Archive for October, 2009

Oct 13 2009

Guilty: UK Government Blasts Vedanta in Unprecedented Attack – Resistance Continues to Grow


From Survival International – On the 12th of October the UK government blasted FTSE-100 company Vedanta Resources over its treatment of the Dongria Kondh tribe in Orissa, India.

The damning verdict came after a nine month investigation into a complaint submitted by Survival International against Vedanta’s proposed bauxite mine on the Dongria Kondh’s sacred mountain. The complaint, upheld by the government, was brought under the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises – the key principles for ethical corporate behaviour.

In an unprecedented attack on a major British company, the government ruled that Vedanta, ‘did not respect the rights of the Dongria Kondh’; ‘did not consider the impact of the construction of the mine on the [tribe’s] rights’; and ‘failed to put in place an adequate and timely consultation mechanism’. Devastatingly, it concluded, ‘A change in the company’s behaviour’ is ‘essential’.

Astonishingly, despite repeated requests from the UK government, the company ‘failed to provide any evidence during the examination’. This is the only time a company has refused to participate in an OECD investigation.
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Oct 13 2009

Alcoa Continues to Evaluate Bakki


Aluminium giant Alcoa continues to look into the financial prospects of building an aluminium smelter at Bakki outside of Húsavík though the Icelandic government has refused to extend their Statement of Will on the subject.

Tómas Már Sigurðsson, president of Alcoa in Iceland, says the project continues in cooperation with the energy companies and the local council of Norðurþing. They are now working on getting the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) done, which was ordered by the ministry of environment last summer. A suggestion for the assessment was given to the Office of the Icelandic National Planning Agency at the end of September this year. Tómas Már is hoping for the results of the assessment in the spring of 2010.

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Oct 11 2009

COP-15 : Climate Justice Actions – Reclaiming Power From Below


Stop the Green Capitalist MachineOur climate is not their business! – A lecture and open discussion Monday October 12th in room 102, Lögberg, the University of Iceland, at 16:00.

Öskra! – The movement of revolutionary students, presents the COP-15 climate summit in Copenhegen and wants no false solutions based on economical growth at the expence of people and the environment.

From the 7th to 18th of December 2009, the largest ‘climate summit’ ever to be held will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark. This summit has been billed as our ‘last, best hope’ to do something about climate change. But the UN talks will not solve the climate crisis: emissions continue to rise at ever faster rates, while carbon trading allows climate criminals to pollute and profit. It is time to say enough! No more business as usual, no more false solutions!

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Oct 10 2009
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Blame Canada? – Geothermal Energy, Swedish Shelf Companies and the Privatisation of Iceland


From The Reykjavík Grapevine, by Catharine Fulton – One by one men in suits of varying shades of grey approached the podium in the pit of the Reykjavík City Hall. One by one they pleaded their cases while Reykjavík’s esteemed mayor—the fourth in two years—Ms. Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir looked on appearing disinterested in what appeared to be solely a formality. As the council members continued selling the idea of selling Iceland’s resources, a crowd of 100-strong grew more agitated and increasingly vocal from their perch in the viewing gallery of the hall, separated from having a say in their own natural resources by an aesthetically pleasing glass barrier.

“People were screaming, saying that the politicians were traitors,” explained Jón Bjarki Magnússon, a student who arrived at City Hall just in time for the vote. “It was a weird feeling to see it happen, to see these people down on the floor raise their hands and the decision is made and to see all these angry people above them not able to do anything.”

The September 15th city council meeting stretched on for over three hours, during which time onlookers shouted and boo-ed as city council progressed toward approving the 32.32% sale of Iceland’s HS Orka to the Canadian-cum-Swedish firm Magma Energy Corp. Read More

Oct 05 2009

India Chimney Collapse Kills Workers


At lest 25 people were crushed to death when an under construction chimney at a new power plant being constructed at Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco) in the town Korba in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, collapsed last Wdnesday afternoon. Tens of worker got trapped in the debris. Officials say that s chimney caved in on the workers during construction work at a thermal power plant. Sources quating witnesses said lightning struck the under-construction chimney at about 4 pm, bringing down the huge concrete structure. More than 100 labourers had been engaged in the work when it had begun to rain. The structure collapsed on a store room where workers had taken shelter from the rain.

Balco is a unit of London Stock Exchange-listed Vedanta Plc, whose activities are mostly in India. The company is setting up a 1,200-Mw power plant at its aluminium facility. Sepco, a Chinese company, had bagged the award for the power plant, while GDCL was constructing the 275-metre chimney. The power plant was part of a mega expansion plan. The company was expanding annual capacity by 650,000 tonnes. At present, the company produces 350,000 tpa of aluminium. On completion the capacity will be a million tonnes a year, making Balco the worlds largest producer of aluminium from a single location. Read More