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

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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.

 

“De-list Vedanta!” protest at FSA headquarters

From the Foil Vedanta website:

In London today activists from Foil Vedanta and other grassroots groups held a silent symbolic demonstration outside the Financial Services Authority headquarters in Canary Wharf, calling for the new Financial Conduct Authority to de-list Vedanta from the London Stock Exchange for poor corporate governance and human rights crimes in Niyamgiri and elsewhere. They handed over documentation and arranged to meet FCA officials in future.

Simultaneously the Indian Supreme Court held another hearing on Vedanta’s planned mega-mine which threatens the Dongria Kond tribe who live in the Niyamgiri hills. If permission to mine is denied Vedanta is likely to close its Lanjigarh refinery due to lack of bauxite costing them billions.

See the video of today’s demonstration at the FCA, and also the new video of our previous demonstration at Vedanta Headquarters.

Protesters in London today added their voice to recent pressure for Vedanta to be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange for its poor corporate governance, illegal operations and major human rights violations.(1) Most recently MP John McDonnell raised a debate in the House of Commons calling for the Financial Conduct Authority to use its powers to investigate and de-list companies guilty of major human rights violations such as Vedanta(2). Other parliamentarians, financiers and the former CBI Director Richard Lambert have also highlighted how Vedanta’s listing is used for legal immunity to hide their corporate crimes.(3)

Chris Hamilton (FSA) receives documentation from Foil Vedanta members

The protesters met with a representative of the FSA (FCA) to deliver key documentation about Vedanta’s chequered ethical record and request a formal investigation into the company. The documents included the Norwegian Ethics Council’s damning report on Vedanta which led them to pull out their substantial shares, and a report by the London Mining Network calling for stricter regulation of nominally London listed mining companies like Vedanta. Lord Adair Turner (head of the Financial Services Authority also graced the demonstration with his presence on his way into the building. They also drew attention to Vedanta’s violations of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the proposed Niyamgiri mine(4).

The demonstration was almost called off as Security Managers from Canary Wharf Estates claimed that protest was not allowed anywhere on the entire property. Canary Wharf (the central banking district of London) is owned by a private consortium of banks and investors. This means members of the public are technically trespassing if they walk through the area, and any protest can be challenged as ‘aggravated trespass’. Foil Vedanta’s Miriam Rose stated at the demonstration:

It is outrageous that a public body like the FSA who are supposed to work for the British people, are hiding behind the private property of private corporations and banks where they cannot be held to account by protest.”

Lord Adair Turner – FSA head – checks out the demo

At the last hearing of the Niyamgiri case on 11th January lawyers for Vedanta dwelled on the ongoing demonstrations in London, asking why people are protesting there, and claiming that India is suffering because of this. Judges noted that this is not relevant to the case and pointed out that people have a right to protest. Foil Vedanta’s spokesperson reacted:

Vedanta is a London listed company and profits from this affiliation. It is typical of Vedanta to assume they are above the law and above public accountability. We will continue to draw attention to their corporate crimes here in London”.

The project has been racked with controversy from the start, as a spate of recent coverage points out: The Lanjigarh refinery built to process the bauxite from the hills was illegally constructed, the court case presided over by a judge with shares in the company, and the refinery should never have been given permission without including the associated mega mine in impact assessments1.

Cover of Open Magazine on Vedanta’s collusion with Indian government

A cover story in major Indian glossy Open Magazine in December details evidence of corruption and collusion between Vedanta and the Odisha state government, local officials, judges and the police to force the project through2. Meanwhile Vedanta’s chairman and 56.7% owner Anil Agarwal has launched a rare PR crusade claiming that Vedanta ‘have not cut one tree’ and respects and preserves the rights of the protesting indigenous tribe living on the threatened mountain. He sets out his extractive philosophy for India – suggesting that exploration should be drastically increased and regulation decreased to provide for the domestic market for metals and oil. 34

If Vedanta lose the Supreme Court case to allow state owned company Orissa Mining Corporation to mine the mountain on their behalf they may have to close the dependent Lanjigarh refinery costing them billions. Under enormous pressure from Vedanta the Odisha government has suggested alternative bauxite supplies from a deposit located in a major wildlife sanctuary and tribal area at Karlapat arousing anger and opposition from grassroots groups.(5)

The final court decision rests on whether the Green Bench of India’s Supreme Court rules the rights of forest dwellers to be ‘inalienable or compensatory’5. In view of this India’s Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo has asked the Environment Minister to ensure the rights of forest dwellers is protected in the spirit of the Forest Dwellers act.6 (7)

Speaking about the verdict Dongria Kond activist Lado Sikaka states:

“We will continue our fight even if Vedanta gets permission. Are these Judges above the Law? In effect, they act as if they are. Niyamgiri belongs to us. We are fighting because We are part of it. Our women are harassed and we are called by the police and threatened not to go to rallies. Last month they have been working like Vedanta’s servants.7

Foil Vedanta’s Samarendra Das says:

Vedanta is not the only mining company that should be de-listed for their corporate crimes. Infamous London listed offenders Lonmin in South Africa, Monterrico in Peru, GCM in Phulbari and Bumi in Indonesia should also be investigated for extensive human rights atrocities.”

