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Protest targets Vedanta mines ‘abuse’

On 28 August a demonstration against the mining giant Vedanta Resources took place during Vendata's AGM in London.

The demonstration was a joint effort between War On Want, Foil Vedanta, the London Mining Network, Amnesty and Survival International to protest outside the multinational corporation’s annual meeting at the Lincoln Centre in London’s Covent Garden.

Demonstrators accused Vedanta of causing death and displacement on a massive scale, as well as poisoning water and the environment.

The British government and the World Bank also came under attack for helping Vedanta to spread in India, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Ireland and Liberia.

Graciela Romero, international programmes director at War on Want, said: “The London Stock Exchange should ban multinational companies which commit human rights violations and question their corporate governance and ethics.”

London Mining Network researcher Roger Moody said: "Vedanta's annual report says the company regrets six employee and 16 contractor 'losses.' It can't even bring itself to acknowledge these are lives sacrificed to its uncaring pursuit of profit.”

Amnesty deputy director Polly Truscott, commenting on the corporation’s report about its operations in India’s Orissa region, said: “Vedanta may be making the right noises and made a few changes, but the reality is that its new approach remains both meaningless and hollow."

Sreedhar Ramamurthy, who chairs Indian NGO Mines, Minerals and People, said: "This is a company which has been violating corporate governance, financial, human rights, indigenous rights and environmental laws from the beginning.”

Foil Vedanta, which organised the protest, says the firm is owned by billionaire Anil Agarwal and his family through companies in tax havens.

In the face of people’s movements, Vedanta, with UK ministers’ support, is diversifying into iron in Goa, Karnataka and Liberia, zinc in Rajasthan, Namibia, South Africa and Ireland, copper in Zambia and oil in Sri Lanka’s ecologically fragile Mannar region.

Foil Vedanta spokesperson Amarit Wilson said: “The list of Vedanta atrocities is longer than ever and there are massive popular struggles in India and Zambia. Vedanta, like the notorious Lomin in South Africa, is bringing shame on the Stock Exchange.”