[WSMDiscuss] Mining conflicts multiply, as critics of ‘extractivism’ gather in Johannesburg

Albertina Almeida albertina.almeida at gmail.com
Sun Nov 11 04:10:24 CET 2018

Hello Patrick,

I was wondering if in this WSF event beginning 12th, you can organise a
solidarity protest against the murderous attempt on the life of Agnes
Kharshiing, anti-mining activist in North East India, and on her colleague
Amita Sangma and their driver E Kurba, after Agenes had a lodged a
complaint on the illegal mining and transportation of coal at Jaintia
Hills, Meghalaya


On Sun, Nov 11, 2018 at 1:05 AM Patrick Bond <pbond at mail.ngo.za> wrote:

> (If you're near Joburg, this tribunal against TNCs underway now -
> including tomorrow - is excellent. And be sure to come for the opening
> plenary on Monday which will turn into a protest against AngloGold Ashanti
> next door, in the mining precinct of Newtown.)
> https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/mining-conflicts-multiply-as-critics-of-extractivism-gather-in-johannesburg/
> *Mining conflicts multiply, as critics of ‘extractivism’ gather in
> Johannesburg *
> By Patrick Bond
> The World Social Forum’s ‘Thematic Forum on Mining and Extractivism
> <https://www.thematicsocialforum.org/>’ convenes from November 12-15 here
> in Johannesburg, just after the Southern Africa People’s Tribunal on
> Transnational Corporations
> <http://aidc.org.za/3rd-session-peoples-permanent-tribunal/>. In between,
> at the notorious 2012 massacre site on the platinum belt to the west,
> there’s a launch of a new book – *Business as Usual after Marikana
> <http://www.jacana.co.za/book-categories/new-releases-65840/business-as-usual-after-marikana-detail>
> *– critical not only of the mining house Lonmin but of its international
> financiers and buyers.
> This is the moment for a profoundly critical standpoint to take root,
> unhindered by ineffectual reformism associated with Corporate Social
> Responsibility
> <https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781317906599/chapters/10.4324%2F9781315848341-18>
> gimmicks and the mining sector’s civilised-society watchdogging at the mainly
> uncritical
> <https://www.pambazuka.org/global-south/we-need-real-%E2%80%9Calternatives-mining%E2%80%9D-indaba>
> Alternative Mining Indaba. That NGO-dominated event occurs annually in Cape
> Town every February, at the same time and place where the extractive
> mega-corporations gather.
> The Thematic Forum firmly opposes <https://www.thematicsocialforum.org/>
> ‘extractivism.’ Unlike the Indaba
> <https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/13/disconnecting-the-minerals-energy-climate-dots/>,
> it aims to connect the dots between oppressions, defining its target as
> extraction of “so-called natural resources” in a way that is “devastating
> and degrading,” since mining exacerbates “conditions of global warming and
> climate injustice. It subjects local economies to a logic of accumulation
> that privately benefits corporations,” and represses “traditional,
> indigenous and peasant communities by violations of human rights, affecting
> in particular the lives of women and children.”
> The last point is not incidental, as two of the main organisers are the Southern
> Africa Rural Women's Assembly
> <https://www.facebook.com/SARuralWomen/?fref=mentions&__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARD2VrKCXK7yqD6rKMom_LW-6VGnCS9Imhl70G2O_nUmjBvNx6LR_TsMqsq8kkxd_sGdBOX-kXp0H6kcjoQMvp1ZhvT3CmkqXD_ohBwVANwOrcoEdqRRWRBJzU-ZU9Ycc2uKiNZykrD8yrsRV_i4qc7pcMUSw8e940KT8T054yK95L_jUsPTYi5ajei5E7KdGXaR9TKsoS7a-eCIRN0NpSs-Mwc&__tn__=K-R>
> and the WoMin <https://womin.org.za/> network: “African Women Unite
> Against Destructive Resource Extraction.” Inspired by Amadiba Crisis
> Committee activists in the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast, they’ve campaigned
> hard for the *#Right2SayNo
> <https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/right2sayno?source=feed_text&__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARD2VrKCXK7yqD6rKMom_LW-6VGnCS9Imhl70G2O_nUmjBvNx6LR_TsMqsq8kkxd_sGdBOX-kXp0H6kcjoQMvp1ZhvT3CmkqXD_ohBwVANwOrcoEdqRRWRBJzU-ZU9Ycc2uKiNZykrD8yrsRV_i4qc7pcMUSw8e940KT8T054yK95L_jUsPTYi5ajei5E7KdGXaR9TKsoS7a-eCIRN0NpSs-Mwc&__tn__=%2ANK-R>*.
> Last month, such rights language proved invaluable in the Constitutional
> Court here in Johannesburg, when the Itireleng community won
> <https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-11-01-maledu-judgment-victory-for-the-constitution-over-mining-evictions/>
