Nov 08 2008

UK church group blows whistle on BHP Billiton

Published by at 9:37 pm under Companies,Top Stories

A church group based in the UK has released a report accusing mining conglomerate BHP Billiton of bribery, intimidation and under-the-table payments to officials in the Phillipines, where the company wants to develop a nickle mine and build a processing plant. BHP Billiton said it’ll invest between $1.5 and $3 billion and create more than 7,000 jobs. 

In the report titled Kept in the Dark, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod) lists alleged abuses by BHP Billiton and its local partner Asiaticus Management Corporation (Amcor) to create the appearance they had the support of communities affected by their projects.

This story reminded me of the similar story I published recently, where a local Bushmen community in the Kalahari, Botswana complained about diamond miner Gem Diamonds.

According to this story, Gem Diamonds also claims to have local support, but the Bushmen allege they are being bullied and harassed and are unable to get any proper legal advice. Despite a Botswana High Court ruling in 2006 affirming the Bushmen’s rights, the government is still preventing them from accessing their water borehole and stopping them from hunting. 

So, on the face of it: Two countries, two companies, same tactics.

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