Mines firm accused over deaths, abuse, corruption

14 June 2012 - 10:47am
Press release

NEWS PEG: Thursday, 14 June 2012 – Controversial mining giant Bumi plc holds its first annual general meeting in London amid growing concerns about corruption associated with mining companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Bumi plc shareholders set to challenge company's licence to operate

Shareholders will today challenge the licence to operate of Bumi plc, a newly-listed company on the London Stock Exchange.

The company has been accused of complicity in violence against workers, and the destruction of livelihoods and the environment.

Through one of its founders, Bumi has also been associated with the deaths and displacement of people in Indonesia, and allegations of corruption, bribery and tax evasion.

The challenge – by the groups the London Mining Network, Down to Earth and War on Want – will take place at the first annual general meeting of Bumi plc at the Institute of Directors in London.

They will demand Bumi’s leadership takes responsibility for what the groups brand “a legacy of abuse”.

The company is led by Indonesian businessman Samin Tan, the Bakrie family - headed by Indonesian presidential contender Aburizal Bakrie - and Bumi founder-turned-director Nat Rothschild.

Following recent calls to investigate allegations of corruption related to FTSE 100 mining group Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, shareholders will ask questions about similar allegations of corruption, bribery and tax evasion against the Bakrie family and Bumi Resources, which is part-owned by Bumi plc.

Despite the apparent respectability acquired by the company's listing on the London Stock Exchange, activists point to communities’ six-year wait for proper compensation after the Bakrie family’s subsdiary PT Lapindo Brantas allegedly caused a mud flow disaster which left 14 people dead and 30,000 forced out of their homes.

Bumi also faces heavy criticism in the wake of reports that Indonesian security forces, serving the firm’s interests, inflicted severe beatings on 20 workers protesting against its failure to implement a human rights agreement in Bumi’s Kaltim Prima Coal mines.

The groups blame the company for wrecking livelihoods and causing environmental disaster in the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan by displacing communities and stripping the forests of Borneo for coal.

Graciela Romero, international programmes director at War on Want, said: “Bumi says its board recognises setting high standards of corporate responsibility is integral to sustainable growth. But its social and environmental record betrays the company’s hollow commitments. It is high time the British government set up strong mechanisms to hold accountable London-listed companies such as Bumi for their human rights and environmental violations and provide access to justice and reparation to victims of corporate abuses.”

Andrew Hickman, campaigner at Down to Earth, said: “Following David Cameron's recent visit to Indonesia to promote business links with ‘one of the world's most important democracies’, it is shocking that the UK government is still failing to adequately regulate the London Stock Exchange, allowing companies such as Bumi plc to take advantage of the investments of UK shareholders, while being associated with allegations of deaths, environmental destruction and undermining governance in Indonesia.”

Kahar Al Bahri, from JATAM Kaltim, the East Kalimantan Mining Advocacy Network, said: “Bumi plc shareholders should know that this company is involved in an ongoing corruption case, in evicting indigenous people from their land, and in a serious case of pollution and destruction of coral reefs in a marine conservation area. Can they sit in the AGM and stay silent about these serious impacts in Indonesia?”

A recent report by the London Mining Network - UK listed mining companies and the case for stricter oversight - questions standards set for companies such as Bumi plc that enable them to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The report is at http://londonminingnetwork.org/docs/lmn-the-case-for-stricter-oversight.pdf

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media officer (+44) (0)20 7324 5054 or (+44) (0)7983 550728 pcollins@waronwant.org

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