Stop listing GCM on the London Stock Exchange

The green envelop contained a letter of complaint about GCM’s fraudulent business, demanding London Stock Exchange must delist GCM Resources. It was submitted to London Stock Stock Exchange on 26 August 2020.

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.

 

 

David Schwimmer

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:

  1.   Published statement by the Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources in Bangladesh.
  2.   OECD complaint about GCM-led human rights abuse and corruption in Bangladesh   submitted to and accepted by UK national Contact Point.
  3.     Report on the cancellation of contract with Bangladesh government.
  4.     Reports on GCM’s deceitful sales of their shares in the name of Phulbari Project.
  5.     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.

With regards,

The undersigned:

 

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.

 

 

Joint Press Release: Blood, Coal and the London Stock Exchange

Marking the 14th Phulbari Day, Campaigners Demand GCM Resources is De-listed from London Stock Exchange

 

  • 26 August is Phulbari Day, marking the anniversary of the deaths of three young Bangladeshi protesters in 2006.
  • A coalition of activists held a vigil in solidarity with those marking the day in Bangladesh.
  • They presented a demand to the London Stock Exchange that GCM Resources be immediately de-listed.
  • Security at the LSE refused to accept a formal letter to David Schwimmer, Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange Group.

Yesterday transantional activists and climate campaigners gathered outside the London Stock Exchange in a somber vigil of remembrance and display of impassioned solidarity. Wearing green and laying white flowers, they observed the 14th anniversary of the killing of three young protesters, Al Amin (11 years old), Salekin (13 years old), and Tarikul (18 years old), who were shot dead on 26 August in 2006 while non-violently protesting the planned construction of an open cast coal mine in Phulbari, Bangladesh.

26 August ‘Phulbari Day’ is recognised in Bangladesh and is observed with vigils and commemorations by indigenous communities and anti-mining activists across the country.

GCM Resources PLC (formerly Asia Energy) are the British-based company behind the proposed mine. They continue to trade shares in their ‘Phulbari Coal Project’ today, despite having no valid asset to operate in Phulbari and no permission to mine anywhere in the world. In their 2019 Annual Report, GCM reveled that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Power China (the Chinese state owned power company) to construct a coal fire power station in Phulbari. The coalition of activists from a range of climate justice and human rights groups – led by the Phulbari Solidarity Group – London Mining Network, Labour Campaign for Human Rights, Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity, XR Slough, Foil Vedanta, and Reclaim the Power – demanded that GCM be de-listed from the stock exchange and no longer be allowed to trade shares.

 

 

Gathering to the sound of soft drumming outside the main entrance to the Stock Exchange, the campaigners proceeded to paint the names of the dead on a green banner in an act of commemoration. White flowers were laid and candles lit in their memory. The demands made of the LSE that GCM be de-listed were read aloud and, in keeping with the vigil also held today in Phulbari and across Bangladesh, a 3 minute silence was observed for Al Amin, Mohammad Salekin and Tarikul Islam.

 

The vigil was later joined by an elderly British-Bangladeshi group who were demonstrating outside of the London Stock Exchange after midday, under banner of the UK branch of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port in Bangladesh . Other groups attending the vigil include Extinction Rebellion Taunton, Global Justice Rebellion, and Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network.  The intergenrationl green vigil ended with soft drumming.

 

Representatives of the Phulbari Solidarity Coalition then attempted to deliver a formal letter (see Green Memorandum to London Stock Exchange) to the Stock Exchange, requesting that David Schwimmer, Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange Group begin the process of de-listing GCM and launch an investigation into their activities. The letter presented in a green envelop was not accepted by the security present. A copy was left behind at the entrance to the building and another to be posted to the LSE Group.

In their letter, the  Phulbari Solidarity Coalition alleges that GCM have engaged in fraudulent activity in continuing to sell shares in London based on a project that has no legal permission to go ahead in Bangladesh. Further, the letter suggests that the plan to build an open cast coal mine in the only flood protected region of northwest Bangladesh constitutes ecocide. The LSE has not previously acted to penalise any London listed mining company for alleged involvement in the killing of protesters. The coalition says this is bringing the LSE into disrepute.

