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LONDON PROTEST HELD AT GCM RESOURCES AGM OVER OPEN PIT MINING IN PHULBARI

Strong protests were held both outside and inside the AGM of London-based mining company GCM Resources on 4th December 2013 over the company’s Phulbari coal mine in Bangladesh. A number of protesters gathered outside the AGM at Hamilton Place, Central London near Hyde Park Corner. Protesters chanted out loud slogan, beated drum, demonstrated placards and demanded immediate abandonment of deleterious open pit mine project in Phulbari and call GCM to leave Bangladesh immediately.

For demo please visit: http://www.wdm.org.uk/climate-change/protests-gcm-resources-agm-over-ban...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWCvB7_hl6s&sns=fb

For inside the AGM please visit: http://londonminingnetwork.org/2013/12/chairman-of-gcm-resources-offered...

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Phulbari_News

Participants of the demo condemned GCM's open pit mining in Phulbari, if project goes ahead will displace up to 220,000 people, destroy 15, 000 acres of productive land, will bring devastating environmental and ecological impact on the North West region of Bangladesh. But Bangladesh will get only 6% royalty and GCM will take 94%. Bangladesh will bear all the burdens of open pit minining, but will get almost nothing, except human sufferings.

The protest was organised by National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas and Mineral Resources in Bangladesh, the UK branch in solidarity with Word Development Movement, London Mining Network and Phulbari Solidarity Group.

Inside the AGM proxy shareholders raised questions on GCM’s unethical business, human sufferings, displacement, British government and OECD investigation on GCM and condemned GCM’s manipulative strategy. Proxy shareholders also addressed on GCM’s bleak future in Bangladesh as people resistance will in vain their endeavour to have project approval from the Bangladesh Government. As the company will be doomed, Chairman of the GCM were offered job seeker allowance and claim form by concerned share holder.

The first questioner, Zahanara Akhtar Rahman, asked why the company had appointed a Malaysian businessman to lobby the Government of Bangladesh, and why he had a contract awarding him shares if he gets the Government to approve the project. She asked why the UK Government was investigating the company over the Phulbari project’s human rights impacts, and why the United Nations was also concerned. She said that GCM does not respect human rights and that the World Development Movement had, as a result, also taken up the case.

Michael Tang asked which UK Government department was investigating. Richard Solly said that it was the UK National Contact Point (NCP) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, based in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and that Richard was surprised that the CEO did not know this as it was in the company’s own report. CEO thanked Richard for the clarification, and asked Chief Operating Officer Gary Lye to comment. Gary Lye said that ‘a couple of activist groups, WDM and the International Accountability Project’ had lodged a complaint to the UK NCP in December 2012, that the NCP has a process to follow, that the company is providing the NCP with information and that the company looks forward to hearing the outcome of the review, which he believed would be positive.

Zahanara asked Michael tang whether he had been to Phulbari himself. Had he seen the situation and spoken to local people? Michael Tang looked rather uncomfortable and said nothing.

Matin Sarker said that most of the people in the area are farmers or indigenous people. How could the company ensure that they will get a better life when they are losing their land and their occupations? The company pays money to clubs of hooligans who support its activities. The company’s distribution of blankets was seen by come as a form of bribery.

There was a rather sharp exchange between the Chair, the COO and another shareholder about whether blanket distribution was a form of humanitarian aid or a form of bribery.

Outside the AGM among others Dr Kazi Mokhlisur Rahman, Mostafa Farook, Dr Akhter Sobhan Khan, Ishaque Kazal, Shahariar Bin Ali, Golam Kabir, Nesar Ahmed, Proshenjit Dutt, Golam Akbar Mukta, Nurul Islam, Shefa and Plash Shaha of the National Committee addressed the demonstration. Ms Effie Jordan of the World Development Movement and others also addressed the demo.
Richard Solly of the London Mining Network, Jahanara Akhter Rahman and Matin Sarker and Steve White attended the AGM as proxy share holders and raised various vital questions in the AGM.

Both outside and inside the AGM protesters unmasked the GCM’s evil design and adverse impact of the proposed open pit mine project.