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Bulgaria: Govt. & domestic banks allegedly support coal mining & energy companies accused of labour rights abuses & environmental pollution; includes comments by banks & govt.

The report "The Financial Mines – Murky banking interests in the Bulgarian coal industry drain public funds, destroy thousands of human lives and heavily contaminate the environment” by Greenpeace details human rights abuses and environmental pollution by coal mining and energy companies in Bulgaria. It claims that the Bulgarian Government and domestic banks support these companies. 

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the companies and the banks mentioned in the report to respond. First Investment Bank and Investbank have responded. Corporate Commercial Bank did not respond because it no longer exists. The following mines have not yet responded: Chukurovo, Staniantsi, Cherno More – Burgas, Balkan 2000, and Fundamental. The heating systems of Burgas, Pernik, Pleven, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo, Vratsa, and Sliven have not yet responded. The following thermal power plants have not yet responded: Maritsa 3, TPP Bobov Dol, and Brikel. We did not invite Mina Beli Breg AD, Mina Otkrit Vagledobiv, Vagledobiv Bobov Dol OOD and Toplofikatsia - Gabovo EAD as contact information was not available. 

We also invited Bulgarian government agencies to respond. Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, General Labour Inspectorate, Prosecutor’s Office and Public Financial Inspection Agency have not yet responded. The Ombudsman have responded.

Materials with full information and the responses & non-responses are below. 

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Company non-response
26 February 2018

Brikel EAD did not respond

Company non-response
26 February 2018

Fundamental EOOD did not respond

Company response
26 February 2018

Investbank response

Author: Investbank

...Investbank JSC is a Bulgarian commercial bank with a transparent shareholding structure and foreign participation that operates in strict compliance with  Bulgarian legislation, meets all the regulatory requirements for banking activity in Bulgaria and as part of the banking system contributes the banking sector being a sustainable factor of economic stability...Energy sector, in which these companies are operating, has a structuring effect for the Bulgarian economy and there is hardly as financial institution in the country with no exposures in it. Observing that these companies comply with environmental and safety standards lies within the competence of state institutions. 

Download the full document here

Company non-response
26 February 2018

Mina Balkan 2000 EAD did not respond

Company non-response
26 February 2018

Mina Cherno More-Burgas EAD did not respond

Company non-response
26 February 2018

Mina Chukurovo AD did not respond

Company non-response
26 February 2018

Mina Staniantsi AD did not respond

Item
26 February 2018

Response by Ombudsman of Republic of Bulgaria

Author: The Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria

...As regards the labour of the employed in the mining industry, the Ombudsman has identified the need of protection of the rights of this specific category of labourers. In view of this, the Bulgarian Ombudsman supported the protests of the miners from Babino mine in Bobov dol in relation to unpaid salaries, compensations and food vouchers...Maya Manolova held working meetings with representatives of the institutions in charge: Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, trade unions, and the company management. Following those meetings, the company management promised to pay the overdue salaries and food vouchers. Since these initial promises were not fully kept, the Ombudsman had to intervene again, and as a result a commitment was made to pay the overdue compensations to the miners in three times shorter period as initially agreed upon a proposal of Bobov dol Mining management...

Download the full document here

Company non-response
26 February 2018

Toplоfikatsia - Burgas EAD did not respond

Company non-response
26 February 2018

Toplоfikatsia - Pernik EAD did not respond