> a judgement <http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/2018/41.html> against
> displacement from their farm, under attack by a local platinum mining
> house. (This was pleasantly surprising to many of us who are Court critics,
> given how much corporate power
> <https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Corporate+rights+in+South+Africa.-a019528162>
> is hardwired into South Africa’s founding document.)
> On the Wild Coast last month, South Africa’s Mining Minister Gwede
> Mantashe
> <https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-09-27-from-xolobeni-to-the-mining-charter-community-members-marginalised/>
> had shown how desperately he wants investment by the likes of aggressive
> Australian titanium mining firm MRC
> <https://www.moneyweb.co.za/mineweb/mining-companies-investment/awkward-questions-get-short-shrift-at-mrc-annual-general-meeting/>.
> But the Amadiba Crisis Committee
> <https://www.facebook.com/amadibacrisiscommittee/> and its allies have
> consistently shown their ability to say “No!”
> *No means no*
> The Forum’s opening morning features a demonstration at the nearby world
> headquarters of AngloGold Ashanti, the locally-listed firm shamed in 2005
> by Human Rights Watch <https://www.hrw.org/report/2005/06/01/curse-gold>
> for its alliances with warlords during the minerals-related murder of
> millions of people in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. In
> 2011, AngloGold Ashanti won the title “world’s most irresponsible
> corporation” at the ‘Davos Public Eye’ ceremony
> <https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=202199>
> organised outside the World Economic Forum by Greenpeace and the Berne
> Declaration.
> Since then the firm has attracted even more intense community, labour,
> feminist and environmental protests from Chile
> <http://ejatlas.org/conflict/mina-cerro-vanguardia> to Colombia
> <https://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2018/03/27/how-a-tiny-colombian-village-beat-the-worlds-third-largest-gold-mining-company/>
> to Ghana
> <http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2017/mar/30/profiteering-mars-record-black-african-gold-mining/>
> to Guinea
> <http://www.miningweekly.com/article/anglogold-ashantis-guinea-mine-hit-by-violent-power-cuts-protests-2018-06-28>
> to Tanzania <https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9276/1/1/3/htm>, as well as at
> home in South Africa
> <https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-06-29-miners-rise-up-and-march-as-anglo-gold-ashanti-fires-salvo-to-cut-8500-jobs/>
> over mass retrenchments, inadequate pay and delay of silicosis-related
> compensation payments. It’s a sick company, with its Johannesburg Stock
> Exchange price having fallen by more than half since a mid-2016 peak (and
> even further from its 2006-12 JSE valuations).
> Criticised
> <https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/mining/2018-07-23-anglogold-ashanti-appoints-barricks-kelvin-dushnisky-as-ceo/>
> by investors who believe “AngloGold has not matched up to its global peers”
> in large part because of less profitable South African holdings, AngloGold
> Ashanti is rapidly exiting its home country. The firm
> <https://books.google.co.za/books/about/Anglo_American_and_the_rise_of_modern_So.html?id=cYhkAAAAIAAJ&redir_esc=y>
> made its fortune during the notorious 20th century era of extreme
> apartheid extractivism when it was run by the Oppenheimer family. Perhaps
> even worse is the new boss, Kelvin Dushnisky
> <https://tanzaniabusinessethics.wordpress.com/2018/09/13/kelvin-dushnisky-accountable-for-crimes-violations-human-rights-abuses-damages/>,
> who has presided over Toronto-based Barrick (the world's largest gold
> producer, known in Africa as Acacia) during its recent reign of mining
> terrorism <http://protestbarrick.net/>, including mass rape
> <http://protestbarrick.net/article.php@id=1007.html>.
> The mining corporations under fire at the Forum are not only the typical
> pinstriped, ethics-challenged cowboys from the
> London-Toronto-Melbourne-Joburg circuits. Next door in Mozambique,
> Rio-based Vale’s coal-mining operations at Moatize were disrupted last
> month, according
> <https://clubofmozambique.com/news/vale-mozambique-suspends-activities-in-moatize-after-protests-watch/>
> to activist allies at the Associação de Apoio e Assistência Jurídica às
> Comunidades, due to “excessive pollution [and] acceleration of the decay
