Three years after 52 mine workers are supposed to have been buried alive in a gold mine area in Tanzania, the Norwegian contractor Noremco was assigned the task of participating in the construction of the controversial mine works on the area that had been brutally cleared. Noremco says its role in the mine was limited.
In the vicinity of the Geita mine in Tanzania the local population is starting to become aware of the consequences of the gold industry. Their food plants contain up to 9000 times the maximum limit for heavy metals. The mine is operated by AngloGold Ashanti, partly owned by the Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Global. Norwegian contractors who have participated in the construction, say their role have been of a very limited nature.
Intex Resources has changed strategy and is now carrying out an information campaign towards the population on Mindoro. In this manner it intends to prevent local opposition from spoiling its project plans.
The partly Norwegian-owned cement company Ghacem has several hundred people breathing down its neck. Tempers boiled over after 500 people lost their homes and their mosque last week. The area was cleared to make room for Ghacem’s operations. A demonstration against Ghacem has been warned for this week.
The Norwegian cement corporation Scancem wishes to transfer 3000 Tanzanian farmers by force. On behalf of the company the police has pulled down houses and levelled crops, but the residents refuse to leave their properties. On 25 February the Norwegians and the farmers will meet in the Court of Appeal of Tanzania for the last round in this long-standing conflict.
Jinhui, the Oslo Stock Exchange-registered dry bulk shipping company, will tomorrow unload its last tons of controversial phosphate in New Zealand. The phosphate originates from occupied Western Sahara and has been shipped out of the country despite advice to the contrary from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Norwatch has got photos and video footage of the unloading.
Normeca’s controversial contract in Southern Sudan hangs by a thread. The various ministries are disputing about whether the high-priced contract has been terminated. Normeca’s export manager denies to Norwatch that Southern Sudan has to pay an enormous compensation to get out of the contract. He says that Normeca Sudan has been drained of 2,5 million euros and that they are still waiting for operational expenses for the first hospital.
Bits of glass and brick crackle beneath our feet. Unripe bananas and manioc plants lay spread on the ruins of a field. The military police has cleared the area 10 days earlier on behalf of the gigantic cellulose company Aracruz. We are, in fact, not on the Gaza strip but in Erling Lorentzen’s Brazil.
April this year, StatoilHydro signed a production sharing agreement with the authorities in Tanzania and with the state oil company Tanzanian Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC). Norwatch has been misquoted about the agreement in a Tanzanian newspaper. Read also: Letter to Managing Editor of This Day, Tanzania
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Global continues to be invested in a series of companies that are heavily involved in Burmese economy. The Advisory Council on Ethics does not, in fact, recommend exclusion. “This is disappointing. The ethical guidelines are clearly not satisfactory, but we don’t have time to wait. Parliament can, however, overrule the Advisory Council’s decision by means of a political resolution”, Inger Lise Husøy of the Norwegian Burma Committee told Norwatch.
The shipping company Belships is one of a few Norwegian companies to have established a joint-venture company in Burma. “The company, which was to have recruited Burmese seamen, has never been operative”, Sverre Tidemand, general manager of Belships, told Norwatch. He said the initiative has definitely been put on hold after the past weeks’ events.
The Norwegian Directorate of Customs and Excise has done a complete turnaround and given Norwatch access to its lists of all companies that have imported goods from the military dictatorship in Burma since 2005. The 145 companies that have received Burmese goods by means of a third country have thereby been exposed. Altogether the list contains 154 Burma importers.
The Alangan forest people on the Philippine island of Mindoro are frightened. The sound of test drilling can be heard several places in the jungle they are dependent on. The land they have inherited from their ancestors is threatened by Norwegian mining operations. They fear that the forest god Kapwambulod will be disturbed and turn against them.
Local authorities are preparing court action to stop the nickel projects planned by Crew Minerals ASA on the Philippine island of Mindoro. The partly Norwegian-owned Crew Minerals also lacks approval from an extremely critically disposed indigenous population in the area of operation.