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1 Aug 2015

John Vidal, Guardian (UK)

‘I drank the water and ate the fish. We all did. The acid has damaged me permanently’

…If you pump a glass of water from the borehole outside the little church in Shimulala, you will see it is bright yellow, smells of sulphur and tastes vile.  Mining giant Vedanta’s subsidiary company KCM drilled the borehole in 2010 for the village after the Mushishima stream was turned into a river of acid when mining chemicals spilled into it.  But a leaked company letter says that chemists who tested borehole water…said it was unfit for consumption. Now the villagers must use the stream too.  1,800 people from…villages took their complaints to the high court in London in a case that could…make giant mining companies working in developing countries address local pollution more seriously.  The villagers say acid spills and contaminated water in their streams, rivers and boreholes are getting worse…Last year Vedanta/KCM made up to £320m profit from the mine but engineers who have worked there say that its pollution treatment works have been pushed beyond their limits by the company to maximise output…Vedanta responded, saying…“We are committed to fully investigating the matters alleged…Until we have done that, any court proceedings are premature.”