Mining shareholder: ‘divest and stop the violence’, says War on Want

6 May 2016 - 1:00pm
Press release

War on Want has called on a British shareholder to divest his stake in a mining company whose plans for a new mine would force local people from their homes on the south east coast of South Africa.

War on Want joined representatives from the Marikana Mineworkers Support Campaign, the Gaia Foundation, the London Mining Network, Colombia Solidarity Campaign, Movimiento Jaguar Despierto and others, to demonstrate outside the offices of Graham Edwards, a major shareholder in Australia’s Mineral Commodities (MRC), with a holding of 23.6%.

MRC intends to mine 9 million tons of the mineral ilmenite, used in paints, from an opencast operation on pristine sand dunes in the area. The company’s plan to mine mineral sands at Xolobeni, has met with strong opposition from the local Amadiba people. The Amadiba have been fighting to defend their land for over a decade, during which time they have endured much intimidation and violence.

Only last month the chairman of  the Amadiba Crisis Committee (set up to oppose the plans), Bazooka Radebe, was tragically gunned down as the violence intensified.

London, 5 May.

Tom Lebert, Senior International Programme Officer (Africa) at War on Want, said:

“This is clearly now a matter of life and death for the people of Xolobeni, who continue to face violence and intimidation simply for defending their homes and land.

“Mr Edwards holds serious sway when it comes to the future of the Xolobeni mine and the local people. We call on him to do the right thing; divest his stake and put the rights of Xolobeni people first. 

“Right across Africa, local people are fighting back against the violence and exploitation wrought by the extractives industry. Mining routinely disrupts and destroys people's livelihoods, forces communities from their land, and damages their health and the environment.

“For too long large-scale miners and elites have grown rich on the backs of ordinary people, we stand in solidarity with the people of Xolobeni and their right to determine what takes place on their land.”

 

Notes to editors

For more information contact Ross Hemingway +44 (0)7983 550 728

Independent Online: Xolobeni still simmers over MRC mine 

London Mining Network: Mining, Murder and a British Millionaire: Protestors stand in solidarity with South African communities opposing mining

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