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As the Asian pulp and paper giant April is planning a joint venture project with Finnish paper giant UPM-Kymmene, their Riau Andalan celulose factory in Sumatra has returned to the limelight. European environmental organizations are putting pressure on the Finnish company to prevent the joint-venture cooperation. At the same time, Riau Andalan has been evaluated by the verification company SGS, who found reasons for sharp criticism.
In NorWatch Newsletter, no. 13/97, the Narmada project in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, was discussed. The reason was that Scancem International was to buy a minority share in the Narmada Cement Company. This company has supplied cement for the largest dam of the Narmada project, the Sardar Sarovar, throughout the construction period. According to information gathered at the company, the share purchase still has not come through, and according to the Scancem annual report, the Asian financial crisis has "made it necessary to reevaluate the premises for the project."

The giant pulp manufacturer Sappi Saiccor is a major polluter in the town of Umkomaas in South Africa. Currently, there is a discussion about moving a primary school located close to the factory, in order to protect the pupils from the health risks connected to outlets from the plant. Local fishermen and divers are angry because of the waste the company dumps in the Indian Ocean. Scandinavian companies have supplied approximately one half of Saiccor's equipment, including approximately 75% of a magnesium based pulp plant, which was installed in 1993. This plant is still run without the required certificates for atmospheric emissions.

A new plant, which will make commercial products out of some of the ligno-sulphonate that Saiccor at present dumps in the sea, is being constructed in co-operation with the Norwegian company Borregaard. After a visit to Umkomaas, NorWatch is under the impression that Borregaard's project is welcomed.

Elsewhere in this issue of NorWatch you will find a reply from Robert and Astrid Braastad, regarding a NorWatch article on the SAFCO pineapple plantation (issue 15-97), and an article in the Future In Our Hands magazine 'Folkevett' (issue 1-98).
Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific has been awarded contracts for supplying explosives to the big mining complex Olympic Dam in Australia. Its activities occupies areas traditionally belonging to the aboriginals, and threatens to dry out huge groundwater resources. Local authorities have criticized the company because of considerable leakages from their radioactive waste deposit. The mines are now being substantially expanded, and Kværner is in this connection hired to do work on the copper smelter and refinery. Neither Dyno nor Kværner are familiar with the criticism that has befallen their customer.
The serious charges put forward in Your articles in the NorWatch Newsletter, issue 15-97 and Folkevett magazine, issue 1-98, are erroneous and defamatory. Both articles paint a very imbalanced and subjective picture of our long time work with the SAFCO pineapple plantation in the Ivory Coast. They also reveal inadequate knowledge of the SAFCO company and the country You have visited.
Prior to the company's annual general meeting, Norsk Hydro's proposed alumina project in India was given much attention by the media. During the Liberal Party's annual meeting, the Liberal Youth in Norway put pressure on their own party leader by proposing a resolution to postpone the Utkal project. The resolution was passed by the meeting, with no votes against it. However, the minister of Trade and Industry and also the Liberal Party leader, did not consider the resolution very binding.
On April 2, Aracruz Celulose and the Tupinikim and Guarani Indians signed an agreement where they accept the minister of Justice's decision that the Lorentzen company has to return 2571 hectares of land to the Indians, as well as compensation and economic support to the Indians, amounting to more than USD 10 million. The Brazilian supporters of the Indians' cause condemn the authorities' use of military dictatorship-methods to make the Indians sign an agreement they consider outrageous and immoral, and for refusing 'outsiders' to enter the Indian villages. However, the parties did not agree on whether the Indians at a later stage may get back with claims for larger areas. Therefore, whether the last word is said on this issue, is an open question.
On March 10, a group of workers from the Orissa Construction Corporation (OCC) were met with strong protest demonstrations when they started survey work on the building site for the planned Norsk Hydro alumina refinery. The OCC, who were in the area to construct a wall around the core plant area, chose to withdraw from the area because of the protests. The Stromme Foundation, which has been very concerned with the Utkal issue, sees the incident as somewhat puzzling. - To begin construction work in this manner, without giving prior information, is yet another violation of local people's rights, says Øistein Garcia de Presno, Secretary-General of the Stromme Foundation.
The Church sells old vicarages and speculates with the money on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Well aware of the symbolic effect of the Church in the role as shareholder, one has decided to make the fund investments subject to ethical guidelines. The fund is to be careful with arms, tobacco, and alcohol, and also with all other activities which "are disliked by a considerable part of the ecclesial opinion".

Several African countries is on the list of trade partners of Kvaerner's subsidiary Techno Arms in South Africa. The partly owned company became linked to Kvaerner after the take-over of Trafalgar House in April 1996, and the signal at this time was that Kvaerner wanted to sell out the arms manufacturer and sales office in South Africa. On the list of last year's activities is a visit to Sierra Leone, where the company negotiated on a $30. mill. contract. They still keep in touch with powerful people in that country. A little less than two years after Kvaerner bought Trafalgar, NorWatch met with Ratomir Andrejevic, the executive director of Techno Arms, and he is very optimistic.

- Together with Kvaerner we have a great potential here on the African continent. The knowledge of arms is the supreme within the art of engineering, he says.

After the information in the article above was confirmed in written form by the company, NorWatch contacted Kvaerner ASA's head office in Norway. At this stage, the alarm went off in Cementation Africa. Cementation's new MD, Mr. Donald Beveridge, who is appointed by Kvaerner, had a serious talk with Mr. Andrejevic of Techno Arms, which resulted in NorWatch receiving a letter from Andrejevic with the message: « (...) I have been compelled to make substantial changes based on true facts. This have been done in co-operation with our group managing director, Mr Donald Beveridge. (...) We have tried not to edit your story too severely but believe the changes we have made reflect, to some extent, the true scenario».