The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has turned down Borregaard's application for NOK 6 million in support for a safety system at the company's pesticide factory in China. NORAD bases its refusal on strong objections by experts with regard to the factory's manufacture of the pesticide carbofuran, which was banned in Norway as early as 1983. The Future in Our Hands welcomes NORAD's decision, whereas Borregaard has appealed the decision to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Unitor has recently informed the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) that the company is pulling out of the fish fillet factory Clovergem Fish & Foods Ltd. in Uganda. The factory is part of the export-oriented fishery in Lake Victoria, which according to experts threatens food security for millions of poor people in East Africa. When NORAD in 1992 granted a NOK 10,000 loan for the Uganda project, the condition was that the factory should have Norwegian owners.
The Tupinikim and the Guarani Indians will no longer sit and wait for the return of their indigenous land areas from the Lorentzen company Aracruz Celulose. In a common statement from the gathering of the Indians on the 8th of December, the Brazilian minister of Justice is given a deadline until January 20th next year to sign a decree to return to the Indians the 13.579 hectares they demand from the gigantic cellulose producer. If not, the Indians will «carry out the necessary actions to secure our rights».
The land owners by the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea have not yet received full compensation for the mine's use of their land and water. Now they take the conflict to court. August last year, the disagreement around the compensation led to a riot, where two got killed. Dyno's explosives factory, located next to the mine, blew up in 1994, but was operational again at the end of last year. Dyno has renewed its contract for delivery of explosives until 2002.
In September, the Malaysian authorities had to put the prestigious Bakun project in Sarawak on hold. The development company could not come to agreement with the contractors, and the Malaysian currency plummeted. Now the authorities have withdrawn the project from the private entrepreneur Ekran. Kværner, which had entered into agreement with the development company for the delivery of turbines for a value of 850 millions NOK (1$ is app. 7.5 NOK), is now likely to lose this contract. However, the forced relocation of the local population and the work with the distribution tunnel is still ongoing.
The Himbaes in Namibia rejected the preliminary studies for a development of the Kunune watercourse which Namang, where Norconsult is one of the companies, submitted the end of October. The Himba chief Kapika, handed over the report, which incidentally only exists in English, to the Governor of the area. At the same time, the representatives of the authorities and the university were asked to leave Epupa, as the Himbaes could not guarantee for «what might happen if they remained», according to the newspaper The Namibian.
The Norwegian-related Braastad-family's company Safco is running their six pineapple-plantations and factory in the Ivory Coast like a plantation from the colonial era. Through low wages, hard work and fear of losing one's job, "the white man" has acquired a subservient workforce consisting of 1200 people - mainly imported labour from the neighbouring country of Burkina Faso.
The Norwegian goldmining-company Mindex may experience difficulties with the population in the area in Ghana where the company is operating. During NorWatch's visit to the area, the local population expressed fear that the gold-mining could deprive them of their subsistence as farmers and traditional gold-mining, and are threatening the company with direct actions. Mindex are not aware of these problems, but promises to address them to their Canadian partner.
Mindex promises to address the problems presented by NorWatch to their Canadian partner, St. Jude Resources. But the company's managing director says that Mindex is fully aware of their responsibilities and has good experience with locals from the Philippines, and cannot imagine a rebellion against their project in Ghana.
The minister for aid and human rights, Hilde Frafjord Johnsen, has indicated a change in the use of Norwegian companies in aid context. According to the new guidelines from OECD, and a clearly expressed wish from the Parliament, products shall now primarily be bought from local producers, and not, as now, primarily from Norwegian companies.
Kvaerner is a major supplier of turn-key pulp plants worldwide, and has no less than three major jobs in Sumatra, Indonesia. The three companies Kvaerner serves is on the Indonesian Government's list of those companies who are responsible for the large forest fires raging the rain forest this autumn. The three same companies are in serious conflicts with the local population. In total, Kvaerners contracts are worth almost 1.2 billion NOK. Kvaerner itself does not consider themselves responsible for the situation in Indonesia.
The conflict between the World's largest gold mine Freeport and the local population on West Papua in Indonesia continues at full speed and recently cost four people their lives. This autums around 1000 indigenous people blocked the mine which, with its planned expansion, will be the World's largest mover of soil mass within the mining sector. Dyno Industrier, which had the lucrative contract on delivery of explosives to Freeport, lost the contract this year.
The Aker RGI company Scancem International recently bought shares in the Narmada Cement Company in India, which supplies the largest dam in the controversial Narmada project with cement. This dam alone will lead to the forced resettlement of more than 320,000 people, and it will overflow large areas of forest and agricultural land. The World Bank has withdrawn from the project because of the negative consequences. The population, mainly tribal people, refuse to move and say that they will rather drown. Scancem is unaware of the controversies around the company's major customer.
During the last weeks, there have been frequent meetings to discuss Blom's sea map project in Indonesia. Blom have included the occupied East Timor in their Indonesia sea maps. This conflicts with the terms of the NOK 87 million support given from NORAD. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) refuses to discuss the issue. Blom themselves, however, make confessions and change their charts.
Fifteen people from the village Kucheipadar have carried out sabotage against the disputed bauxite and alumina project Utkal, in which Hydro participates. Recently they demolished a house which had been erected by the developers in the project area. The subsequent criminal case against the fifteen takes place shortly after it was known that the start of construction works has been postponed by a year. What is going on is another signal from a group of tribal people whose livelihood is threatened.