Africa-UK Civil Society Letter to the Mining on Top Africa: London Summit

25/06/2015

 

 

Delegates and Organisers of the Mining on Top Africa: London Summit,

 

We, members of African and UK civil society and communities, are aggrieved that the Mining on Top Africa: London Summit lacks meaningful representation from African civil society and communities, and ignores the negative impacts of mining in Africa.

 

Our organisations are rooted in and work alongside numerous communities across the African continent who endure the worst impacts of large-scale mining, without enjoying any of the purported benefits.

 

Many of these communities are facing displacement, poverty, illness, massive pollution, loss of fertile agricultural and ancestral land, destruction of livelihoods and culture due to the introduction of large-scale mining. Seeing little-to-no benefit from Africa’s mining boom, a growing number are saying Yes to Life, No to Mining, protecting sustainable, regenerative livelihoods and affirming their basic human right to define their own development.

 

As a gathering supposedly hosted to ‘drive economic and social development in Africa’, it would seem imperative for the Mining on Top Africa: London Summit to create spaces to hear the voices of these African communities and civil society members.

 

Yet it is precisely these groups- and those working in solidarity with them – that are being excluded from discussions. In their absence the Summit appears to be little more than a modern-day carve-up of Africa, with the imperial powers of old now replaced by massive multinationals engaging in similar forms of colonial exploitation that are destroying Africa.

 

In particular, we note that the only official civil society speaker at the Summit appears to be talking from a Northern development NGO, and a business-oriented perspective on companies’ social license to operate. This is revealing, as many of our communities are realising that Corporate Social Investment and Responsibility are purely ways to justify the companies’ social licence and bolster their image. We are sure the attendees from extractive industry companies may be happy to hear this, but it is less clear how such presentations will provide meaningful information on the real concerns of local communities and how they see their development unfolding.

 

To ensure that the concerns of African communities, and the many examples of serious mining abuses committed against them, do not go unheard, at the end of this letter (click here to read) we include cases that partners have asked us to highlight. They reveal the following trends plaguing mining in Africa:

 

  • Ecosystem destruction and the persistent pollution of air, water and land with grave health impacts for human communities and many other species.
  • Human rights abuses including killings and physical abuse that often disproportionately affect women.
  • Evictions and the forcible relocation of communities.
  • The failure of Corporate Social Responsibility and Investment programmes.
  • The loss of billions of dollars of mining profits from African economies as a result of illicit financial flows, corruption and corporate malfeasance.
  • The threat further investment in fossil fuel extraction, and thus climate change, poses to future generations.

 

That the Mining on Top Africa Summit excludes the voices of the peoples directly affected by trauma and loss as a result of the extractive industries strips the event of all legitimacy and any association with development. This is all the more unforgivable for the government agencies involved, such as the UK’s DfID, who are meant to be promoting inclusive development.

 

Sadly, it is fitting that this carve-up should take place in London, with the active encouragement of the British Government.

 

London is the leading global centre for mining finance, with billions of pounds of investment money flowing through it into destructive mining projects around the world. The UK Government actively encourages such destructive mining through its diplomatic support for London-listed mining companies, its shocking failure to exercise adequate regulatory oversight and its involvement in gatherings such as this one.

 

Acknowledging our connection through our common humanity, we as members of African and UK civil society demand that the mining industry hears and respects the wishes of communities who reject the destruction mining brings. We demand that the UK ends its promotion of and support for mining destruction.

 

In solidarity with communities in Africa devastated by destructive mining, and those resisting fresh waves of exploitation, we call for an end to the corporate carve-up of Africa.