> of  houses due to explosion of dynamites.”
> Albeit trying to “mask brutal exploitation with the language of
> South-South solidarity,” as documented
> <https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/11/vale-corporation-brazil-mining-lula-mozambique-brics>
> by Canadian researcher Judith Marshall, Vale is brutal in numerous
> jurisdictions, judged by Berne Declaration and the Brazilian Movement of
> Landless Workers as worst company in the world
> <https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2012/01/30/worst-company-in-the-world-award-goes-to/#76f601d76a0a>
> in 2012 due to “its labour relations, community impact and environmental
> record.”
> In Mozambique, Vale as well as the Indian firms Coal of India, Vedanta and
> Jindal have been criticised for displacement and destruction. Community
> protests
> <https://clubofmozambique.com/news/mzoambique-coal-and-resettlement-by-joseph-hanlon/>
> against foreign companies are prolific in coal-rich Tete Province. Further
> east, on the Mozambican coastline, beach sands in some communities have
> been destroyed by the voracious Chinese firm Haiyu.
> Complains
> <https://mg.co.za/article/2018-10-16-they-have-taken-our-beautiful-sand-from-us-and-left-nothing>
> a local resident who can no longer carry out fishing subsistence, Nassire
> Omar, “They owe us because they have taken our beautiful sand from us and
> left nothing. We don’t know the quantity of the sand that they took over
> seven years, but we know that they profited from it and we want our dues.
> They have taken all the riches here and left us with nothing.”
> But it may be that Vedanta <http://www.foilvedanta.org/> and its boss
> Anil Agarwal – who is also Anglo American Corporation’s largest single
> investor with more than 20% of shares – has witnessed the most sustained
> protest, including a mass protest in May against the Thoothukudi Sterlite
> copper plant which his officials responded to with a massacre of 13 Indians
> demanding an end to pollution.
> Protest against Africa’s largest copper mine, Konkola, centres on 1,826
> Zambian farmers
> <http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/knowledge/publications/158040/emlungowe-v-vedantaem-appeal-highlights-important-points-regarding-parent-company-liability>
> poisoned by Vedanta. Just before the London Stock Exchange delisting of
> Vedanta last month, popular reggae musician Maiko Zulu protested
> <https://www.lusakatimes.com/2018/09/28/maiko-zulu-released-after-kcm-protest/>
> (and was arrested) at the British High Commission in Lusaka, demanding that
> authorities deny Agarwal his escape from London prior to justice being
> served. Agarwal bought <http://www.foilvedanta.org/?s=Konkola> that mine
> for $25 million in 2004 and a decade later bragged
> <https://www.lusakaftimes.com/2014/05/13/video-vedanta-boss-saying-kcm-makes-500-million-profit-per-year/>
> that ever since he had taken $500 million to $1 billion home from Konkola
> *annually.*
> Maiko Zulu just before arrest at British High Commission, Lusaka, 27
> September 2018
> *After extractivism*
> These sorts of Western+BRICS modes of super-exploitation exemplify the mineral,
> oil and gas looting
> <https://www.pambazuka.org/economics/new-evidence-africa%E2%80%99s-systematic-looting-provided-increasingly-schizophrenic-world-bank>
> underway across Africa. The uncompensated extraction of non-renewable
> resources amounts to an estimated $150 billion annually, far more even than
> the $50-80 billion Illicit Financial Flows and $50 billion in legal profit
> repatriation from Africa by mining and petroleum firms.
> But increasingly, mining houses are pushing the people and environment too
> far, and resistance is rising. As Anglo American Corporation leader Mark
> Cutifani remarked
> <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-17/miners-offer-clinics-bull-rings-as-protests-tie-up-25-billion>
> in 2015, “There’s something like $25 billion worth of projects tied up or
> stopped” by mining critics across the world.
> How activists can increase that figure is the topic of next week’s
> discussions, along with moving from these critiques to strategies for
> post-extractivist systems of political economy, political ecology and
> social reproduction.
> (Patrick Bond – pbond at mail.ngo.za – teaches political economy at the Wits
> University School of Governance in Johannesburg.)
> ________________________________________
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