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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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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 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:

David van Wyk Says:
August 24th, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Dear Keith
Your attempt to reubbish the work of Action Aid in support of vey poor communities in South Africa really does not stand up to scrutiny. In the first instance Anglo’s alternative housing for the communities it displaces leaves a lot to be desired. I have visited both resisting communities and relocated communities and Anglo Platinum’s attempt to create an impression that the housing of resisting communities is poor is not supported by a visit to the houses in communities who refuse to move. Secondly communities on whose land the mineral is found are not compensated for the full value o that land becausew the compensation excludes the value of the mineral resource under the land. Black communities in South Africa suffered land dispossession as a result of mining under colonialism, they are now being bsubjected to a new round of land dispossession. Secondly, no one is costing the impact of mining on the environment, health and the cost of mining to food production as huge tracts of agricultural land dissappears under mining waste… if these costs to communities and society are calculated one wonders if mining is really as profitable as the industry makes it out to be.
I attended the socalled ‘disrupted’ meeting of which you speak. That meeting was initiated by Action Aid with the mandate of the communty with which it is working. It is interesting how the corporation, the socalled experts and local government immediately clammed up when the community sought to participate in the meeting.
I salute Action Aid for being prepared to work with the poorest of the poor in our country at a time when our government s frankly prostituting itself to accomodate mining conglomerates!

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