 

Dr Rumana Hashem, co-ordinator of Phulbari Solidarity Coalition and eye-witness to Phulbari shooting said:

“ London Stock Exchange has shown no respect to us. By rejecting our memo, and not letting the post room accept our letter the LSE has rather proved that they support unethical business of British companies who can incite violence overseas.

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 business, the London Stock Exchange is reluctant to do so. The London Stock Exchange should de-list GCM immediately.

But I am inspired by the creatively powerful protest today, led by the coalition in which XR Youth Solidarity, XR Slough and London Mining Network played vital roles. This shows that Phulbari resistance will not die. Here on the 14th Phulbari Day, we are growing .  Our struggles will continue as a connected resistance against coal mining. We will come back to London Stock Exchange until the day this company has been delisted.”

Ian Byrne MP said,

“I fully support the protest outside the London Stock Exchange today and stand in solidarity with the Bangladeshi people. The United Kingdom cannot be complicit in human rights abuses abroad and we have a responsibility to better regulate our financial industries in a just transition to a more green and sustainable future.”

Sara Cordovez of Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity said:

“As XR Youth Solidarity, we stand with the Phulbari Solidarity Group in marking the 14th anniversary of the Phulbari Day shooting. The human beings who were murdered, Al Amin (11 yo), Mohammad Salekin (13 yo), and Tarikul Islam (18 yo), were all youth: their deaths represent the most violent manifestation a system that actively silences the youth’s ability to cause a radical shift from corporate neoliberal extractivist enterprise. As a united global youth community, we mourn for the futures that were taken away from them by the violence of the extractivist system we live in. For us at XR Youth Solidarity, Phulbari Day represents the undeniable link between people and planet: our global fossil-fuel addicted economy is killing people, directly and indirectly, and driving us towards the ecological and climate collapse, while leaving communities like Phulbari to mourn for the youth that stood against this fate. We stand united against GCM and emphatically condemn their continued listing in the London Stock Exchange.”

Speaking from the Labour Campaign for Human Rights, Mick Whitley MP said:

“The British-based coal company, GCM Resources, is showing complete disregard for the climate crisis that threatens our planet. Moreover it is trampling on the rights of the Bangladeshi people. I fully support the protest outside the London Stock Exchange today and stand in solidarity with the Bangladeshi people. The United Kingdom must not be complicit in human rights abuses anywhere in the world and we have a responsibility to properly regulate our industries in a transition to a more green and sustainable future, and that respects the lives and the rights of people everywhere.”

Of the campaign to de-list GCM, Richard Solly (Network Coordinator of London Mining Network) said:

“Since LMN was launched in 2007, we have supported the struggle against the Phulbari project. It is utter madness for GCM to keep pressing on with a new opencast coal project which would displace tens of thousands of people dependent on rural occupations, with no guarantee that they could find alternative work, and at a time when we know we have to stop burning coal anyway. UK authorities should not allow London share markets to be used to finance this kind of destructive project. GCM should be delisted.”

Speaking from Bangladesh, Professor Anu Muhammad, Member Secretary of the central National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Natural Resources, and Power-Port in Bangladesh said:

This is unbelievable that a fraud company like GCM which has no credibility even as a business house, rather it has blood in its hands, lies in their leaps, falsehood in their papers, poison in their activities- still enjoying support from British establishment to continue with these. This company has been cheating people in share business to make money in the name of Phulbari where they were behind killing people, on which they have no valid license, where they tried to implement a disastrous project, from where they were driven out in 2006  by a mass uprising  and never allowed to enter. 

Since 2006, in all these years they have been trying to recreate violence in the area, tried to mobilize criminals against community leaders, made false cases against them, but could not enter into the area. People’s resistance remains strong. These frauds should be driven out by British institutions including LSE. We are looking forward to seeing the trial of these criminals in Dhaka and London.”