 

Signed,

Sheila Berry for

Global Environmental Trust

Save Our iMfolozi Wilderness (S.Africa)

 

Juliana Thornton for

Mupo Foundation, (South Africa)

Yes to Life, No to Mining Southern Africa

 

Tabaro Dennis Natukunda, Kureeba David and Shillar Osinde for

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (Uganda)

 

Gijs Verbraak and Christopher Rutledge for

Action Aid South Africa

 

Thokozile Madonko

Alternative Information & Development Centre, (AIDC)

Milena Müller-Schöffmann for

WIDE -Network for Women´s Rights and Feminist Perspectives in Development

 

Simon Mitambo for

African Biodiversity Network

 

Aldo Salomao for

Centro Terra Viva (Mozambique)

 

Cormac Cullinan for

EnAct International

 

Davine Cloete for

Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign

South African Food Sovereignty Campaign (South Africa)

 

Dieudonné Tshimpidimbua for

Le Conseil régional des Organisations Non Gouvernementales de Développement du Kasai Oriental (DRC)

 

Action Paysanne Contre la Faim RDC for

Action Paysanne Contre la Faim (DRC)

 

Raoul Kitungano for

L’organisation Justice Pour Tous (DRC)

 

Maurice Ouma Odhiambo

Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya

 

Malick Fall

L’ONG Secours Net en Mauritanie

 

Christian Bwenda for

PREMICONGO (DRC)

 

Asanda Benya for

Sociology Department, Wits University (South Africa)

 

Hannah Owusu-Koranteng for

Wacam (Ghana)

 

Sandy Heather for

Sustaining the Wild Coast (South Africa)

 

FDS Mali for

FDS Mali

 

Delphine K Djiraibe for

PILC CHAD (Chad)

 

Francis Smith for

GEOSURE (South Africa)

 

Umo Isua-Ikoh

Peace Point Action (PPA)

 

Emma Courtine for

ICCA Consortium (Worldwide)

 

OUSSOU LIO Appolinaire for

GRABE BENIN (Benin)

 

Chris Macoloo for

World Neighbors, founder member of Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)

 

William F. Laurance, PhD, FAA, FAAAS for

ALERT Conservation

 

Frank Luvanda

Mazingira Network – Tanzania (MANET)

 

Tracy Sonny for

Botswana Climate Change Network

 

Pastor Innocent Adjenughure for

Niger Delta Study Group on Extractive Sector (NIDESGES) (Nigeria)

 

Ronald Naluwairo

Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment

 

Ted Brooks Jr

The Committee for Peace and Development Advocacy (COPDA) (Liberia)

 

Tanzania Centre for Research and Information on Pastoralism (TCRIP) for

Tanzania Centre for Research and Information on Pastoralism 

 

Solli Ramatou for

Groupe de Réflexion et d’Action sur les

Industries Extractives au Niger (GREN Niger)

 

Ferrial Adam for

350.org Africa

 

Dr Tracy Humby, Research Associate, SWOP and Associate Professor for

School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

 

Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Foundation For Environmental Rights,Advocacy & Development(FENRAD) (Nigeria)

 

Mukete Tahle

Global Network for Good Governance (GNGG) (Cameroon)

 

Daniel Banuoku and Bern Guri

Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD) (Ghana)

 

Geoffrey and Sharon Joyce Smailles

Unaffiliated, South Africa

 

Paolyel MP Onencan

Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO) (Uganda)

 

Fe Haslam for

Global Justice Forum (UK/Africa)

 

Joleen Wilson and Astika Bugheloo for

Afzelia Environmental Consultants (PTY)Ltd (South Africa)

 

Mag.Manfred Golda for

Protestant Association for Word Mission, EAWM (Austria)

 

Richard Ellimah

The Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS)

 

Bonita Meyersfeld

Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Wits University (South Africa)

 

Tony Dykes for

ACTSA (South Africa)

 

John Cunnington for

Development Alternatives

 

Fabio Laurenzi and Marirosa Ianelli for

COSPE Onlus

Stop Water Grabbing

 

Tony McPhail

South Africa

 

Kofi Mawuli Klu for

PANAFRIINDABA (UK)

 

Esther Stanford-Xosei for

Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE) (UK)

 

Hannibal Rhoades for

The Gaia Foundation (UK)

Yes to Life, No to Mining EU

 

Richard Solly for

London Mining Network (UK)

 

Tom Lebert for

War on Want (UK)

 

David Powe for

Divest London (UK)

 

Andy Whitmore for

Stop Mad Mining (EU)

 

Christine Haigh for

Global Justice Now (UK)

 

 Jamie Kneen for

Mining Watch Canada

 

Tero Mustonen for

Snowchange Cooperative (EU)

 

Anne Harris for

The Coal Action Network (UK)

 

Helena Paul for

Econexus (UK)

 

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