 

 

 

Ends.

Coverage:

See the video of today’s protest here.

The Hindu ‘Activists hold protest against Vedanta in London’

Demotix  ‘Activists call for FCA to delist Vedanta PLC’

Times of India ‘Green, tribal ministries’ stand on Vedanta case in SC to determine other projects’ fate’

 The India Links, ‘Activists hold protest against Vedanta in London’

The demonstration was also covered on Orissa TV and MBCTV in India.

 

A New Report by Human Rights Watch on Mining in Eritrea

Hear No Evil: Forced Labor and Corporate Responsibility in Eritrea’s Mining Sector
By Human Rights Watch.

The 29-page report describes how mining companies working in Eritrea risk involvement with the government’s widespread exploitation of forced labor. It also documents how Nevsun – the first company to develop an operational mine in Eritrea – initially failed to take those risks seriously, and then struggled to address allegations of abuse connected to its operations.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Human Rights Watch press release:  Eritrea: Mining Investors Risk Use of Forced Labor

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.

Noise-demo and Drumming at Vedanta’s HQ: Phulbari activists declared solidarity with Niyamgiri peoples

2013-01-12 15.02.16Vedanta headquarters were blocked by protesters demanding that the company is de-listed from the London Stock Exchange. They expressed solidarity with indigenous farmers in the Niyamgiri hills who are fighting the infamous global diversified metal and mining company, called Vedanta.

A loud group of protesters from Foil Vedanta and other grassroots groups blocked the entrance of the company’s Mayfair headquarters, holding a banner reading ‘FCA: de-list Vedanta’.

Friday was the day when people in Niyamgiri were expecting to hear the final verdict on Vedanta’s planned mega-mine in Odisha. But the Supreme Court in India has deferred its final verdict until 21st January. If permission to mine is denied, Vedanta is likely to close its Lanjigarh refinery due to lack of bauxite costing them billions.

foilvedantademolondonj11

2013-01-12 14.38.26

Rumana Hashem plays Indian samba at the noise demo at Vedanta’s High Quarter in London.

Protesters from a number of environmental and human rights organisations and grassroots groups including Foil Vedanta, Phulbari Solidarity Group, Tamil Solidarity, Action Village India, Japan Against Nuclear, London Mining Network,  National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources and Power-Port in Bangladesh, Climate Justice Collective, World Development Movement, and Survival International have gathered at Vedanta’s London headquarters from 1pm sharp and shouted against Vedanta’s crimes for two hours. The demonstrators called for the Financial Conduct Authority to remove Vedanta from the London Stock Exchange for its poor corporate governance, unethical operations and human rights violations.

A colourful and loud group of protesters chanted slogan ‘Shameless Vedanta – out of London’, ‘Anil Agarwal – blood on your hands’. Some angry protesters blew horns and whistles, whilst others played drums and made terrible noise with various pots outside Vedanta HQ which was loud enough to disrupt Vedanta’s work environment.

Vedanta’s infamous activities have been criticised by many in London. Several parliamentarians and the former CBI Director Richard Lambert have highlighted how Vedanta’s listing is used for legal immunity to hide their corporate crimes.

If Vedanta loses the case to allow state owned company Odisha Mining Corporation to mine the mountain on their behalf they may have to close the dependent Lanjigarh refinery costing them billions.

amritLondonjan112013Speaking about the verdict of Supreme Court, Lado Sikaka of Dongria Kond states:

‘We will continue our fight even if permission to mine Niyamgiri is granted to Vedanta. Are these Judges above the Law? They act as if they are though Niyamgiri belongs to us. We are fighting because we are part of it’.

She adds, ‘Our women are harassed and we are called by the police and threatened not to go to rallies. They have been working like Vedanta’s servants for the last several months.’

In the noise-demo at Vedanta HQ, Samarendra Das of Foil Vedanta says:

‘Vedanta is not the only mining company that should be de-listed for their corporate crimes. Infamous London listed offenders Lonmin in South Africa, Monterrico in Peru, GCM in Phulbari and Bumi in Indonesia should also be investigated for extensive human rights atrocities.’Jan11London

Rumana Hashem of Phulbari Solidarity Group and National Committee of Bangladesh says, ‘We, the people from Bangladesh National Committee and Phulbari Solidarity Group, extend full solidarity with the people in Niyamgiri and with all of you who are protesting against Vedanta and Anil Agarwal’s unethical activities abroad. We believe that the Supreme Court verdict will reflect Niyamgiri peoples’ verdict’.

‘It is a juncture when we should put hands together and connect our struggles’, she added.

At the Supreme Court in Delhi, lawyers for Vedanta dwelled on the ongoing demonstrations in London. They questioned the reasons for why people are protesting in London, claiming that India is troubled by London demo. However, Judges noted that this discussion is not relevant to the case and pointed out that people have a right to protest in a democratic country.

For further details and more reports on demo see below:

Foil Vedanta report

Demotix ‘Mayfair protest outside Vedanta Plc’s London offices’

Indymedia ‘Vedanta protest in London today – report and pics