Yesterday’s green action took place in solidarity with those in Bangladesh and mirrors a silent rally of the Phulbari communities in Nimtola corner. It aims to put pressure on the LSE to de-list GCM. If this were to happen, GCM would no longer be able to trade on the LSE’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), significantly affecting their funding and representing clear action being taken to hold the company to account. Campaigners point to potential fraud, harassment of local communities and the fact that GCM holds no valid license to mine in Bangladesh as reasons to de-list the company.

Despite lacking any contract with the national government, GCM have continued to move forward aggressively with their plans, which would displace up to 230,000 people and destroy up to 94% of the region’s agricultural land. Their 2019 Annual Report states that GCM have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Power China to develop a 4000MW power plant in Phulbari.  In May 2020, GCM announced extensions to strategic partnership talks for the Phulbari coal project in Bangladesh, they extended a joint venture agreement with PowerChina and the MoU with NFC by 12 months to January 2021, and recruited a local agency called the DG Infratech Pte Ltd, a Bangladesh company to lobby with the government and to get their dodgy deal through.

Speaking in August 2019 to the Prothom Alo newspaper, Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid 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.”

A short film of the vigil is avaiable here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avVbmZd4QQY

 

Press Contact:

To organise statements or interviews with any of the host organisations,  and for video clips from the green vigil please contact:

Saul Jones – Communications Coordinator, London Mining Network

e-mail: saul@londonminingnetwork.org

phone: 07928443248

Green Vigil at London Stock Exchange: Mark 14th Phulbari Day

Memorial of Al Amin, Mohammad Salekin, and Tarikul Islam in Phulbari. It reads: WE DO NOT WANT COAL MINE! AMIN, SAEKIN, TARIKUL, SLEEP IN PEACE. WE ARE AWAKE AND WIlL REMAIN VIGILANT.

Demand DE-LIST GCM from London Stock Exchange

Protest outside of London Stock Exchange

11:30AM – 12:30PM  on Wednesday, 26 August 2019

 10 Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7LS

 

This 26th August marks the 14th anniversary of the Phulbari Day shooting. On 26 August in 2006 three young people Al Amin (11 yo), Mohammad Salekin (13 yo), and Tarikul Islam (18 yo) were shot dead, and more than two hundreds injured in a non-violent demonstration of 80,000 people who marched against a London-listed mining company, GCM Resources Plc., in Phulbari. GCM want to build a massive open cast coal mine by forcibly displacing 130,000 people in Phulbari, the only flood protected location in northwest Bangladesh. The day has been marked as Phulbari Day since the murders of Al Amin, Salekin and Tarikul.

Powerful resistance by women, children, indigenous men, farmers and teachers against the mining company has in the aftermath of the shooting put a decade long halt to the coal project. The Bangladesh government has declined all contracts with GCM. But the company continues its dodgy deals. GCM announced extensions to strategic partnership talks for the Phulbari coal project in Bangladesh, they extended a joint venture agreement with PowerChina and the MoU with NFC by 12 months to January 2021, and recruited a local agency called the DG Infratech Pte Ltd, a Bangladesh company to lobby with the government and to get their dodgy deal through. Despite having no valid contract with Bangladesh, they are aggressively moving ahead with their plans.

If the mine is built, 130,000 people and farmers in Phulbari would be displaced, 14,600 hectares of highly cultivable land would be destroyed (1 hectare=2.58 acres), clean water resources be threatened and one of the world’s largest mangrove forests, the Sunderbans, would be damaged. In return GCM would enjoy 9 years tax holiday, would extract coal for 36n years, and offers only 6 percent revenue to the government keeping 94 percent profit from 572 million tons of high quality coal in Phulbari.

London Stock Exchange (LSE) is hosting this company. 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 there with black vigil and red vigils in the past. This year we are going with a green vigil. We demand the London Stock Exchange must de-list GCM.

In this Black August, Phulbari Solidarity Coalition stands with the people in Phulbari.  The coalition’s Green Vigil is organised by the Phulbari Solidarity Group, London Mining Network, XR Youth Solidarity,  Reclaim the Power, Labour Party for Human Rights, and XR Slough. We will be protesting silently with canvassing in the City of London. In the spirit of Black Lives Matter, we will pay tribute to the three black youths Al Amin, Mohammad Salekin and Tarikul Islam by Green Canvassing and art works by the youths.

