Vedanta: time to give up on Niyamgiri mine
|Protesters gathered outside Vedanta’s 2011 AGM.|
FTSE100 company Vedanta Resources faced vocal protests from Survival and other groups telling the company to give up on their notorious Niyamgiri mine in Orissa, India.
Vedanta was denied permission to mine in the Niyamgiri Hills, home of the Dongria Kondh tribe who have been vigorously protesting against the mine. Now the issue has returned to India’s Supreme Court. At today’s AGM the company was told by protesters inside and outside the meeting to respect the stance of both the government and the Dongria Kondh and to give up on the Niyamgiri mine.
Actor and Survival supporter Michael Palin, who has visited the Dongria Kondh, said today, ‘I am very disappointed that the decision to stop Vedanta’s mine by India’s Environment Minister is now being challenged in the Courts. Vedanta needs, once and for all, to abandon this ill-conceived project and respect the rights of the Dongria Kondh people.’
Several shareholders have disinvested a total of over US$40m from Vedanta in protest over the Niyamgiri mine project and other concerns over the company’s human rights and environmental record. Asset manager Aviva Investors declared in advance of today’s meeting that it would not support key AGM resolutions due to concerns over the company’s behaviour.
Stephen Corry, Director of Survival, said today, ‘When shareholders are disinvesting, and expressing serious concerns about company conduct, it’s time to reconsider policy. Vedanta should respect the resounding ‘no’ from the Indian government and abandon the Niyamgiri mine: it might go some way to righting its appalling human rights record.’
Download pictures of the protest in high-res: