New Year card for Vedanta’s shareholders predicts Indian tribe’s destruction

The New Year card Survival sent to Vedanta shareholders: \They couldn\t do it without you.\
The New Year card Survival sent to Vedanta shareholders: \They couldn\t do it without you.\
© Survival

Key shareholders in British mining giant Vedanta Resources received a New Year card this morning, congratulating them on their involvement in the impending destruction of the remote Indian hill tribe, the Dongria Kondh.

Survival has sent the shareholders, including Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton borough councils, Standard Life, the University Superannuation Scheme and HSBC Investments, cards reading:

'With your help, 2009 will be a very exciting year. Vedanta Resources will use your investments to build a mine, devastate a mountain, and destroy a vulnerable tribe. They couldn't do it without you.'

Vedanta is poised to begin mining bauxite, the raw material for aluminium, from the Dongria Kondh’s sacred mountain in the Niyamgiri hill range in Orissa, India. Vedanta’s chairman Anil Agarwal recently told journalists that mining will begin in ‘a month or two’.

A mine at Niyamgiri would end the independence of the Dongria Kondh and other Kondh groups, who would lose the forests they rely on, their independence, and the mountain they worship as a god.

Vedanta has already built an aluminium refinery at the base of the hill range. The refinery has ruined the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of Kondh and other local people.

The Kondh tribal peoples are vigorously opposing Vedanta, stopping its machinery from entering the Niyamgiri area, blocking roads, and holding regular demonstrations. On Saturday several hundred protestors marched to the gates of Vedanta’s refinery.
Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘2009 could be the year the Dongria Kondh are destroyed as a people, or it could be the year investors decide that no amount of profits are worth destroying a tribe who simply want to live in peace.’

For more information please contact Miriam Ross at Survival International on (44) (0)20 7687 8734 or (44) (0)7504 543 367 or email [email protected]