Join us. Confirm attendance via:  https://www.facebook.com/events/220971732649471/

Communities in Phulbari are holding silent rallies in Nimtola corner to pay tribute to Amin, Salekin and Tarikul’s graveyard on 26th August. Civil societies in Bangladesh joined by the Phulbari Solidarity Group are hosting online protests and webinars on witnesses to Phulbari Day, demanding the government take legal action against GCM. Coinciding with the community commemoration,  we will hold a GREEN VIGIL at the London Stock Exchange (nearest tube station: St Paul’s). We will honour the lost lives by rallying and canvassing silently at the City of London. We demand London Stock Exchange MUST De-list GCM Resources Plc.

     JOIN US  at 11:30AM on Wednesday 26 August!

Wear Green as a symbol of Solidarity with Phulbari!

Wear A Mask!

Bring along your hand written placards! 

Use hand gloves.

We will maintain social distance but commemorate and protest together!

See you there!

 

Contact for further information: +447767757645,  +44 07903 851695.

Email: phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com, contact@londonminingnetwork.org ,xry.intrrnationalist@gmail.com

 

Phulbari Solidarity Group, London Mining Network, Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity, Extinction Rebellion Slough, Reclaim the Power, Labour Party For Human Rights, Foil Vedanta, and Global Justice Rebellion.

#PhulbariDay #CoalKills #PhulbariResistance #BlackLivesMatter

Thousands Took Actions Against AGM of Miner GCM, Forcing Its Directors to Step Back

PRESS RELEASE: Phulbari Solidarity Coalition

21 March 2020, London

For immediate release

Three thousands climate justice campaigners from across the world have taken online action against the AGM of GCM Resources, as GCM planned meeting neglecting social distancing during London lockdown last Friday.

The four-fold online-action was launched on Wednesday 18th March to expose GCM, by a wide coalition of 13 organisations led by the Phulbari Solidarity Group, involving social media and mass-Emails which forced the company’s three directors and Executive Chairman Datuk Michael Tang to stand back from attending the AGM. Despite directors stood back, the company’s CEO Gary Lye who was appointed Alternate Director on the night before the AGM, has gone ahead with the meeting.

Climate activist of Stand Up To Racism held a handpainted placard as they protest online, on Friday 20 March 2019. Copyright: Phulbari Solidarity Coalition

GCM Resources, formerly Asia Energy plc, is one of the two London-listed mining companies that plan to build a massive open pit coal-mine by displacing upto 220, 000 people from Phulbari. Their 2019 AGM saw two postponements before it was held on 20th March 2020, at an imposing venue in the QEII Centre in Westminster. Bangladesh’s Deputy Energy Minister claims that GCM has no valid asset to operate in Phulbari, and that government will take legal action over GCM’s selling shares in London on Phulbari project’s name without permit.

In August 2019 the Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, made this statement to the daily Prothom Alo newspaper:

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.”

The Phulbari Solidarity Coalition had organised loud picket at the AGM of GCM for what would have been the 11th consecutive year. As social distancing is key at this time of pandemic, the campaigners have changed the event into online to avoid in person picketing. They protested online as a cross-network action for resisting mining, colonisation, the protection of indigenous peoples, land and environmental justice, and public health.

Some 3,000 Facebook users have taken action by holding placards “GCM:Hands Off Phulbari”, while hundreds were tweeting and calling on instagram #ExposeGCM. Others have emailed GCM’s official email, by calling on GCM’s directors and CEO to withdraw all legal cases against the community leaders, and to stop selling shares and signing contracts with external corporations on the basis of Phulbari coal project.

Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, the Phulbari communities outraged. In a written press statement, Joy Prokash Gupta, the spokesperson of the Phulbari chapter of the National Committee of Bangladesh, stated:

GCM’s AGM in London is insane and unethical. Its fraudulent business must be stopped immediately. Government must implement the 6-point demands of Phulbari verdict 2006, and take legal action against the company by ensuring harassment of and false legal cases against community leaders will be withdrawn immediately.

