Guinea: Local communities filed a complaint against the World Bank for financing destructive bauxite mine

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Article
4 April 2019

Guinée : Des banques françaises financent une mine de bauxite; les habitants parlent d’accaparement de terres et de la destruction de leur environnement

Author: Jean-Michel Meyer, Reporterre

« Les banques françaises financent une mine énorme et polluante en Guinée », 4 avril 2019

BNP Paribas, la Société générale et le Crédit agricole financent en Guinée l’extension d’une des plus grandes mines de bauxite de la planète. Des ONG dénoncent les atteintes à l’environnement et des habitants réclament réparation...

...[L]’extraction du minerai nécessaire à la production de l’aluminium altère la santé et la sécurité des habitants, détruit l’environnement, réduit la part des terres agricoles des communautés rurales, pollue les rivières et les puits…

Ce n’est pas près de s’arrêter. L’exploitation de la bauxite s’est amplifiée en Guinée à partir de 2015...

Pour honorer ces contrats, la production annuelle du gisement de Sangaredi devait être portée de 13,5 millions à 18,5 millions de tonnes à partir de la fin 2018. Pour trouver les centaines de millions de dollars nécessaires au financement de cette extension, le groupe minier s’est appuyé sur la Société financière internationale (SFI), le bras armé de la Banque mondiale dans le secteur privé, et BNP Paribas, conseiller financier de la CBG...

Pourtant, des ONG ont saisi, le 20 février 2019, Osvaldo Gratacós, le médiateur de la Banque mondiale...« les habitants de 13 communautés, toutes situées dans la concession de la CBG » se disent « victimes d’accaparement de terres, de la destruction de leur environnement et de leurs moyens de subsistance, lesquels constituent de graves violations des droits de l’Homme tels que consacrés par les instruments de droit international ». Les plaignants cherchent « à obtenir la pleine et juste réparation pour tous les dommages et les pertes qu’ils ont subis ». Et ils « demandent un environnement sûr et sécurisé »...

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Article
8 March 2019

Thirteen Guinean villages lodge complaint against World Bank for financing destructive bauxite mine

Author: Inclusive Development International

Residents of 13 villages in western Guinea have filed a formal complaint against the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private-sector arm, for funding the expansion of a harmful bauxite mine. The 540 complainants allege that the IFC-financed project, Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée, has grabbed their land, destroyed their livelihoods and damaged the local environment. The complaint, filed with the IFC’s independent watchdog, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, details violations of the IFC’s environmental and social Performance Standards and international law. 

The complainants are seeking full and fair redress for the harms they have suffered, along with protection from future violations. They have asked the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman to facilitate mediations with the IFC and Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée to address their grievances.

“The lands on which we and our ancestors have lived and farmed for centuries have been almost totally consumed by CBG,” said Mamadou Lamarana Bah, one of the complainants.  “With no more land, no more forests, no more water, how are we going to survive?

The villagers have lost agricultural land, which has led to a significant decline in their incomes and quality of life, and access to their water resources, which have been polluted, among other harmful impacts. The situation is especially perilous for the residents of Hamdallaye village, who have been told by the company that they will be imminently resettled, without their consent, in a former mining area that was not properly rehabilitated.

The complainants are being represented by two Guinean organizations, Centre du Commerce International pour le Developpement (CECIDE) and Association pour le développement rural et l’entraide mutuelle en Guinée (ADREMGUI), and the U.S. human rights organization Inclusive Development International.

“International mining companies have been making a fortune off of Guinea’s rich mineral resources, while the communities impacted by mining have quite literally been left in the dust," said Mathilde Chiffert, West Africa Legal Coordinator for Inclusive Development International.  “It’s high time for local communities to get a fair share of the benefits from mineral extraction.”

Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée is a joint venture between the Guinean government; the U.S. aluminum corporation Alcoa; the Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto; and the Guernsey-registered Dadco. In 2016, the IFC provided a $200 million loan to expand the venture’s mining operations, with the U.S. government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation providing an additional $150 million.

A further $473 million came from a syndicate of commercial banks: France’s Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Natixis; the German affiliate of ING bank, ING-DiBa; and two Guinean banks, Société Générale de Banques en Guinée and Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie de la Guinée, a member of the BNP Paribas group.

“We look forward to engaging in an equitable dialogue process with CBG, facilitated by an independent mediator to resolve the long-standing grievances of the complainants,” said Tenguiano Pascal, Executive Director of CECIDE.

