Campaigners keep up fight to stop Bangladesh coal mine


12 December 2014

This week we found ourselves back outside the AGM of London based mining company GCM Resources again to stand in solidarity with our friends from Bangladesh who are campaigning to stop the proposed opening of an open-pit mine by GCM in Phulbari, Bangladesh.

It's about 8 years since WDM was contacted  by some activists from Bangladesh to see if we could work together in their work to stop GCM carrying out their a project which could displace over 200,000 people from their homes and destroy some of Bangladesh's best farmland.

During this time there have been protests in Phulbari and the UK. In Phulbari, three people were killed and many more injured when paramilitary officers opened fire on a protest against the mine in 2006. 

Intense opposition and steadfast work from the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Port and Power in Bangladesh has meant the project has been on hold since 2006 with many of the large players such as the Asian Development Bank and Barclays withdrawing from the project. The proposed project has also drawn criticism from UN human rights experts and the UK Government. Recently, a Bangladeshi government official has been quoted stating that GCM does not hold a valid licence to develop the mine, and there have been media reports that the company might close its doors amid resistance to the project.

In a final attempt to make GCM realise their project is not wanted in Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi Community, along with WDM, London Mining Network and other activists demonstrated outside GCM’s AGM on Tuesday and raised questions inside the meeting. Citizens of Bangladesh challenged the accuracy of some of the statements GCM were making to their shareholders while Kirsty Wright of WDM asked what GCM were doing to address the recent finding that GCM has breached the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Following a complaint lodged by WDM and the International Accountability Project, it was found that the OECD guidelines had been breached by GCM as the company had “failed to develop self-regulatory practices and management systems that foster confidence and trust in the societies they operate in”.

More pictures and details of the protest are available here, and there is more detail on the issues raised at the AGM from London Mining Network.

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