Sanjit Prasad, a community organiser who participated in PSG’s online-action via Facebook last Friday, said:

Asia Energy plc, thereafter GCM, has been abusing us since mid 2000. This company inflicted violence that killed three of our young boys in August 2006. Al Amin, Saleqin and Tarikul were shot dead. My co-worker, Bablu Roy, who was a van driver, is now in wheelchair because of GCM.  It’s CEO, Gary Lye, filed false legal cases against me and 18 community leaders in Phulbari and Dinajpur. Our Mayor is also abused by GCM. Gary Lye claims 1Billion Bangladeshi Taka from us for so called damage of his business intentions.

The communities had planned a long-march from Phulbari to Dinajpur against continuous abuse of community leaders, which was scheduled on 30th March, and now been postponed until the pandemic is over.  

Dr Rumana Hashem, the Chair of Phulbari Solidarity Group who coordinated the Coalition’s online picket, said:

GCM’s forced AGM indicates that it has scant regard for its investors. The London Stock Exchange guidance asked all brokers to avoid business last Monday and London is in lockdown. GCM’s directors have heard our online calls and they stood back but its reckless CEO went ahead. How is this possible for a CEO to take over charges of directors before an AGM? I had never heard of any other London-listed company to appoint alternate director the night before the AGM. They are running scared because they do not have a valid license for business. London Stock Exchange now needs to investigate whether the company is in breach of the law. What does the company have to hide, postponing their AGM at peace time and holding meeting during emergency lockdown?

Richard Solly, the Coordinator of London Mining Network, said:

I attend lots of mining company AGMs and none is as pathetically badly organised as GCM’s. Every time GCM holds its AGM, I think ‘this must be the last GCM AGM’. The company seems to have no licence for its planned operations in Bangladesh and there is massive community opposition. Why would anyone trust them to organise a mining operation when they can’t even organise an AGM in usual business time? They’ve postponed their 2019 AGM twice because of ‘security concerns’ being expressed by the planned venues. Didn’t they tell the venues there would be a protest? There’s always a protest! Why has our protest come as a surprise? Would you trust these people to sell you a used car? I wouldn’t!

 

Despite no contract GCM have signed three Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chinese companies attempting at coal mining in Phulbari in 2019. Ahead of the GCM AGM on Friday, their share price indicated a significant decline from a high of around 28.25 GBX* in March 2019 to a lowly figure of 7.10 GBX* at close of trade. GCM’s share price hiked upto 2 GBX after the AGM.

Friday’s four-fold Online-Action was co-hosted by the Global Justice Rebellion, London Mining Network,  XR Universities, Environmental Justice Bloc, Labour Campaign for Human Rights, Extinction Rebellion International Solidarity Network, XR Youth, XR Slough, Extinction Rebellion London, XR Scotland, and Extinction Rebellion. The action was supported by 350.org, Stand Up To Racism, No Tar Sands,Christian Climate Action, and Urgewald.

 

 

 

Media contacts

Darren Gens, Phulbari Solidarity Group: phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com,  +44 (0) 753356963.

 

Notes to Editors

GCM Resources (then ‘Asia Energy’) is listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange in 2004, following the granting of a two year permit (license) from the Bangladesh Energy Department’s Bureau of Mineral Resource Development on 27 January 2004 for exploration and surveying of a 572 million tonnes open cast coal mine at Phulbari in Dinajpur, Northwest Bangladesh. A Scheme of Development was submitted to the Government of Bangladesh in 2005 but has never received approval. The original permit expired on 27 January 2006 and has not been renewed, yet the company has continued to sell shares and raise capital in London based on claims that a contract will be forthcoming. GCM Resources has no other assets or projects in its portfolio.3

On 26 August 2006 three young people – Al Amin (11 yo), Mohammad Salqin (13 yo) and Tarikul Islam (18 yo) were shot dead, and more than two hundred injured by paramilitary forces in a peaceful demonstration of 80,000 people against the mine.(4) Phulbari communities maintain that GCM is responsible for the murder of three young boys and 220 injured in a 2006 demonstration. Annual ‘Phulbari Day’ rallies have been held every year in Phulbari and across Bangladesh, commemorating the deaths and protesting the company’s continued plans. In December 2019 the communities in Phulbari have handed a memo to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (who is also Bangladesh’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources) via the UNO, asking her to take legal action against GCM immediately.

