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Extractive companies' response to the Covid-19 pandemic

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Report
24 April 2020

Pandemic Crisis, Systemic Decline: Why Exploiting the COVID-19 Crisis Will Not Save the Oil, Gas and Plastic Industries

Author: Center for International Environmental Law

...the crisis is...spurring unprecedented lobbying by some of the world's largest corporations. While some of these lobbying efforts seek legitimate government support to help companies, workers, and communities confront an economic and social emergency, others seek to exploit the crisis to advance preexisting corporate agendas. The oil and gas industry is among the most active in these lobbying efforts worldwide...in early April...nine oil industry executives met with the US President in an effort to secure additional government intervention on the industry's behalf.

The pandemic has caused massive declines in demand for oil and gas...a price war, itself triggered by the COVID-19 crisis...has driven oil prices to unprecedented lows. As a result, major oil companies have seen their stock prices plummet to the lowest levels in decades...The present report documents how COVID-19 exacerbates this collapse and details how long-term systemic declines in the oil and gas industries, as well as problems in the petrochemical industry, had been accumulating for years before the pandemic emerged...

The oil, gas, and petrochemical industry is now exploiting the catastrophic global pandemic to aggressively push its preexisting corporate agenda, including regulatory rollbacks, suspension of environmen-tal law enforcement, criminalization of environmental protest, and direct government bailouts in a growing number of countries. The underlying risks facing the industry, however, remain unchanged. The imminent systemic decline of the oil and gas sector should serve as a stark warning to public officials and private investors alike as they consider allocating limited and vital resources to these companies...

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Author: Confidentiel Afrique (Sénégal)

Les compagnies minières Resolute, Barrick, B2Gold, Anglogold, opérant au Mali, ont répondu à l’appel du Président Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA, dans le cadre de la lutte contre la pandémie. Ces compagnies ont contribué pour un montant de 3. 059.000 USD pour appuyer l’État dans un élan solidaire national.
Sur la contribution globale, 2.759.000 USD sont en numéraire et 300.000 USD en nature, comprenant des équipements et accessoires de lutte contre le Coronavirus. La compagnie minière Resolute Mining, représentée à la cérémonie par Ousmane Coulibaly, a mobilisé la bagatelle de 500.000 USD (200.000 USD en cash et 300.000 USD en équipements médicaux, selon les besoins exprimés par le gouvernement malien. Le Premier ministre Boubou Cissé, a apprécié le geste hautement patriotique de ces compagnies minières en ces moments difficiles de la propagation de l’épidémie au Mali.

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Author: Sekou Sanoh, Guineenews (Guinée)

665 seaux avec robinet, 665 cartons de savon, 665 cartons d’eau de javel, des thermo-flashs, des blouses médicales, des gans, près de 700 paquets de masque et des véhicules estimés à 150 mille dollars sont entre autres des dons offerts...aux structures sanitaires et aux communautés des préfectures de Forécariah et de Beyla par la société minière Rio-Tinto. La cérémonie de remise s’est déroulée au bureau de Simfer SA, dont les sociétés minières Rio Tinto et Chinalco sont toutes deux actionnaires...

Prenant la parole, le Directeur général pays de Rio Tinto Biro Diallo a fait savoir que ce geste n’est qu’un début. D’après lui,  l’entreprise et son partenaire Chinalco sont fiers d’œuvrer aux côtés du gouvernement pour briser la chaîne de propagation du Coronavirus en Guinée...

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Article
15 April 2020

Botswana: NGO calls on all mining companies to support government efforts in fight against Covid-19

Author: Botswana Labour Migrants Association & Botswana Mineworkers Union

‘Press Release on De Beers Group 20 Million Contribution to Covid-19 Relief Fund’ 7 April 2020

Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) and Botswana Labour Migrants Association (BoLAMA) are elated that De Beers Group has heeded the call made to the mining sector on the 24 March 2020 by BoLAMA and has responded with a sizeable contribution of 20 million towards the fight against Covid-19 pandemic. On the 24th March 2020, BoLAMA issued a press release calling on the private sector to support the Government of Botswana’s (GoB) response efforts to combat Covid-19. The call specifically targeted the mining industry.

