Protestors at Zambian High commission in London demand KCM publishes profits and taxes

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Protestors from various organisations demanding KCM published profits and taxes
Protestors from various organisations demanding KCM published profits and taxes

On Wednesday 9th April more than 40 protesters from Foil Vedanta(1), the Afrikan diaspora(2) and other organisations in London chanted, played drums and held banners and placards outside the Zambia High Commission in London.

Concerns

  1. Protesters demand KCM annual reports are made public, and compensation paid to communities poisoned by polluted water.
  2. Vedanta’s share prices are falling due to opposition to their operations all over the world, for undervaluing resources and violating laws.

The protestors demanded that some of the revelations in Foil Vedanta’s groundbreaking report Copper Colonialism: Vedanta KCM and the copper loot of Zambia(3) are addressed by Vedanta and the Zambian government, and asked the UK Government to formally investigate the company. Meanwhile Vedanta may be about to de-list from the London Stock Exchange as Chair Anil Agarwal becomes the 70% owner by buying up shares in the suffering company.

Protesters at the Zambian High Commission held a banner reading ‘Vedanta plunders, Zambia bleeds and placards asking the UK government to bring Anil Agarwal to trail. Loud and rhythmic drums and megaphone chants echoed in the streets during the vibrant demonstration. A delegation met the Deputy High Commissioner and handed over a copy of the report in the presence of Zambian TV and diplomats. The delegation pledged to assist the Zambian government in monitoring Vedanta and making links with its operations in other parts of the world to understand its pattern of operation. The protesters called for Vedanta and the Zambian government to release KCM’s annual reports, containing figures on profits and tax payment, which are currently kept secret. Figures from Vedanta’s own documents, revealed in the report, suggest that KCM made $362 million in 2013, contrary to its own claims that it was making a loss and may need to be saved by the Zambian government.(4

KCM made $362 million in 2013, contrary to its own claims that it was making a loss

The report also highlighted that the true volumes of production and export from KCM are not known, and suggested that tax evasion scams such as transfer mis-pricing (undervaluing exports) and under-declaring production may be occurring. Protesters demanded an independent investigation into volumes of copper and cobalt mined, processed and exported from KCM’s plants, and their direction of export.

In the UK Foil Vedanta will continue to echo the calls of parliamentarians and financiers to formally investigate and bring Vedanta to trial for its environmental and humanitarian crimes and poor corporate governance.(5)

They will also demand that Vedanta is forced to pay the fine of $2 million served by Zambian courts in 2011 as compensation to 2000 claimants poisoned by major pollution of the river Kafue in 2006, and stop ongoing spills affecting Chingola residents. (6)

Finally, they joined the calls of KCM employees and former employees in Zambia, demanding that retrenched workers are properly compensated for taking redundancy, and existing contract labourers are unionised. Following the visit of new Vedanta CEO Tom Albanese in February, newspapers reported that Vedanta has come to an agreement with the labour minister that retrenchments would be stopped and casual labourers unionised1. Protesters in London will demand that this promise is fulfilled.

Since Foil Vedanta’s report was published in late January, Vedanta executives have visited Zambia more than four times, and claimed that the report is misleading and incorrect. However, as of yet no evidence has been presented by Vedanta to dispute the figures and other claims presented in the report.

Foil Vedanta’s Samarendra Das says:

“There is a clear pattern in the way this company operates across India – building projects without permissions, evading tax, de-unionising and illegal mining. They have also been found guilty of gross negligence leading to mass fatalities and major pollution incidents. The Government of Zambia must make KCM’s accounts and annual reports public. The Zambian people and the international community demand to know the volume of copper leaving KCM’s plants.”

Vedanta’s share price dropped by a third during 2013, prompting Chairman and majority owner Anil Agarwal to raise his stake in the company to 69.71% to keep the company afloat, and raising questions about whether Vedanta will soon de-list and become a private company. The loss of earnings was largely due to illegalities and local protests at Vedanta’s operations in India. In Goa, Vedanta’s iron ore mines have been stopped for the past year following revelations that they had exported 150 million tonnes of iron ore in 2010/11 while only declaring 7.6 million, their agreed export allowance. In Odisha, their Niyamgiri mine has been banned by the Ministry of Environment and Forests due to local opposition, costing them $10 billion in lost investments, and in Australia their Mount Lyell copper mine has been suspended following a series of fatal accidents2.

Francis Wambuzi, Chair of the Former KCM Miners Association(7) and resident of Wusakile township, located beside KCM’s Kitwe smelter says:

“KCM workers are being over taxed and under paid, and Vedanta has shifted the majority of workers onto contractual labour who’s union they do not recognise. Those who were retrenched from KCM this year as part of cutbacks have received peanuts in redundancy pay, just like the rest of the 752 retrenched workers in our group. Their factory chokes us with sulphur and we can’t even grow crops. Is this development?

