South African banks fund mining projects in southern Africa that raise issues over social, environmental, human rights impacts, says new report
Southern Africa Resource Watch, in announcing its report, South African Banks Footprint in SADC Mining Projects, said:
"South African Banks are often key funders of a number of mining companies. Questions abound on the nature of these deals and the lack of transparency that surrounds them. There are concerns about whether banks do due diligence before they fund any mining activities to guide against corruption, social, environmental and human rights abuses that are linked to mining. This report interrogates the funding commitments of South African banks in mining in SADC and considers whether they can do things differently."
The report reviews environmental, social and governance principles used by South African banks; common funding methods for mining projects and banks' decision-making processes; banks' policies on environmental, social and governance issues in their investments - and those policies' effectiveness. It analyses six cases: Ghagoo Diamonds (Botswana); Geita Gold (Tanzania); Konkola Copper (Zambia); Marikana Platinum (South Africa); Vele Coal (South Africa); Kolwezi Copper (Dem. Rep. of Congo) and makes recommendations on the environmental, social, and governance frameworks for mining investments by South African banks.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the banks named to respond: ABSA, First National Bank (part of FirstRand), Investec, Nedbank, and Standard Bank. Responses by Investec, Nedbank, and Standard Bank are below.