Totalmining at this link has a new e-book that you can download on the 9 Most Controversial Mining Companies. Here is the list:
- Alpha Natural Resources
- Newmont Mining Company
- Glencore International
- BHP Billiton
- Rio Tinto
- Campania de Minas Buenaventura
- Barrick Gold
- Anglo American
- Vendanta Resources
The company’s activities continue to be targeted for safety, environmental impact, human rights and tax issues. Glencore’s mining activities in Katanga, a poorly regulated conflict zone of the Democratic Republic of Congo, have made it a target for human rights organizations. There are suspicions that the company supplies copper and cobalt from freelance miners, many of whom are children, who work under life-threatening conditions in the Tilwezembe Open Pit Mine. The mine is owned by Katanga Mining, a Glencore subsidiary.
Sulfur dioxide emissions from the Nkana cobalt plant and Mufulira copper smelter, owned by Mopani Copper Mines (MCM), reportedly exceed locally prescribed limits in Zambia. MCM is majority-owned by Glencore. Around 300,000 locals are reportedly being affected, suffering health problems and a loss of crops. Large amounts of sulfuric acid are allegedly injected into the ground to extract the ore, with devastating effects on the environment and residents.
In Peru, Glencore’s Empresa Minera Los Quenuales has allegedly harassed union members, and two people were reportedly killed during a blockade. At its La Jagua coal mine in northern Colombia, the company was also accused of trying to prevent unions from being formed.
Glencore’s Colombian subsidiary, Prodeco, has also been criticized for allegedly operating in areas where paramilitary forces have forced local residents off their lands and killed at least 18 people. Furthermore, the company came under fire for reportedly disposing of waste illegally
Xstrata (in which Glencore holds a large share) has a one-third stake in El Cerrejon, which operates a controversial coal mine in Colombia. The mine has reportedly contaminated groundwater and created air pollution, which has led to health problems for the local people. The two companies have also been accused of anti-competitive behaviour as Xstrata has allegedly received several contracts from Glencore that were not subject to competitive tenders.
Century Aluminum, which is 44 percent owned by Glencore and also acts as a major supplier, has allegedly breached a string of environmental laws in the US, including air pollution and groundwater contamination. In China, Glencore has a stake in the proposed PolyMet copper mine, which has also drawn criticism due to its potential impacts on the environment and locals’ livelihoods.
Furthermore, food security analysts have accused Glencore of causing a rise in the price of raw commodities, making it increasingly difficult for poor consumers to feed their families. The company is said to have used its dominant position within the global market to drive up prices through speculative activity and also to have sought illicit information from authorities in Russia and Belgium to gain a competitive advantage in local markets.
Tahoe Resources Inc. (TSX: THO, NYSE: TAHO) announced today that construction activities on the power line for the Escobal project and at the project site were disrupted by a mob intent on forcing the Company to cease construction. The 5.2 km power line and the mine facility construction project are fully permitted and are in compliance with all legal requirements.
The protestors are not from the local area. Authorities identified them as individuals transported into the area from outside regions, organized and funded by local and international NGOs. Protestors purportedly object to construction of the power line for a variety of reasons, ranging from baseless claims of negative health effects of electricity to unfounded fears of contamination caused by mining.
On September 17, 2012 a Guatemala contractor commenced activities to install power poles along the national highway easement, but by the afternoon all work was stopped when an estimated 300 people threatened the work crew with violence. Police, human rights officials and a judge were requested to intercede. Upon reviewing the situation the judge appeared on the scene and declared the activities of the protestors to be unlawful. Work crew members, the judge and others at the site were illegally held against their will and were subjected to verbal abuse and pelted with rocks. When local Company management requested help in protecting their right to engage in legal and fully permitted construction activities, over 100 national police arrived to the area that evening.
On the morning of September 18, armed protestors reorganized at the mine gate where they were stopped by security and police. Late in the day, they broke through the gate and were met by non-lethal resistance. The protestors fired guns at the police and vandalized employee vehicles, the cement batch plant and a temporary core shed. Escobal security returned fire using rubber bullets, as did police using standard ammunition. Unfortunately, an armed protestor and two policemen sustained non life-threatening injuries.
National government officials reacted promptly to requests from the local mayor, governors and company officials to intervene appropriately, limiting the numbers of injuries to those involved. There was no damage done to any of the permanent mine facilities.
Strong Local Support
Escobal project employs over 500 local employees and over 800 Guatemalan construction workers at the construction site. On September 18,Lionel Morales,the mayor of San Rafael Las Flores communicated to the federal government that the protestors are not from the local communities and that they were not welcome. On July 28, 2012, municipal councils around the San Rafael Las Flores community made clear their support for the project by holding a press conference to denounce the activities of “outsider” groups. A small group of local opponents has refused to engage in meaningful discussions on the project’s effects in the communities, and has resorted to soliciting outsiders who have used violent tactics on several occasions to intimidate employees, contractors and local supporters of the project.
The Company fully supports the Guatemalan president’s mandate for strengthening the rule of law and strongly condemns any violent or unlawful actions directed against its law-abiding employees and workers. The Company will seek prosecution of those individuals that have engaged in violence, illegal activities and violations of the human rights of its employees and contractors. The Company has employed every means at its disposal to continue construction activities while avoiding violence against a group that has repeatedly violated the law. Site operations have resumed, and this incident is not expected to impact the completion schedule for the Escobal project. Power line construction will re-commence shortly. When completed, the power line will provide up to 20 MW of electrical capacity to the Escobal Project.
About Tahoe Resources Inc.
Tahoe’s strategy is to develop the Escobal Project into a profitable mining operation and to position itself as a leading silver producer with high quality, low cost assets in the Americas. Tahoe is a member of the S&P/TSX Composite and TSX Global Mining indices. Tahoe’s shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol THO and on the NYSE under TAHO.
The interesting question is how this controversy affects share price. I leave you to do the research.