We demand that Anil Agarwal answers our question: who is with-holding our severance benefits?”

100 workers staged a lock in on 17th March, refusing to come out of Shaft no 1 at KCM’s Chililabombwe mine because meals for overtime workers had been stopped by KCM management.
Picture 15

Picture 13

Picture 11
Note:

(1) Foil Vedanta are a London based international solidarity group focusing on the activities of British mining company Vedanta. We link up global communities affected by Vedanta, and hold them to account in London. We are currently aiming to make the case for Vedanta to be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange for their human rights and corporate governance abuses.
(2)Members of the Pan-Afrikan Society Community Forum, the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe and the Global Justice Forum will attend the demonstration alongside other groups.
(3)The full report Copper Colonialism: British miner Vedanta KCM and the copper loot of Zambia can be found at www.foilvedanta.org. The report, released in January 2014 has caused shock waves in Zambia and raised the debate on the way copper mining companies operate in Zambia.
(4) Excerpt from report (p.12):
KCM and other mining companies in Zambia don’t publish their profits, even though the Zambian taxpayer has a share in most of them via ZCCM-IH. However Vedanta’s 2013 annual report claims KCM produced 216,000 tonnes of copper in 2013. In the same year costs of production were valued at 255.1 US cents/lb, putting the total cost of production that year at $1.2 billion, which would constitute a profit of $362 million (at a current copper price of $7,300).
Analysts reports from Global Data reveal that KCM made 12.19% of revenue for the entire Vedanta group in 2012 so they are certainly not doing too badly.
(5) In a parliamentary debate on 28th Nov 2012, MP John McDonnell made the case for Vedanta and other ethically contentious mining companies to be strongly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, including possibly de-listed ‘because of their behaviour in the developing world.’3 Other parliamentarians, financiers and the former CBI Director Richard Lambert have also highlighted how Vedanta’s listing is used for legal immunity to hide their corporate crimes.
Vedanta was described in Parliament by Labour MP Lisa Nandy as ‘one of the companies that have been found guilty of gross violations of human rights’. Ms Nandy in her speech quoted Richard Lambert the former Director General of the Confederation of British Industries: ‘It never occurred to those of us who helped to launch the FTSE 100 index 27 years ago that one day it would be providing a cloak of respectability and lots of passive investors for companies that challenge the canons of corporate governance such as Vedanta…’.4.
Similarly City of London researchers from ‘Trusted Sources’ have noted Vedanta’s reasons for registering in London:
‘A London listing allows access to an enormous pool of capital. If you are in the FTSE Index, tracker funds have got to own you and others will follow. Both Vedanta Resources and Essar Energy are members of the FTSE 100. London’s reputation as a market with high standards of transparency and corporate governance is another draw for Indian companies. Both Vedanta and Essar have faced criticism on corporate governance grounds in India, and a foreign listing is seen as one way to signal to investors that the company does maintain high standards.’
(6) In 2006 KCM spilled effluent into the Mushishima stream, and the Kafue river, raising chemical concentrations in the river Kafue to 10 x acceptable levels of copper, 770 x manganese and 100 x cobalt. Thousands were poisoned, and a litigation on behalf of 2000 Chingola residents by private lawyers resulted in a landmark $2 million fine being delivered by judges in 2011 to be paid to the claimants5. However, Vedanta challenged the ruling and the case is yet to be re-heard while the fine remains unpaid. Affected residents are now experiencing birth deformities and severe health problems, while the Mushishima stream remains regularly contaminated by the KCM mine, leaving communities without clean water and suffering ongoing health problems. (See p.21 of report)
(7) The Former KCM Miners Association is a union of workers retrenched from KCM since 2000. They are 752 in total, and 235 of them were retrenched during Anglo American’s ownership of KCM (2000 – 2004). None have received the full severance pay they were entitled to, while those fired under Anglo have received nothing at all. The group have been campaigning on this issue for many years.

1http://www.lusakatimes.com/2014/02/06/vedanta-resources-dismisses-reports-kcm-reporting-false-profits-loses/

2http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/mt-lyell-extends-operational-suspension-workers-pa

3http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121128/halltext/121128h0002.htm

4http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120522/debtext/120522-0002.htm

5 http://www.southerntimesafrica.com/news_article.php?id=6423&title=Zambia%20warns%20mines%20on%20pollution#.Uzmx44VrCKw

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34 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Foil vendata and Afrikan diaspora for standing with Zambians in this fight. As for Zambians….are we too docile to fight for our rights? To the Zambia Police…can you see how a democracy works? No one was arrested,harrassed,denied services for carrying out a protest.