Earlier this month, on 9th March, Phulbari communities have demonstrated in the town centre opposing GCM’s London AGM, and demanding trial of its officials, to withdraw false cases against community organisers, and full implementation of their six-point agreement with the government. The two-hour demo also demanded that the government must take legal action against GCM immediately.

In support of the communities, last year activists had glued themselves to the entrance of the AGM preventing some shareholders from entering. This year the Phulbari Solidarity Coalition had organised loud picketing at the AGM of the AIM-listed GCM Resources. Protesters planned to demand that GCM is de-listed from the London Stock Exchange as it has no viable asset to its name, and has not held a license for coal exploration or mining in Bangladesh since 2006. Inside the AGM, dissident shareholders would again dominate the meeting, accusing the company of misleading shareholders and the London Stock Exchange. The in person picket has transformed into online action as protesters, in their good conscience, would not risk Covid-19 pandemic.

[ii] Facebook solidarity action: https://www.facebook.com/events/207936613748475/

[iii] Sample letter to GCM’s directors: https://phulbarisolidaritygroup.blog/2020/03/20/call-on-gcms-directors-and-ceo-to-handsoff-phulbari/

[iv] See report of 2018 AGM protest here: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/environmental-activists-confront-coal-mining-executives-at-shareholders%27-meeting-in-london

Call on GCM’s Directors and CEO to #HandsOffPhulbari

The below is a suggested format of the letter to GCM’s Directors and the CEO. To personalise and to flood the GCM’s directors, CEO and communication and media inboxes, please Feel Free to edit, amend and rephrase the letter.  Thanks.

 

20 March 2020, London.

Gary Norman Lye

Alternate Director and CEO

&

Datuk Michael Tang

Executive Chairman

GCM Resources plc.

Piccadilly Circus, London, UK.

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7290 1630

Email: info@gcmplc.com

GCM: HANDS OFF PHULBARI

Dear Mr Gary Norman Lye and Datuk Michael Tang,

I write as your company are selling shares in the London Stock Exchange on Phulbari coal mine’s name, for 14 years without permit to operate in Phulbari in Bangladesh.

The Global Coal Management (GCM) Resources plan to build a massive open cast coal mine by displacing upto 220, 000 people and polluting 14, 600 hectares of fertile land (1 hectare is equal to 2.471 acres or 10,000 square metres) from Bangladesh’s only flood protected area.  For the people in the region, this project would mean losing their livelihood and identities because the mining would disperse the communities. It would also impact upto 50,000 indigenous people from the area and the world’s largest mangrove forests, the Sundarbans.

GCM Resources, then ‘Asia Energy’, was listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange in 2004, following the granting of a two-year permit (license) from the Bangladesh Energy Department’s Bureau of Mineral Resource Development on 27 January 2004 for exploration and surveying of a 572 millions tons open cast coal mine at Phulbari in Dinajpur, Northwest Bangladesh. A Scheme of Development was submitted to the Government of Bangladesh in 2005 but has never received approval. The original permit has expired on 27 January 2006 and has not been renewed, yet the company has continued to sell shares and raise capital in London share market, based on claims that a contract will be forthcoming. GCM Resources has no other assets or projects in its portfolio.

Phulbari communities maintain that GCM is responsible for the murder of three young boys and 200 injured in a 2006 demonstration in Phulbari, where 80,000 people marched against the company. They also say that you, Gary Lye as the CEO of the company, have filed false legal cases against community leaders, including the Mayor of Dinajpur, in Dinajpur judge court claiming 1 Billion Bangladeshi Taka from the community, because you were stopped from returning to Phulbari after the shooting and for damage to GCM’s fraudulent business intentions.  In December 2019 the communities in Phulbari have handed a memo to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, (who is also Bangladesh’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources) via the UNO, asking her to take legal action against your company, immediately.

