UK court rejects African Minerals’ liability over accusation of complicity in violent repression of protests in Sierra Leone

In its 19 December 2018 decision, the High Court of Justice did not find Tonkolili Iron Ore Ltd liable for the violent repression of protests in 2010 and 2012 in Sierra Leone. The case was brought before British courts because Tonkolili Iron Ore Ltd was at the time a subsidiary of African Minerals, a UK based company. 


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19 May 2020

UK: NGOs request Supreme Court to hear case against African Minerals for complicity in human rights abuse at mine in Sierra Leone

Author: RAID & CORE

"Rights Groups Request UK Supreme Court to Hear Case On Corporate Abuses" 18 May 2020

RAID and the UK Corporate Responsibility Coalition (CORE) have officially lodged a letter with the UK Supreme Court requesting it to hear a case involving corporate human rights abuses by a British-based company, African Minerals Ltd, at its iron-ore mine in Sierra Leone. The letter was filed under Rule 15 of the Supreme Court Rules, which permits civil society groups to make submissions in the public interest to the Court.

The letter supports an application by the Sierra Leone victims for permission to appeal an earlier ruling by the Court of Appeal which absolved African Minerals despite its role in the abuses. 

The case, Kadie Kalma & others v. African Minerals and others, concerns claims by local residents harmed during two violent security operations in 2010 and 2012. African Minerals paid, transported and accommodated the police as they brutally attacked residents, some of whom were protesting the mine for taking over their farms.

The Trial Judge found that, in the course of the police operations, “many villagers were variously beaten, shot, gassed, robbed, sexually assaulted, squalidly incarcerated and, in one case, killed.” African Minerals failed to take steps to ensure that the police did not use the extensive assistance the company provided in perpetrating such serious human rights violations.

Yet both the Trial Judge and Court of Appeal found against the victims. The Court of Appeal agreed with the Trial Judge that the company did not intend the human rights violations or owe local residents any duty of care, even though it assisted the police knowing that they were violently attacking residents.

RAID and CORE said that if the Court of Appeal’s judgment stands it threatens to deprive communities of necessary protection and could severely undermine efforts to hold British companies to account for human rights abuses.

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24 December 2018

Sierra Leone abuse claimants lose UK court case

Author: Expatica

Sierra Leoneans seeking damages from a mining company they accused of complicity in a police crackdown voiced disappointment…after losing a landmark legal case [against Tonkolili Iron Ore Ltd] in a British court…

“The legal team is now reviewing the judge’s findings and will be advising the clients in early January as to the prospects of appealing the judge’s findings,” [law firm Leigh Day said in a statement]…

British courts agreed to hear the lawsuit because the…producer was previously a subsidiary of African Minerals Ltd (AML), which was headquartered in London before it went into administration in 2015.

The case was particularly unusual as the judge, Mark Turner, conducted some court sessions in Sierra Leone itself to hear evidence of the alleged abuses.

But the ruling…found that “the claimants have not succeeded in establishing liability in respect of any of the basis upon which they have sought to bring their claims”…

Lawyers for the claimants had alleged that the company effectively oversaw policing of its mine and surrounding areas where protests turned deadly in two incidents in 2010 and 2012…

Tonkolili Iron Ore Ltd, which is now a subsidiary of China-based Shandong Iron and Steel Group Co. Ltd, denied liability for the incidents…

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19 December 2018

Kadie Kalma & Ors v African Minerals Ltd & Ors [2018] EWHC 3506 (QB)

Author: UK High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division

[Full text of the judgment rejecting African Minerals’ liability].

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