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    • Yes we are a fikaisova folk :(((
      Fact is I have been bleating-on about the danger of either a coup d’etat or at worst civil war for months…rarely posted. What Laura is saying is yet another WAKE-UP call. Like I said in my “no-post”, but for one people in Zambia the rest settled for refuge. It is perhaps in our DNA to be so humble, so tolerant, so meek, yes sooo DEPENDENT on the “Boma” – read FIKAISOVA-mentality! The country has gone to the dogs, carrying pangas on the streets, gun-totting at election rallies, bashing priests in churches, molesting Nawakwi on HER party premises, telling soldiers to “fire” when Lozis make a sound, demeaning the Bemba paramountcy, stripping provinces, cadre-menace in Lusaka West, reducing the constitution to the malicious POA, bone-head politics of effing

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    • @Mbiji where did you see a Zambian among those indians-rastafarians? Be-careful when you go protesting, make sure you have your papers in order

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    • where are the Zambians not only at Zambia house in London but the Zambians at home to augment this critical situation about economic plunder by these so called investors?

      Zambians wake and join hands with international community that is helping you instead of leaving everything to them alone.

      This is our war, our time, our wealth, our resources, our country… get up and fight!!

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    • Why protest outside the High Commission??? They should be protesting OUTSIDE VEDANTA OFFICES for crying out loud!!

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  2. ..effing the opposition, LYING to the youth about money-in-pockets and of course ACTIVELY condoning the abuse and exploitation of ZAMBIAN WORKERS in the name of FDI-attractiveness, approving mining in a GAME PARK, ruling via Facebook and government-aligned print-media and sneaking around, NO GOVERNING but beer-hall bragging etc!
    People these are direct out of the script “ The anatomy of civil war and genocide” !

    WE MUST WAKE-UP as a people, Levy died WHILST striving to better OUR lives, so each and everyone had the chance to say THEY ARE LIVING, they are humans – munthu ni mutu bane…staring in stupor or awe won’t save us from pending DOOM if we do not digest what Laura is saying – God bless Zambia!

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    • @Kwaku,not so much against what you have said about the overall situation but just a reminder that Levy brought Vedanta against the wishes of informed citizens about the mining industry and it was alleged that the mine was sold for a song when it was making profits! Levy also brought JW Mining to Luanshya with questions on how they were chosen to take over the mine. JW later abandoned the mine in the wake of falling prices in 2009 till the Chinese took over! Yes, Levy did many good things but we should not really forget the genesis of some of the problems we are experiencing today especially the issue of KCM.

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  3. Sorry am a ZWD refugee on the above theme. Now to this, when “Good copper , bad copper” came out few took it seriously but here we are now, the diaspora and concerned world-citizens are trying to help because we are too docile !

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  4. Reading this makes me feel stupi.d, KCM is stealing from my country and i can’t do anything about is, i can’t protest about it because of colonial raws such as the Public Order Act.

    And i think Zambia has one of the most dull governments-the crop of leaders that we currently have have no brains, it had to take foreigners to notice and act on KCM’s cooking of figures and walking away with huge sums of money from our natural resources.

    And why are borrowing so much money instead of closing up on companies like KCM and get what rightfully belong to us and use it to develop the country.

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    • From my rich back ground as cop at one time,the Lands law is clear on demonstrations and assemblies. We have some laws that govern us you don’t just wake up make some few call because you can afford and assemble for a meeting or demonstration,no bwana
      according to our penal code whether you agree or not. When 3 or more people gather together at some place for a period of time a wise and well trained law enforcer in Zambia must suspect a riot, charge them with unlawful assembly…ni pasa ndondo malume.Sharp cop,no further questions now you for you have your own selfish agenda that you want to promote you gather some few old innocent men and women not forgetting children to stage this unlawful assembly and when the cops come you,you ran away leaving them in trouble.

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    • Chikubabe…if you really a cop naba ku tamfya ku ma road block naka speed trap. Sorry but if you study the law you must see that there is some manipulation of it somewhere along the line.

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  5. Did they inform the Zambia Police before demonstrating? Oh, thank God they are in a democratic country and not a Sata-ic republic!

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    • In civilised world like the one we had under RB and Mwanawasa protestors are only supposed to inform police not applying for a permit.

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    • @Wanzelu that’s a good one, total fantasy. PF supporters were denied permits on a daily basis under Mwanawasa and RB. Sata was accused of terrorism through the press and arrested many times, and jailed twice on trumped-up charges which were subsequently dropped. Don’t you know your own country’s history or are you just out of a job/nice tick bite location for sucking blood, now that rampant MMD corruption has been stopped?

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  6. Why do people always miss facts,by the way in Vietnam a man was decently sent to jail for insulting government when blogging. Why is it taking so long to cage some of the bloggers on these on line medias. Some from the blues,you can even see how bitter they are against the people in power.We can’t all be in leadership but its one at a time..yakwibila bane mukati kwingilamo umo umo……tone down on your language,some of these issues are pure biblical..don’t you ever give yourself a seat in front it may be reserved for others,just humble yourself and you will be lifted….icipuna nikuntashi mukwai..uku cila ati iyoo imeni,on a wrong chair boss.

