladesh issued a circular on 14 Oct 2012 instructing the RDC and local officials in Phulbari to cooperate with GCM in carrying out surveys in the area.   Leaders and activists of National Committee in Bangladesh also complained that the Home Ministry has issued two letters one of which has been kept confidential.

Shahriar Sunny from Phulbari said, ‘Senior deputy secretary Md. Faruk Uj Zaman issued the two letters as confidential. On a letter they ordered police super of Dinajrur district and Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Phulbari, Parbotipur, Birampur and Nababganj to help and facilitate all activities of RDC ‘.  The situation in Phulbari is volatile since.

Earlier on this month, villagers and indigenous communities led by National Committee of Bangladesh and Peshajibi Sangathan (Association of the Phulbari Entrepreneurs) gave an ultimatum to remove Asia Energy’s local offices by March 30, 2013. Leaders of the above organisations asked the London-based and AIM-listed mining company, GCM Resources Plc to withdraw their two offices from Phulbari by 30th of March.

Angry villagers burnt Dan Mowzena's effigy during general strike in Phulbari on 24 Nov 2012 . Photo credit: Mizanur Rahman

Angry villagers burnt Dan Mowzena’s effigy during general strike in Phulbari on 24 Nov 2012 . Photo credit: Mizanur Rahman

They warned that if the company fails to heed to the demand of people by March 30, all offices of GCM and Asia Energy will be removed without doubt by villagers and farmers in Phulbari. The community declared that failure of the government to remove Asia Energy from Phulbari would imply that the villagers take up the lead to remove Asia Energy’s offices on behalf of GOB.