British mining giant Anglo-American will face protests at its London AGM on Friday over controversial mining projects in Colombia and South Africa, and the climate impact of its coal extraction.
Protest: Anglo-American AGM, Friday 19 April at 1pm, Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London SW1P 3EE
Protestors in miners’ helmets and overalls will hold placards reading ‘Anglo American: Destroying lives, Destroying the climate’.
Representatives of communities devastated by Anglo-American mines will attend the AGM to demand justice. Julio Gomez will travel from Colombia to condemn the Cerrejón open pit coal mine, in which Anglo American has a one-third share. Development of the mine has led to the eviction of indigenous and Afro-Colombian people from their ancestral territories, and the destruction of vast areas of productive land.
Following local and international outcry, the Cerrejón coal company recently shelved an expansion project which would have meant diverting the region’s only major river. All of the coal mined at Cerrejón is exported, so does not increase energy access in Colombia.
Peter Bailey from South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers will attend the AGM to demand compensation and health care for the thousands of miners suffering from the lung disease silicosis after working in Anglo-American’s mines. The company was the largest gold miner in South Africa throughout the twentieth century, making millions from apartheid gold.
In March Anglo-American signed a £3.27 billion ($5 billion) loan with a group of 28 banks, including the five biggest UK banks Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, RBS and Standard Chartered. The World Development Movement has slammed the loan, calling for regulation to prevent the UK finance sector pouring billions of pounds into destructive fossil fuel and mining projects.
Alex Scrivener, campaigner at the World Development Movement, said today:
Anglo-American is responsible for the destruction of countless communities wherever it operates. South African miners have forfeited their health, and Colombian indigenous and Afro-Colombian people have lost their land and livelihoods for a coal mine that is also a major contributor to climate change. Much of the finance behind these dirty, destructive projects comes directly from our high street banks, and we have to start holding these banks to account for the devastation. As a first step, the government must force the banks to come clean about the carbon emissions from projects like the Cerrejón coal mine.
Julio Gomez is President of FECODEMIGUA, the Federation of Communities Displaced by Mining in La Guajira
The Cerrejón coal company in Colombia is jointly owned by London-listed multinationals Anglo-American, BHP Billiton and Xstrata. Read our briefing on the mine and its financing.
Anglo-American currently faces three different legal cases in the UK and South Africa brought by miners suffering from silicosis.