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Forty Feared Dead In Indonesia Coal Mine Blast PDF Print E-mail
Reuters, 18 June 2009, Author: Telly Nathalia and Sunanda Creagh
 
SAWAHLUNTO, Indonesia - A coal mine explosion in Indonesia's Sumatra island has killed 28 miners and 12 others are missing, officials said Wednesday.
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A 3-Year Muddy Fight and Still No Closer to Justice PDF Print E-mail
The Jakartaglobe
Mei 30, 2009, Fidelis E. Satriastanti
 
Sidoarjo, East Java. With sadness and increasing despair, former residents of dozens of villages engulfed by mud will today mark the date three years ago that sludge began gushing out of a crack in the earth near an oil and gas drilling well in East Java.
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Half-truths and evasions PDF Print E-mail
Report of the BHP Billiton plc AGM, Thursday 23 October, London

Summary
At its AGM (annual shareholders’ meeting) in London on 23 October, BHP Billiton was attacked over its record in the Philippines, Indonesia, Guatemala and Colombia, its failure to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and its role in worsening climate change and producing a radioactive legacy for future generations.
The company’s responses were characterised by

    * failure to listen to complaints
    * failure to answer many detailed questions with anything more than vague generalities
    * failure to admit that consultation processes in many countries are affected by corruption and intimidation
    * and blank denial, without evidence, of informed and well-documented criticism.
Company Chair Don Argus repeatedly told critics to read the company’s ‘Sustainability Report’ without dealing adequately with examples showing that the company is not living up to it.
Argus and company CEO Marius Kloppers both asserted that ‘We won’t mine in World Heritage Sites’ – but would not commit to ditching prospective mining projects in UNESCO’s proposed World Heritage Site at Gag Island in Papua. So what’s going on behind the scenes? Lobbying to ensure that Gag Island is excluded from UNESCO’s proposed site?
Full reportWe’re loaded
The sparsely attended AGM began, as always, with lengthy speeches by the Chair and the Chief Executive singing the company’s praises and defending its record on climate change and its involvement in uranium mining. Chair Don Argus assured shareholders that the company remained in a strong position despite the current financial turmoil because of its ‘uniquely diversified portfolio of high quality, low cost assets’ and its strong balance sheet, which enables it to invest throughout the economic cycle. Chinese growth, the motor of the minerals industry, is ‘softening’ but still strong, and industrialisation and urbanisation will mean continued strong demand for the company’s products.
Zero Harm
Chief Executive Marius Kloppers echoed the Chair’s enthusiasm but tempered it with deep regret at continued work-related deaths and injuries in the company’s operations, which he said were unacceptable. The company continues to aim for ‘zero harm’ among its workforce.
Vote first, ask questions afterwards
Argus then announced that the business of the meeting would be taken before general questions on the Annual Report and Accounts – so shareholders could re-elect directors without any examination of their collective conduct.
Thirty-four agenda items later, he called for questions on the annual report. The majority of the questions concerned human rights and environmental issues.
Macambol, Philippines: community division, dubious associates and environmental damage
Sonya Maldar of CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) managed to read a brief statement from communities in Macambol on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines concerning the community divisions which have been caused by mining in the area by BHP Billiton’s joint venture partner AMCOR – despite being interrupted by Don Argus and told that she should ask a question, not make a statement. Sonya said that CAFOD’s report on the Hallmark project had revealed bribery by AMCOR, flaws in the process of obtaining community consent and serious environmental problems.Don Argus said that the company was in the early stages of studying the feasibility of mining nickel in the area. The company follows the guidelines set by the Philippine Government and the Free Prior Informed Consent process. The company has listened to CAFOD’s criticisms and undertaken its own private study. It rejects any allegations of impropriety.
Marius Kloppers added that no work was being done by BHP Billiton on the Hallmark project because of a legal dispute with AMCOR. He said it was in the company’s interests to ensure that all parties are content, because the company will be co-operating with them for decades to come. Projects go through pre-feasibility and feasibility stages before being approved, and before the stoppage this project was at the earliest stage. The company needs to ensure ‘maximum harmony’ before proceeding.
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Inco's pollution plan slammed PDF Print E-mail
Posted By ANGELA SCAPPATURA, THE SUDBURY STAR

Greater Sudbury residents admonished Vale Inco for hosting what one resident called, a 'deplorable and professionally controlled' public forum, on Thursday night. The forum was a required part of Inco's application to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment seeking temporary exemption from stricter nickel emissions regulations. The crowd of nearly 100 residents listened as a Vale Inco representative explained the application and outlined the company's plan to reduce nickel particulate pollution. Labour activist Homer Seguin was in the crowd and said he was disturbed by the lack of free discussion. After the presentation, attendees were told to write questions on a form to be asked by a moderator. 'It is deliberately set to prevent participation of the public,' said Seguin. 'There was obviously an undercurrent of concern in the room, but no one could say anything.' Seguin wrote his complaint about the controlled forum on the comment sheet, and when it was read aloud by the moderator, many audience members clapped enthusiastically. Beginning in 2010, Ontario will be enforcing a new way of monitoring nickel emissions. Inco representatives said the company cannot decrease nickel emissions in time to meet the new criteria, so must seek an 'alternative standard' until 2015. If approved, Inco would be allowed to emit 15 micrograms per metre cubed of nickel daily. The current limit is two micrograms.

 
Govt says coal mines cause weeklong flood PDF Print E-mail
Samarinda administration in East Kalimantan admitted openly Thursday that the weeklong flood that paralyzed the city was caused by unruly management of coal mines.
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