Aker Maritime is presently looking into the possibilities of building an offshore LNG plant for gas from the Bayu Undan Field in the controversial Indonesian/Australian zone of cooperation (Timor Gap). Last September two representatives from the company visited East Timor to assess the consequences of building the plant there. Aker Maritime has no misgivings about a possible construction project in the occupied country. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has previously advised Norwegian companies to refrain from doing business in East Timor.
In 1993 the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) turned down applications from Norwegian companies for support for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, stating as a reason the project's negative environmental impact. The giant project in the small mountainous country in central South Africa is very controversial because it entails forced relocation, loss of arable land, and environmental damage. Kværner, which through subsidiaries in England and South Africa has supplied equipment for approximately NOK 95 million for the project, refers to "the realities of the world" and the fact that Lesotho itself has decided to go ahead with the development project.
A year ago five workers were shot and killed and at least 30 were injured when the police removed striking workers at the Lesotho Highlands Water Project in Lesotho, for which Kværner has supplied equipment. The commission that investigated the incident and acquitted the police is subject to harsh criticism from the local population and Amnesty International, who demand a new independent inquiry. 600 striking workers were dismissed after the shooting, and now fear for their lives after renewed violence.
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.