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London Demo Against Asia Energy/GCM and Open-Pit Mining - 6/Dec/10 10:30am

Dear Friends,

As you probably already know that a British company, GCM Resources (formerly known as Asia Energy) is aggressively trying to secure a deal with Bangladesh Government to capture the biggest coal reserve of Bangladesh in Phulbari, Dinajpur. The proposed deal will pay merely 6% of royalty to Bangladesh and 94% of revenue will be taken by GCM! Moreover they will enjoy 9 years of tax holiday to further increase their profit! The project will roughly bring $200 billion to GCM and only $7 billion to Bangladesh in terms of financial benefit.

On the other hand, the risks this project poses are grave and numerous. This open-pit mine will directly:

  • cause destruction of 6,000 hectares of Bangladesh's most fertile lands which produce 3 crops per year.
  • render displacement of 220,000 people, including at least 2,200 indigenous households.
  • cause widespread de-watering resulting over 200,000 people to suffer reduced access to water for household and agricultural use.
  • pose high risk of acid mine drainage contaminating soil and rivers far beyond the mine's footprint, as well groundwater contamination resulting from coal transport and as land subsidence

Plans to dredge the Pussur river to allow for coal transport, and to divert the Khari Pul and Namissa rivers, endanger biodiverse habitats and the species they support. Plans to transport coal by barge through the Sundarbans threaten a vital UNESCO-protected habitat which is one of the world's largest mangrove forests, serves as a life-saving barrier against the devastating impacts of floods and cyclones, and is home to endangered species that include the Bengal tiger.

Opposition to the project in Bangladesh has been strong and sustained despite the use of lethal force, threats, and intimidation. On August 26, 2006 tens of thousands of people united in Phulbari to protest the project. A government-backed paramilitary group opened fire on the unarmed demonstrators, killing three people including a 14 year old boy, and wounding as many as 200. In October of this year, Oil-Gas protection committee lead by Anu Muhammad organised a Long March from Dhaka to Phulbari, which spanned 250 miles and 7 days. Over 100,000 people attended the final rally in Phulbari.

Bangladeshis living in the UK have organised a blockade of GCM's annual general meeting in London. The demonstration will take place at:

Time - 10:30 am on 06-Dec-2010
Location - In front of Sceptre Court, 40 Tower Hill, London EC3N 4DX

Attached are copies of a poster for the event.

Please join the demo and support the struggle to protect vulnerable communities and environment in Bangladesh.

Please forward this message to your friends.

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