This is the Phulbari Solidarity coaltion letter which was read out together by representatives of six organisations who have cohosted a powerful green vigil outside of London Stock Exchange on 14th Phulbari Day on 26 August , 2020. Co-authored by the coalition cooridnators, this letter is an updated version of our 2019 memorandum – which was authored by Rumana Hashem, the coordinator of the Phulbari Solidarity Group and an eye-witness to GCM’s violence in Phulbari in 2006, and was signed by a coalition of 12 international organisations. The below letter has been signed by 30 organisations including 13 Bangadesh based and Phulbari community organisations, and 17 international climate and human rights organisations. As London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) security staff had rejected the letter, we have, as last year, posted the letter along with neccessary documentations by Royal Mail to David Schwimmer at London Stock Exchange Group.
The letter is published below with a full list of signatories. We await written reponse from David Schwimmer. We will not be fooled by any hoax and whitewashing emails from the AIM Regulation office. We would like to hear directly from the LSE communication office and David Schwimmer. Failure to reply in full to this letter would mean that the coalition will take legal action against LSEG for supporting fradulent business of GCM Resoruces.
Memorandum of Green Vigil to London Stock Exchange
Consider De-listing of GCM Resources from London Stock Exchange Immidiately!
Phulbari Solidarity Coalition. London, UK. 26 August, 2020.
Chief Executive Officer
London Stock Exchange Group.
10 Paternoster Square
London EC4M 7LS.
We write to you in regard to an urgent investigation and overdue de-listing of a company on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The company is called the GCMResources plc. (GCM), formerly known as “Asia Energy”. GCM is listed as a mining company on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investors Market (AIM). They are selling shares in London’s share market in the name of a project called “Phulbari coal project”, which does not exist. The company does not hold any valid asset to operate in Phulbari and does not have permission for mining anywhere in the world.
We would like to draw your attention to fraudulent activities of GCM, and would like to hand over some key documentation about the company’s unethical business, thereby asking you to undertake an urgent enquiry into GCM’s business and to consider de-listing GCM from LSE.
Under the banner of Phulbari Solidarity Coalition we are campaigning alongside groups in Bangladesh to raise awareness about the human rights abuse, ecocide, and fraudulent business of GCM, who want to build a massive open-cast coal mine in Phulbari, the only flood protected location in northwest Bangladesh. Due to severe level of human rights violation by GCM’s Bangladesh subsidiary, Asia Energy, in Phulbari in 2006 the government in Bangladesh declined to renew the company’s licence. We have written about this to you twice in the past (on 19 August 2019, and 26 August 2016). Yet the company, currently listed on AIM, continues to grab money by selling deceitful shares on Phulbari coal project’s name in London’s share market.
The Bangladesh government reiterated that the Phulbari project is unlikely to go ahead and that GCM will never be given permission to return to Phulbari or northwest Bangladesh for coal extraction. The government has overturned GCM’s right to operate in Bangladesh more than a decade ago. Speaking in August 2019 to the Prothom Alo newspaper, Nasrul Hamid, the Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources in Bangladesh said:
“Even in the absence of an agreement, GCM or Asia Energy is trading shares in London by providing information that coal would be extracted from Phulbari, which is false. The government has taken this into notice. The government is proceeding to take legal action against them.”
Given the LSE’s remit in overseeing the conduct of the AIM-listed companies, we are asking that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) undertakes an impartial enquiry into GCM’s unethical business and establish that the company holds any valid license for mining in Phulbari or abroad with a view to review the company’s listing within the London Stock Exchange.
We ask you to kindly respond to our call for investigation immediately and expel GCM Resources from London Stock Exchange .
GCM is one of a string of London listed mining companies linked to the murder and ‘massacre’ of protesters, including Lonmin, Glencore, Kazakhmys, ENRC, Essar, Vedanta, Anglo Gold Ashanti, African Barrick Gold and Monterrico Metals. We note the failure of the Financial Conduct Authority and the London Stock Exchange to investigate or penalise any London listed mining company on these grounds is bringing the LSE into disrepute.
