Unmasking BHP: Communities challenge mining injustices

Source: London Mining Network

Human rights and environmental defenders from three of the countries that British-Australian mining corporation BHP operates in - Brazil, Chile and Colombia - are in Britain this week to share their struggles against the company's mega-mining projects. They will be London, the hub of global finance and mining, between 15-23 October.

Unmasking BHP is a week of arts, protest and discussion to mobilise around BHP's annual shareholders' meeting on Thursday 17 October. The week has been organised by London Mining Network, War on Want, Democracy Centre, Colombia Solidarity Campaign and others. Some religious groups, such as the Passionists and Columbans, are members of the London Mining Network.


Thursday 17 October, 10-11.30am Unmasking BHP: protest mega-mining & climate breakdown, QEII Centre, Westminster

Friday 18 October, 6-8.30pm Unmasking BHP: learning from mining-affected communities Institute of Education, UCL, London

Monday 21 October Resisting extractivism, mega-mining & climate chaos in Chile at John Smith House, 145-165 West Regent Street, Glasgow

The visitors will voice their demands of BHP in the aftermath of the 2015 Samarco mining waste dam disaster in Minas Gerais, Brazil, the forced displacement of communities surrounding the Cerrejón opencast coal mine in northern Colombia, and the vast amounts of water BHP is extracting at Escondida copper mine in Antofagasta, Chile, causing water poverty. These communities, like many in the Global South, are already experiencing climate crisis.

Opposing mega-mining comes at a personal cost for defenders in Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere, with an upsurge in death threats and assassination attempts.

Indigeneous leader Alvaro Ipuana is from Nuevo Espinal village in La Guajira, Colombia. Nuevo Espinal is one of many communities forcibly displaced by the giant open-pit Cerrejón coal mine. Alvaro is on the government's National Protection Scheme. Alvaro says: "I want to take the voice of the Wayuu communities, who have suffered damages for mining development to the BHP AGM. These communities have suffered environmental effects, in our water, and our food security. We are at risk, our own lives and the health of this population. And we want to make it known to international organisations so that they know that these minerals leave our territory stained with our blood."



Tags: Mining, London Mining Network, BHP, Columbans, Passionists, Alvaro Ipuana

We Need Your Support

ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.

Please support our journalism by donating today.