    O

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    • Ba Chukubabe – muli ishilu batata imwe. Are you not ashamed that the whole country of Zambia is not aware that Vedanta has been milking and it had to take foreigners to fight your battles?

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    • Ka lale chubabe…what ever…elo wasambilile fe computa…teku vitenamu kuno. Kalale…chi buleni will explode mwana. Free speech and all that mate.

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  7. We all know our P.F Government, is in the pockets, & being controlled by these K.C.M Bandits, otherwise how else are they allowed to Rape, & Pollute Zambia??
    When in opposition Sata’s mouth was the biggest Vuvuzela, promising to “Protect Zambians from these dishonest investors”, but now he’s in office he appears to have warmed up & forgotten his promise to protect vulnerable Zambians. At least for him & his officials its More Money in their Pockets!
    THIS IS MORE THE REASON MINING SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED IN THE LOWER ZAMBEZI !!

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  8. This is one but a few more protests planned. The next is on the constitution. As for participants, had the event been publicised alot more people would have attended, including Zambians, even though we know the shushushu were there from the embassy building photographing the crowd to identify Zambians for “VIP” treatment. We know its happened in the past.
    While on the matter at hand, on the BBC news it was broadcast that the British government is sending accountants to countries including Zambia, Nigeria etc to help on curbing the high levels of corruption and misuse of public funds. Depending on how one looks at the issue, but speaks volumes of what is happening in Zambia.

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  9. I was there! let this show begin. Enough is enough! Pew can mine this copper ourselves and stockpile it to cause a major shortage around the world!

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  10. Can these rastas find an alternative organization. Let one of those guys be flown to KCM to see what is on the ground. There may be some truths in what they are saying, but in terms of production, KCM is in trouble! I guess they are not as bad in Zambia as they are in their own country India, just like many Zambian owned firms get away with shortcuts in terms of statutory requirements

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    • If Vendata was purely British, none of this chaps with no time to shave would be making noise at the Zambian High Commission in London. If you have issues with Vendata, don’t use Zambia, the peaceful country.

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  11. More than 40? Looking at their video it seems like 10 people and 1 cop. Why not protest outside Vedanta’s offices anyway, is it a Zambian company that they should protest outside the embassy?

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    • I guess it is because the Zambian government is fast asleep and snoring. The protest outside its London High Commission is meant to make the sleeping government realise that serious theft is going on under their big flat noses, so they should wake up and plug the holes.

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  12. Cry mother Zambia
    Where are the leaders?Dont they know about this and what are they doing about it?
    Others who not even Zambians can feel for you and yet there is a government in place Bali Ndwiiiiii!

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  13. Tata ha UKO,I think nimwe mwe badabwa Tata, the truth pains. Don’t just think of protests,demonstrations,insulting think.

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  14. Not long ago Sata fired a PS from mines, Mutambo, supposedly for not articulating well govt. interest in the mining sector. The Post ran editorials to criticise Mutambo and other local professionals associated with the mining industry and insinuated a lot of things in the process. The dust appears to have settled but the looting seems to have continued. So where is the problem? KCM has prominent Zambians at the top in the likes of D Ng’andu, H Chilundika, Kaunda and so forth, what is their role?

    A question. Vedanta Resources is the suspected culprit and Foil Vedanta, the prosecutor on behalf of the voiceless. Are the names in both cases just a coincidence? When the copper loot report was out the first time, I was even confusing the two entities … Is that deliberate or what??

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  15. The Government of Zambia deserves 80% of the blame. Before the copper leaves the country, custom agents can weigh the copper and forward the documentation to the Ministry of Energy and Water Development and ZRA, who would in turn compare the data against the company’s revenue. If you give a company the room to cheat, they will cheat. Every transaction must be tracked & verified from production to export to sale.

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  16. A corrupt govt meets a corrupt company, because a corrupt company knew a corrupt govt was steeped in corruption and would not be detected.

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  17. When one reads the blogs it becomes apparent why Zambians cannot move forward; they concentrate on the smoke rather than the fire. attacking each other and veering the subject matter completely. Here are issues to ruminate about:
    1.0 KCM’s failure to declare actual profits – we are losing tax revenue & windfall tax.
    2.0 Pollution – KCM in 2006 polluted kafue river and were fined $2 m; dragging the the case thru appeals till now not paid up – it says a lot about there CSR; its non existent. compare with samanedra’s view.
    3.0 labour relations – workers morale is very low in KCM going by franc’s view. retrenched workers [752] from 2000 not paid full severance dues.
    These are issues as Zambians, we should solemnly reflect on and seek to resolve; honestly we cannot call this investment…

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