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7 May 2017

Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa & Southern Africa Resource Watch (South Africa)

New report analyses South African banks footprint in SADC mining projects

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[originally published Feb. 2017]

Mining companies extract minerals from the ground, and their activities routinely give rise to public concerns about the pollution of water sources, adequate land for agriculture, and fair community participation in mining projects. South African law accepts that the directors of corporations such as banks have fiduciary obligations to act in the best interests of shareholders...This paper sets out to critically consider the effectiveness of ESG principles implemented by South Africa’s banks when they fund mining projects in the SADC region...The four major banks (Standard Bank, Nedbank, FirstRand Bank and Absa Bank)...have investment banking divisions, who along with specialist bank Investec Bank are active in the funding of mining projects in SADC...In 2014 Nedbank concluded a US$25 million short-term debt facility to Gem Diamonds Limited to complete the construction of the Ghaghoo Diamond Mine. Nedbank Capital acted as the sole mandated lead arranger for the transaction...Business reports on the mine opening state that the mine is located on the ancestral lands of the Basarwa who were evicted from the area...In July 2015, communities in the four rural villages of Shimulala, Kakosa, Hippo Pool, and Hellen in the Zambian Copperbelt filed a legal suit in the English High Court against Vedanta Resources plc and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM)...Vedanta Resources has a term facility loan of US$820 million from Standard Bank for the Konkola mine...In 2007, in the Northern Tanzanian town of Geita, farmers in the village Mine Mpya village were growing maize, beans, bananas and other crops on land mostly inherited from their parents. These residents were removed by the Tanzanian government to make way for the development of the Geita Gold mine, owned by Anglo Gold Ashanti...ABSA provided gold hedge facilities to the amount of R90 million to the mine...