From Australia through Peru to Bulgaria: Stop Glencore!
What have Australia, Peru and Bulgaria in common? A huge multinational company that prospects for base metals all around the world, while contaminating heavily the environment – and not paying taxes.
Glencore with a seat in Switzerland and registered office in Jersey holds the honorable 10th place in the list of the biggest companies in the world, boasting with USD 170 billion revenues for the last year. It controls 60% of the world zinc trade and 50% of the copper trade, besides operating key deposits of base metals globally.
One of such deposits is the McArthur River mine in the Northern Territory of Australia. The mine creates enormous wealth for its operators – but puts on risk the mere existence of the local communities.
For years the small aboriginal community Borroloola fights for its land and water, assaulted by Glencore. The livelihood of Borroloola depends entirely on fishing, also their drinking water they take from the McArthur River. Since the mine is working the local people see the color of their waters changing.
Documents reveal that for years the company has been entirely aware of the elevated levels of heavy metals in the water, and in the fish and mussels. But it undertook no measures to inform and protect the population. Borroloola are adamant that they will fight to protect their heritage.
On 19th of May the annual meeting of the Glencore board will take place in Switzerland. In front of the Glencore headquarters in Sidney the small indigenous nation, backed by ActionAid Australia will express its protests throwing dead fish and playing traditional drums.
What is the Bulgaria’s connection? The KCM smelter nearby Plovdiv smelts the zinc concentrates coming from Isckay Cruz – another mine controlled by Glencore and situated in Peru. The metal concentrate travels more than 10 000 kilometers from the port of Callao to the furnaces of KCM. The operation is under supervision of a Glencore branch registered in Bermuda.
The ancient Andean tribe yarus living nearby the town of Oyon in the Andes has to cope with the contamination linked to the extraction. A mission of “Friends of the Earth – Bulgaria” in January revealed that the agricultural production, water resources and the touristic potential of the site are all heavily affected by the mine. The employment in Isckay Cruz is unsustainable and directly depends on the volatile metal prices on the world exchanges.
The rubbish and the emissions from the smelting of the zinc concentrate are left in the fertile Bulgarian Thracian valley. For Glencore – and its partners in Bulgaria, remain the profits.
During the financial year 2013 – 2014 the six branches of Glencore in Australia declared USD 22.4 billion revenues. They paid no single cent in income taxes. Due to a controversial free trade agreement between Peru and the EU, the import of metal concentrates in Europe is free from taxes and tariffs, and thus Peruvian government is devoid of the revenues needed to supply viable public services.
Today we raise our voice against Glencore and multitude of similar companies, which suck in the treasures of the Earth, while contaminating the environment and endangering the livelihood of local communities.
Let’s make them pay.