A subsequent call by GoB to the private sector for donations was made and a fund was established on the 26th March 2020. On the 6th April 2020, De Beers Group made an announcement on several of its social media platforms, of a $ 2,500,000 donation made across Botswana and Namibia as relief support towards the public health emergency. The amount directed to Botswana was $ 1,700,00 million of which BWP 10 million injected into the Covid-19 Relief Fund and another BWP 10 million slated for logistics, supply and community support.

…We call on: other mining companies and allied industries to follow the example set by De Beers; the Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) to give an industry position on social protection strategies for employees impacted by covid-19 and how they intend to work with Government in realizing them;  the private sector to have a vision beyond their short-term financial interests, by realigning and contributing 50% of their unused CSR budget towards the Covid-19 response; the government to consider a enacting a law that makes CSR mandatory for all companies.

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Article
15 April 2020

Ghana: Mining firm extends monetary support to govt. to help fight Covid-19

Author: Kojo Fletcher, Modern Ghana

‘COVID-19: Ghana Gets Support From Gold Fields To Fight Disease’ 13 April 2020

Since Ghana recorded its first case of COVID-19 in March this year, there have been several donations to Government of Ghana from individuals, groups and companies to help contain the spread of the disease. To lead by example, President Akufo-Addo and some of his appointees have pledged to donate their three months' salaries to have enough funds to fight the disease which is killing many across the globe. Ghana’s case currently stands at 566 and can be identified in ten regions, with the latest being the Western Region. Remaining only six regions in which government is making sure they do not record a case.

…Gold Fields Ghana extending the monetary support to Government of Ghana through the Ghana Chamber of Mines Thursday, April 9, 2020, the Executive Vice President and Head of West Africa Regions for Gold Fields Mr Alfred Baku, expressed that, the contribution was a timely response to government’s call. “This contribution represents our timely response to the call by the Government of Ghana to support in the fight against COVID– 19, which has been spreading since Ghana reported its first case on 12 March 2020”.

Mr Baku further stated that the $400,000 Gold Fields Ghana is committing into the host communities points to how the company prioritises the healthy needs of those who are closely impacted by their operations. “As a company which prioritises the health and safety of its employees, we have a duty to support the needy and vulnerable in our society in these challenging times. We believe our contribution will go a long way to flattening the curve and help us return to normal lives soon,” Mr Baku said. The money quoted for the communities is for the purchasing of handheld thermometers, sanitizers, goggles, face masks, protective gowns and other COVID- 19 prevention equipment.

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Author: Germaine Boni, Fraternité Matin (Côte d'Ivoire)

Le groupe Barrick Gold...a fait don...à l’Etat de Côte d’Ivoire de 500 millions de Fcfa pour appuyer la lutte contre la maladie à Coronavirus.

La remise de chèques s’est faite au cours d’une cérémonie au cabinet du ministre des Mines et de la Géologie, Jean Claude Kouassi, en présence des ministres Aka Aouélé de la Santé et de l’Hygiène publique, et Mariatou Koné de la Solidarité, de la Cohésion Sociale et de la Lutte Contre la Pauvreté.

Ces deux départements ministériels sont, en plus du ministère des Mines et de la Géologie, les bénéficiaires de la contribution financière apportée par l’entreprise minière. A raison de 250 millions de Fcfa au profit du ministère de la Santé et de l’Hygiène Publique, 150 millions de Fcfa pour le ministère de la Solidarité, de la Cohésion Sociale et de la Lutte contre la pauvreté, et 100 millions de Fcfa au ministère des Mines et de la Géologie.

A cet appui, s’ajoutent les actions de l’entreprise minière en faveur du système sanitaire de Korhogo, et des populations riveraines de la mine qu’elle exploite, pour un montant de 200 millions de Fcfa.

