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South Africans Lose Against Platinum Giant

Rural communities in South Africa are losing their farm land and clean water to the activities of platinum mining giant Anglo Platinum, the world’s largest platinum company. A new ActionAid report, Precious Metal: The impact of Anglo Platinum on poor communities in Limpopo, South Africa, focuses on just one of a number of platinum producers who have moved into Limpopo, the northernmost province of South Africa, where two-thirds of the population live in poverty and 40 percent live in “ultra-poverty.” According to the report, thousands of people have lost land and received little compensation in a series of relocation deals with Anglo Platinum.

 

What Can You Do?

 

ActionAid is calling on the South African Parliament to reject proposed amendments to the mining act that would substantially weaken environmental and social safeguards. Visit ActionAid to find out more about their work in South Africa and around the world against poverty and injustice.

 

Brilliant Earth’s precious metals, which include platinum, gold, and silver, are all recycled and do not contribute to environmental degradation, water pollution, or displacement of communities. Buy recycled to show your support for an ethical and eco-friendly jewelry industry.

Some of the report’s main findings:

 

Thousands of poor people in rural areas have lost agricultural land – their main means of livelihood – due to mining activities undertaken by Anglo Platinum.

 

Whole communities have lost access to clean drinking water. Independent water sampling analysis commissioned by ActionAid has discovered serious water pollution at four sites near Anglo Platinum’s mines, including two schools. Mining activities are the most likely cause of this pollution, which has made the water unfit for human consumption.

 

Villagers have been removed from their homes in relocation agreements signed with associations that the company claims represent the community, but which have actually been established by the company itself.

 

Community protests to improve services offered to villagers or to challenge Anglo Platinum over land take-overs have often been met with brutality by the police and legal action by the company.

 

Anglo Platinum is continuing to expand its mining operations in densely populated rural areas, which will result in further imminent displacements.

 

Thanks to our friends at Madison Dialogue for alerting us to the new ActionAid report.

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Comments:

keith bryer Says:
April 2nd, 2008 at 9:25 am

I regret to say that ActionAid — probably because it is either based in Britain, 6000 miles away from South Africa — has hitched its star to a very wonky wagon with its attack on AngloPlatinum’s treatment of communities adjavcent to its mines. Having read both the ActionAid report and the rebuttal published by AngloPatinum http://angloplatinum.com/investor_media/im_latest_news/Anglo_ActionAid.pdf it is quite clear that the houses Angloplat has provided are of a first class, first world standard and that 8000 people have moved into them willingly. The 26 resisting the move are playing a game of extortion. Also the independent water tests show pollution from pit latrines not from the mines which are, anyway downstream of the testing points.


B. Earth Says:
April 7th, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Hi Keith, thanks for your input. We looked into your concerns, and ActionAid has commented on AngloPlatinum’s response to their report, which addresses your questions above. Among other issues addressed, ActionAid states that:

“Independent water sampling analysis commissioned by ActionAid has discovered serious water pollution, harmful to health, at four sites near Anglo Platinum’s mines, including two schools. Mining activities are the most likely cause of this pollution, said the independent water analysis report, which has made the water unfit for human consumption.”

Please click here to read their response:
http://www.actionaid.org/main.aspx?PageID=1091


keith bryer Says:
April 10th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

ActionAid may be confident about its water quality testing but if they are it was strange to see them today disrupting a meeting of local, provincial and municipal water quality experts who were meeting to check the results against their own findings. I understand there is a mismatch. The meeting had to be cancelled when Action Aid who were asked to send an observer instead turned up with a crowd in specially-printed t-shirts and two camera crews. No doubt the truth will out eventually. So far it is anyone’s guess.


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