The LSE has the power to suspend or expel a company from AIM for breach of the AIM rules . Despite our repeated calls to investigate GCM’s rights to business, the LSE is reluctant to do so. We had been at LSE with black vigil in 2019 and red vigil in 2016. But we have not been heard by you. From this green vigil and a wider coalition that stand with the people in Phulbari, we demand the London Stock Exchange must de-list GCM.
The 26th August marks 14th anniversary of the Phulbari killing when three young people were shot dead and more than two hundreds injured in a non-violent demonstration of 80,000 people who marched against plans by GCM in Phulbari. The day has nationally been called the Phulbari Day since. Powerful resistance in the aftermath of the shooting in Phulbari has put a decade long halt to the project. Following the killing of three young people in Asia Energy’s incited violence Bangladesh government has declined to renew the company’s contract to operate in Phulbari. Despite lacking a valid contract for mining, GCM is selling shares and cheating on the UK’s share market.
We have previously written about this to you, David Warren – the Chief Financial Officer at LSEG, and to Mr Xavier Rolet KBE – the former Chief Executive of London Stock Exchange. We have previously proposed for a meeting to discuss the matter in 2016. Nevertheless there was no response.
We hope that you will hear us this time. This is for the third time that we are writing to you. We ask you to stop listing GCM on the London Stock Exchange. Mining companies must be held to account and the London Stock Exchange is responsible to ensure that.
In support of our concerns we have separately mailed you with some key documentary evidence:
- Published statement by the Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources in Bangladesh.
- OECD complaint about GCM-led human rights abuse and corruption in Bangladesh submitted to and accepted by UK national Contact Point.
- Report on the cancellation of contract with Bangladesh government.
- Reports on GCM’s deceitful sales of their shares in the name of Phulbari Project.
- Evidence of GCM’s continuous violence and harassment of opponents to the project (see Annex 1 & 2).
If you need further information, please feel free to contact us (as per below contact details). We look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Alauddin, President, Phulbari Construction Workers Union.
Aminul Haque, Spokesperson, Phulbari Krishak Mukti Sangram [the Peasants Liberation Struggle in Phulbari)
Aminul Islam Bablu, Chairman (former), Phulbari Upazila.
Alejandra Piazzolla, Spokesperson, Extinction Rebellion Youth.
Alfredo Quarto, Director, Mangrove Action Project, US.
Angela Ditchfield, Director, Christian Climate Action.
Anne Haris, Coal Action Network, UK.
Hasan Mehedi, Chief Executive, CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network).
Hamidul Haque, President, Phulbari Kuli (day labourers) Workers Union, Phulbari.
Himel Mondal, National Democratic Workers Federation, Phulbari, Dinajpur.
Johan Frijns, Director, Bank Track.
Joy Prokash Gupta, President, Phulbari Kalimondir Committee, Dinajpur.
Kofi Mawuli Klu, External Co-ordinator, Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network.
Knud Voecking, Director, Urgewald e.V., Germany.
Manik Sarkar, Mayor of Municipal, Phulbari Municipality.
Md. Nurul Islam Fakir, General Secretary, Phulbari Rickshaw-Van Workers Union.
Nicholas Garica, Co-ordinator, Extinction Rebellion Slough.
Nick Bryer, Europe Campaign Manager, 350.org.
Nils Agger, Co-founder, Extinction Rebellion, UK.
Noga Levy-Rapoport, UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN).
Richard Roberts, Spokesperson, Reclaim the Power.
Richard Solly, Network Coordinator, London Mining Network.
Rumana Hashem, Co-ordinator, Phulbari Solidarity Group.
Samarendra Das, Chair, Foil Vedanta.
Sam Knights, Spokesperson, Labour Campaign for Human Rights.
Sanjit Prasad Jitu, Spokesperson, Phulbari Chapter of National Committee of Bangladesh.
Sakhoyat Hossain, General Secretary, Phulbari Dokan Employees Union (Local Business and Entrepreneurs Association in Phulbari) .
Sara Cordovez Lopez, Spokesperson, Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity.
Shafiul Islam, President, Phulbari Upazila Decorator Workers Union.
SM Nuruzman, General Secretary, Trade Union Center of Dinajpur District, Dinajpur.
Syed Saiful Islam Jewel, Convener, National Committee for Protection of Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources and Power Ports. Phulbari.