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So. African NGO report raises concerns regarding negative community impacts of coal mining; Anglo American and Nedbank respond

Bench Marks Foundation has released a report,  which examines the conduct of the key players in South Africa's coal mining sector, including the corporate grievance mechanisms used by these companies, the community engagement concerns identified and the impact of these operations on surrounding communities

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Company response
6 October 2014

[PDF] Nedbank response

Author: Peter van Kerckhoven, Nedbank Capital

Nedbank response to Bench Marks Foundation report, 6 October 2014: ...With reference to the article by the Bench Marks Foundation regarding Nedbank’s financing of the new Largo project, Nedbank wishes to advise and confirm that the article is factually incorrect as the bank has not financed the project nor have we been appointed to do so....[as] the project is currently at feasibility stage. Nedbank continues to undertake all of the necessary due diligence when considering lending of this nature. The bank mindfully considers economic, social and environmental factors through its risk frameworks and adheres to responsible lending guidelines including the Equator Principles, International Finance Corporation Performance Standards and its own Social and Environmental Management System...

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Company response
16 September 2014

[PDF] Anglo American response

Author: Anglo American

Anglo American response to Bench Marks Foundation report, 16 September 2014: Anglo American has noted the report by the Bench Marks Foundation entitled “Policy Gap 9”...We recognise that our industry has a major environmental and social footprint and should expect to be judged by high standards. Among our Group-wide standards is the Anglo American Environmental Way which: sets out a consistent approach to responsible environmental management...and supports our vision for minimising harm...Our stringent social performance standards are set out in the Anglo American Social Way, which sets out requirements for engaging with communities and supporting socio-economic development.  Core requirements of the Social Way include our Group-wide complaints and grievances mechanism for local communities, and community consultation using our award winning Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox. In addition...we adhere to national environmental legislation and share the government’s aim of achieving a sustainable and safe mining industry...We accept that there are challenges still to address and we welcome constructive criticism of any shortcomings when fair...

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Article
20 August 2014

Mining firms 'fail to address complaints from communities', says report

Author: Pericles Anetos and Charlotte Mathews, Business Day (So. Africa)

Mining firms 'fail to address complaints from communities', says report, 20 Aug 2014: Grievances ranging from water, air and soil pollution to lack of jobs are seething among communities living around coal mines...as mining firms’ mechanisms to address residents’ complaints are failing to do so, according to findings of a 2014 Bench Marks Foundation report... The report... focused on two companies...Anglo American...and BHP Billiton...The findings were based on interviews and focus groups with community members. While both companies had formal complaint mechanisms for communities to use, the report found that their systems were not being used effectively... BHP Billiton vice-president of communications Lulu Letlape said the company would provide a comprehensive response once it had time to review the report in detail. “At BHP Billiton being environmentally responsible and supporting our communities form a key part of our values,” she said.

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Item
19 August 2014

'Mines’ grievance mechanisms intimidate stakeholders and are ineffective', says NGO

Author: Bench Marks Foundation

‘Mines’ grievance mechanisms intimidate stakeholders and are ineffective’, 19 Aug 2014: Coal mines’...Coal mine...grievance mechanisms intimidate those who lodge a complaint and...[are] therefore fairly ineffective in dealing with stakeholder’s grievances, according to a report released by the Bench Marks Foundation on coal mining in South Africa... “The grievance mechanisms implemented...are mostly employer/employee orientated and largely exclude...communities,” says John Capel, executive director for Bench Marks. “It’s mostly related to workplace and space issues rather than wider community grievances. “There is also an implied threat...that if an issue or grievance raised is not considered ‘genuine’ by the corporation, punitive steps may be taken against the person raising the grievance. This is nothing short of intimidatory!” “In addition, the mechanisms are a one-size-fits-all tool which does not take into account regional, national, provincial and local variations as well as culture, economics and environmental issues”...[refers to Anglo American, BHP Billiton]

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Item
19 August 2014

Banks fail to do proper due diligence on mining projects, says NGO

Author: Bench Marks Foundation

Banks fail to do proper due diligence on mining projects, 19 Aug 2014: South African banks are failing to do proper due diligence on mining projects, despite subscribing to the International Finance Corporate and World Bank Global Guidelines on Responsible Investments, says the Bench Marks Foundation...“Our research indicates that banks are not checking whether the mining projects they are financing comply with legislative and regulatory requirements before releasing funding for the project,” says John Capel, Executive Director for the Bench Marks Foundation...[Refers to Anglo Coal, Eskom, and Nedbank]

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Report
19 August 2014

Policy Gap 9 - South African coal mining: corporate grievance mechanisms, community engagement concerns and mining impacts

Author: Bench Marks Foundation

'Policy Gap 9 - South African coal mining: corporate grievance mechanisms, community engagement concerns and mining impacts', 19 August 2014:...Coal mining impacts cause...long‐term threats such as climate change and environmental disasters such as ground, air and water pollution in sensitive catchment areas, which jeopardise water and food security. The living conditions of communities residing near coal mines are appalling and result from the poor performance on social responsibility by the mining companies and the lack of support for human rights. This report provides an overview of such serious negative impacts of coal mining... As a main concern...it is clear that South Africa is faced with a crisis of representation. Communities and workers increasingly feel the need to resort to violence in their protests...The status quo is definitely not sustainable and serious interventions are needed to stop the seemingly uncontrolled plundering and exploitation of the resources and living environments which existing communities and future generations depend on to make a decent living...[refers to Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Eskom, Glencore, Homeland Energy, Nedbank, Shanduka]

 

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