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Article
15 April 2020

Liberia: Govt. receives Covid-19 preventative materials from mining company

Author: Joseph Titus Yekeryan, The New Dawn (Liberia)

‘ArcelorMittal Liberia donates Covid19 preventive materials’

In an effort to curtail the further spread of coronavirus, ArcelorMittal Liberia has made available a consignment of detergents to the administration of Bong County. Materials donated include Tuesday, 7 April at the Gbarnga Administration Building office included hand washing buckets, eight barrels of chlorine and more than fifteen cartoons of tide soap. Making the presentation on behalf of Mr. Scott Lowe, ArcelorMittal Liberia Chief Executive Officer, the company’s Bong County Liaison Officer Mrs. Albertha Dolo Dianue said the donation was her company’s way of helping to fight COVID-19. She then called on authorities of the county to place a special emphasis on the fight against the human killer.

…As a major investor in the country’s private sector, ArcelorMittal has reconfirmed its support and commitment to the government and people of Liberia in containing the further spread of the virus. Taking delivery of the materials, Bong County Superintendent, Madam Esther Walker hailed the world steel giant for being supportive of the government’s initiatives. She said this is not the first time for such intervention from AML as it also did same during the Ebola epidemic in Liberia.

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Author: Clarin

“Coronavirus en Argentina: por la pandemia, un grupo minero abandona un proyecto millonario para industrializar litio” – 8 de abril de 2020-

…El grupo minero francés Eramet anunció este miércoles que desistía de construir una fábrica de producción de litio​ en Argentina, debido a la incertidumbre que provoca en la economía mundial la pandemia de coronavirus. El proyecto, que iba a demandar una inversión de US$ 600 millones, se ubicaba en Salta…La decisión, que tiene por fin "preservar la tesorería" del grupo, implica una pérdida de 150 millones de euros para la empresa, indicó Eramet en un comunicado…”En el contexto actual de la crisis sanitaria" hay "una gran incertidumbre en la economía mundial y en particular en los mercados de materias primas, incluido el litio", indicó el comunicado de la empresa…

 

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Author: sunugox.info (Sénégal)

« Les sociétés minières ont remis au ministre en charge des Finances, Monsieur Abdoulaye Daouda Diallo un chèque d’un montant de deux milliards zéro quarante-trois millions cinq cent mille francs CFA (2 043 500 000) »...   

Le document souligne que la cérémonie s’est tenue dans les locaux du ministère des Finances et du Budget, dans une ambiance très sobre due à la situation de l’heure en présence de Mme le ministre des Mines et de la Géologie, Aïssatou Sophie Gladima qui a conduit la délégation. 

« Ce montant représente une partie de la contribution à hauteur de plus de trois milliards de Francs CFA que lesdites sociétés, dont la plupart sont membres de la Chambre des Mines du Sénégal (CMDS), envisagent de remettre à la Force COVID-19 », a souligné le communiqué

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Glencore...a décidé de fermer...pour trois mois ses mines de cuivre, l'une des premières richesses de la Zambie, invoquant les conséquences économiques de la pandémie de Covid-19...

Souvent critiqué pour son intransigeance, le géant suisse Glencore ne risque pas de redorer son image auprès des Zambiens. Sa filiale locale Mopani a fermé pour trois mois les deux mines qu'elle exploite dans le nord du pays...Les 11 000 employés ont été congédiés et seuls ceux qui sont syndiqués recevront l'intégralité de leur salaire... 

Le syndicat des mines et le gouvernement sont unanimes a condamner une décision qui va priver des milliers de personnes de revenus. Le ministre des Mines accusant Mopani de se servir du prétexte de la pandémie pour licencier à bon compte. Car Glencore affirme ne plus pouvoir travailler en raison de la rupture des chaînes d'approvisionnement et du ralentissement mondial. 

Le coup n'est pas seulement rude pour les travailleurs, il l'est aussi pour le gouvernement, qui dépend à 75% du cuivre pour ses recettes extérieures. En ce moment les réserves de change zambienne sont au plus bas. L'an dernier, le long conflit opposant le gouvernement au premier producteur local, KCM a entraîné une baisse de la production nationale et donc des recettes de l'Etat.

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