 

 

 

 

 

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Article
8 March 2019

Thirteen Guinean Villages Lodge Complaint Against World Bank for Financing Destructive Bauxite Mine

Author: Inclusive Development International (IDI) (USA), Centre du Commerce International pour le Développement (CECIDE) (Guinea) and Association pour le développement rural et l’entraide mutuelle en Guinée (ADREMGUI) (Guinea)

Residents of 13 villages in western Guinea have filed a formal complaint against the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private-sector arm, for funding the expansion of a harmful bauxite mine. The 540 complainants allege that the IFC-financed project, Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée, has grabbed their land, destroyed their livelihoods and damaged the local environment. The complaint, filed with the IFC’s independent watchdog, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, details violations of the IFC’s environmental and social Performance Standards and international law. Most of the world’s development banks have established such grievance mechanisms to monitor compliance with their environmental and social policies and address complaints from impacted communities. The complainants are seeking full and fair redress for the harms they have suffered, along with protection from future violations. They have asked the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman to facilitate mediations with the IFC and Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée to address their grievances.

 “The lands on which we and our ancestors have lived and farmed for centuries have been almost totally consumed by CBG,” said Mamadou Lamarana Bah, one of the complainants.  “With no more land, no more forests, no more water, how are we going to survive?” The villagers have lost agricultural land, which has led to a significant decline in their incomes and quality of life, and access to their water resources, which have been polluted, among other harmful impacts. The situation is especially perilous for the residents of Hamdallaye village, who have been told by the company that they will be imminently resettled, without their consent, in a former mining area that was not properly rehabilitated. The complainants are being represented by two Guinean organizations, Centre du Commerce International pour le Developpement (CECIDE) and Association pour le développement rural et l’entraide mutuelle en Guinée (ADREMGUI), and the U.S. human rights organization Inclusive Development International.

“International mining companies have been making a fortune off of Guinea’s rich mineral resources, while the communities impacted by mining have quite literally been left in the dust,” said Mathilde Chiffert, West Africa Legal Coordinator for Inclusive Development International.  “It’s high time for local communities to get a fair share of the benefits from mineral extraction.”

Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée is a joint venture between the Guinean government; the U.S. aluminum corporation Alcoa; the Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto; and the Guernsey-registered Dadco. In 2016, the IFC provided a $200 million loan to expand the venture’s mining operations, with the U.S. government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) providing an additional $150 million.

A further $473 million came from a syndicate of commercial banks: France’s Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Natixis; the German affiliate of ING bank, ING-DiBa; and two Guinean banks, Société Générale de Banques en Guinée and Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie de la Guinée, a member of the BNP Paribas group.

“We look forward to engaging in an equitable dialogue process with CBG, facilitated by an independent mediator to resolve the long-standing grievances of the complainants,” said Tenguiano Pascal, Executive Director of CECIDE.

 

 

 

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Lawsuit
20 February 2019

Complaint concerning IFC loan to the “Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée” (CBG)

Author: Inclusive Development International (IDI) (USA), Centre du Commerce International pour le Developpement (CECIDE) (Guinea) and Association pour le développement rural et l’entraide mutuelle en Guinée (ADREMGUI) (Guinea)

Centre de Commerce International pour le Developpement (CECIDE), Association pour le développement rural et l’entraide mutuelle en Guinée (ADREMGUI), and Inclusive Development International (IDI) are submitting this complaint to the Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman on behalf of 540 complainants belonging to the communities of Hamdallaye...who are suffering serious harms from CBG’s mining operation located in the sub-prefecture of Sangaredi, prefecture of Boké, Republic of Guinea. The residents of these 13 communities, all located within CBG’s concession, are victims of land grabbing and destruction of their environment and livelihoods, amounting to serious violations of human rights enshrined in international law instruments...They have not been accorded their entitlements and protections under Guinean law and the IFC Performance Standards (PS), including PS 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8. None of the objectives of these PSs have been achieved or will be achieved unless significant remedial and preventative measures are taken by CBG...

The Hamdallaye village is affected by both economic and physical displacement, and the community has been told they will be imminently resettled on a site that does not meet the requirements of PS 5...All of the 13 complainant communities are affected by the loss of land, including agricultural land, which has resulted in drastic impacts on their livelihoods and a significant decline in their income, as well as the destruction of their natural environment, including their water resources. These violations have had particularly damaging consequences for the women of these communities. In addition, the proximity of the mining activities to the villages carries significant risks for the physical safety of the communities... 

Since it began operations in 1973, CBG has progressively excavated and mined large areas of land in the area surrounding the town of Sangaredi, where its mining operations are concentrated.3 For years, CBG has denied the land rights of local communities, creating immense frustration amongst the population after decades of land grabbing and natural resource destruction...
 
In 2016, the IFC provided CBG with a US$200 million loan...for its mining operations in Guinea, and specifically for the expansion project as described in Section 1 below...

 

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