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Trafigura lawyers lift injunction banning publication of scientific report about toxic waste dumping in Côte d'Ivoire

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16 October 2009

Minton report: Carter-Ruck give up bid to keep Trafigura study secret

Author: David Leigh, Guardian [UK]

Lawyers for oil traders Trafigura finally abandoned attempts to keep secret a scientific report about toxic waste dumping in west Africa…The Minton report, commissioned in 2006 from the London-based firm's scientific consultants, said that based on the "limited" information they had been given Trafigura's oil waste, dumped cheaply the month before in a city in Ivory Coast, was potentially toxic, and "capable of causing severe human health effects"…The author of this initial draft study, John Minton, of consultants Minton, Treharne & Davies, said dumping the waste would have been illegal in Europe…Trafigura said the report was only preliminary and had proved to be inaccurate.

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16 October 2009

[video] Trafigura director Pierre Lorinet is interviewed about recent legal developments in the UK

Author: Trafigura

Pierre Lorinet: "Fundamentally the Minton Report was a draft, it was a work in progress. And it was immediately superseded by another report which looked at the actual material because the Minton report was just an analysis of possible...there was no fundamental analysis. It was superseded very quickly by the NFI [Netherlands Forensic Institute] Report, which basically demonstrated that the slops could not have caused what’s been alleged. And in particular the NFI report formed the basis, the authoritative analysis for both the claimants and ourselves within the UK class action... All [the injunction] was designed to do was to stop some of the media to report in a misleading fashion on the Minton report. It was never intended to stop parliamentary questions or debate in parliament on such issues."

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14 November 2006

[PDF] Caustic tank washings, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Author: John Minton, Minton, Treharne & Davies

The high number of reported casualties suggests that…the extensive presence of gaseous pollutants as the cause. This is clearly consistent with there having been a significant release of hydrogen sulphide gas. This would cause effects ranging from serious respiratory and eye problems at high concentrations near to the source through to discomfort and nausea brought about by the unpleasant smell in areas further from the source…These are the precise effects reported in this incident and we conclude hydrogen sulphide release to have been the likely cause…Press reports of such incidents are notoriously unreliable and often overstate the problem [refers to Trafigura]

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