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Monday, April 19, 2021

Anglo American must Compensate Victims of Kabwe Lead Poisoning-Amnesty International

Headlines Anglo American must Compensate Victims of Kabwe Lead Poisoning-Amnesty International

Amnesty International says investors must hold global mining giant Anglo American accountable for toxic legacy of lead poisoning in Kabwe that occurred between 1925 and 1974.

Kabwe residents have some of the highest lead levels in the world – especially in children aged 5 years and younger.

‘The horrendous ongoing consequences of mining for Kabwe’s children should convince Anglo American that its human rights policies can only protect the company’s reputation if they implement them properly,” says Amnesty International’s Economic Affairs Director Peter Frankental said.

“The horrendous ongoing consequences of mining for Kabwe’s children should convince Anglo American that its human rights policies can only protect the company’s reputation if they implement them properly. Investors should take heed of the growing number of litigation cases against companies relating to the impacts of their operations decades ago.”

“The Supreme Court’s judgement against UK mining company Vedanta, has opened up the UK courts to claimants who cannot access justice in their own country.”

“There is an urgent need to clean up the toxic lead legacy in Kabwe, and to provide justice and remedy. Alleviating the ongoing suffering of Kabwe’s children, and its future generations, requires Anglo American’s leadership and engagement, not its evasion and obstruction.”

A group of African and British rights organisations have sent a letter to 10 of Anglo American’s leading investors including BlackRock, Fidelity, JP Morgan, Standard Life Aberdeen and Old Mutual.

 Children playing with bottle tops in the dust in Chowa township in Kabwe. The dust is highly contaminated with lead, which is extremely toxic. Photograph: Larry C Price for the Guardian
Children playing with bottle tops in the dust in Chowa township in Kabwe. The dust is highly contaminated with lead, which is extremely toxic. Photograph: Larry C Price for the Guardian

Anglo American is due to release its annual results on Thursday, 25 February.

Kabwe, a mining town in northern Zambia, was managed by the Anglo American group of companies between 1925 and 1974, when the majority of the lead poisoning was caused.

Evidence has revealed that Anglo American was aware of the lead poisoning.

The residents have some of the highest lead levels in the world and health studies in Kabwe have recorded the alarmingly high blood lead levels in children aged 5 years and younger.

Dr A.R.L Clark, a doctor on the Kabwe mine, found that between 1971 and 1974 blood lead levels of children were highly elevated across communities near the mine.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a blood lead level of 5 µg/dl (micrograms per decilitre) or lower, yet in Kabwe thousands of children have levels above 45µg/dl), with some above 100µg/dl.

Low levels of exposure can lead to reduced IQ, behavioural problems, hearing impairment, while high levels can be fatal.

Lead poisoning also affects pregnancy and can impair the development of the developing foetus.

Anglo America says it has high economic, social and governance (ESG) standards across its operations.

In an address at the 2021 Mining Indaba in South Africa in early February, Mark Cutifani, the CEO of Anglo American, said “humanity” was a key word for the company and that “people look to Anglo for leadership and assurances that a company can put operations aside and focus on what is good for the community.”

In October 2020, a group of Zambia women and children filed a class action lawsuit against Anglo American’s subsidiary in South Africa for alleged mass lead poisoning.

In response to the class action suit, Anglo American said it is “not responsible for the current situation” and “was not the majority owner of the mine.”

18 COMMENTS

  1. The PF government and Lungu will go to Anglo America Corporation and negotiate a settlement more than $40 million less. He will get a million dollars or campaign money for himself and tell ZCCM and the Zambian courts to stop any demands on the suffering of Zambians. He did it before, and will do it again. He does not care. The people of Zambia must suffer because they have a schemer for a President. He schemes against Zambians.

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  2. Mining is everywhere a polluting industry, aoart from disfiguring landscapes. I repeat, there’s no pollution-free mining.

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  3. I PUT IT TO YOU THE GOVERNMENT MAY HAVE DONE MORE DAMAGE THAN ANGLO
    NOTHING WILL COME OF THIS MARK MY WORDS
    WAS IT WRONG ABSOLUTELY >> BUT WHEN ZCCM TOOK OVER DID THEY DO ANYTHING ?? NO
    HOPEFULLY THE DUMPS ARE BEING REVISITED TO CLEAN UP >>>
    SO LETS LOOK FORWARD AND NOT BACKWARDS

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  4. GAY RIGHTS WILL BE RECOGNISED IN ZAMBIA WHEN WE MOVE OUT OF THE DARK AGES
    AND WHY SHOULD MANY BE HIDING IN THE CLOSET ??? SHAME ON THE GOVERNMENT
    THEY ARE EVERYWHERE INCLUDING THE JUDICIARY I BELIEVE
    BUT TO KEEP EMPOLYMENT AND PARTY MEMBERSHIP THEY FORCE TO HIDE

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  5. So this is when Zambians are waking up 21 years after Anglo left Zambia. Peter Sinkamba took Anglo to task in 2002 over the lead poisoning in Kabwe and you called him all sorts of names. All these NGOs were there when he was called unpatriotic Zambian. Sinkamba is truly a visionary leader

  6. @David M Mwanangombe, the pollution happened between 1925 to 1977 but the high levels of radiation still exist in Kabwe even today. That means you were exposed to radiation during your time but this radiation seem to hard children more than adults. Can I write in Bemba may be?

  7. So what about those who were affected after 1974. Why don’t you ask them also to compensate. They are very much around.

  8. THIS WILL ALL DIE AFTER THE ELECTIONS ITS JUST A PLOY TO GAIN SUPPORT
    SKIP THIS BLOG ITS GOING NOWHERE
    WAKE UP PEOPLE
    YOU STAND MORE CHANCE ASKING FOR A BICYCLE !!!!!!!!

  9. Slight problem: when the mines were nationalised the liabilities were assumed by the state/what became ZCCM. So the government, not Anglo, is the party on the hook. Which is why the people affected are unlikely to see justice done.

  10. TIKKI is an example of a stupidd black person, in America they are called cooons. They think white people are divine. Forgetting that in history Africa is who saved baby Jesus. Also started civilization. Cooons are worse that dictators because not only are they delusional and dull, but dangerous because they always sell national life force and assets to foreigners.

  11. DOES IT HAVE TO TAKE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL?
    Its a fight between multinationals and i will never understand how our politicians think in Zambia.
    We allowed Anglo American to get away with it over 25 years ago. Where was the MMD government under FTJ and RB?
    There are too many porous Laws in this country, thats why even, investors, politicians and criminals, get away freely with crimes. Does it have to take Amnesty International surely?

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