Bangladesh government “is proceeding to take legal action against” your company. The Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, made this statement to the daily Prothom Alo newspaper on 23 August 2019.

In this context,  I would like to ask you to take your hands off Phulbari, withdraw all false cases against the community leaders in Phulbari and Dinajpur, compensate the victims in Phulbari shooting 2006, and stop selling shares in Phulbari coal project’s name, and stop signing Memorandum of Understanding with external corporations without permit, immediately.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Cc.

1. Keith Fulton

Finance Director

GCM Resources plc.

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7290 1630

Email: info@gcmplc.com

2. Strand Hanson Limited,  Media and Communications agents for GCM

Stuart Faulkner: StuartFaulkner@strandhanson.co.uk

Rory Murphy: RoryMurphy@strandhanson.co.uk

James Dance: JamesDance@strandhanson.co.uk

PRESS RELEASE: GCM postpones AGM *again*, citing security concerns

9th March 2020,London, For Immediate Release

Phulbari Solidarity Coalition

 

  • Controversial London-listed mining company GCM have postponed Tuesday’s AGM again, with less than 24 hours notice, citing “security concerns”.
  • Communities in Phulbari have demonstrated in the town centre on Monday morning opposing GCM’s London AGM.
  • Due to sudden AGM postponement, angry transnational protesters in London will join the occupation of Imperial College London for Democratisation, Decarbonisation and Decolonisation from 11AM-12pm, and discuss how to respond.
  • Bangladesh Deputy Energy Minister confirms that GCM has no valid license or asset in the country, and claims that the government will be taking legal action against them.

 

GCM Resources have on Monday issued this statement postponing Tuesday’s AGM indefinitely again, citing “security concerns” of the venue. This is the second time that the London-listed company have cancelled their AGM in three months, citing security concerns. Last December’s meeting was cancelled 36 hours before it was due to take place, also citing security concerns1. In Phulbari and London, communities are angry because of GCM’s decision to postpone the AGM, which they say, is becoming an institutional habit. GCM’s last minute cancellations indicate that it has scant regard for its investors.

Dr Rumana Hashem, the Chair of Phulbari Solidarity Coalition and an organiser of the London protest said:

Never heard of any other London-listed company to adjourn AGM so abruptly and repeatedly. GCM failed their shareholders last December by postponing AGM with 36 hours notice. They did not hold their 2019 AGM. A second postponement in three months, and at such short notice, means that London Stock Exchange now needs to investigate whether GCM is in breach of the law. What does the company have to hide, postponing their AGM for a second time, with less than 24 hours notice and again citing “security concerns”?

Dramatic protest and picket have been organised by the Phulbari Solidarity Group (1) alongside a wide coalition of organisations at the AGM of the AIM-listed mining company GCM Resources Plc on Tuesday as it has no viable asset to its name, and has not held a license for coal exploration or mining in Bangladesh since 2006. Instead of picketing at GCM’s AGM, for what would have been the 11th consecutive year, campaigners will now meet at the Imperial College London to discuss how to respond to GCM’s latest move, and will join the occupation for Democratisation, Decarbonisation and Decolonisation of the University from 11AM to12pm.

Rally in Nimtola corner in Phulbari on Monday 9 March 2020. Photo: PSG.

In Bangladesh, angry Phulbari communities have demonstrated in the town centre on Monday morning opposing GCM’s London AGM, and demanding trial of its officials, to withdraw flase cases against Phulbari community organisers, and full implementation of their six-point agreement with the government. The demo lasted for two hours amid a huge police presence. Communities are now organising a long-march from Phulbari to Dinajpur to be held on 30th March under the banner of the National Committee of Bangladesh to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources and Power-Port. The long-march will demand an end of speculation about whether GCM can obtain a license, to remove the GCM Resources office from Phulbari, and to take legal action against the company for fraud and harassment of Phulbari residents(3).

Professor Anu Muhammad, the leader of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports of Bangladesh said:

“People’s resistance against GCM is still strong despite an environment of fear and surveillance. GCM’s fraudulent and illegal business must be stopped immediately by delisting it from the London Stock Exchange to stop its continuing manipulation and corrupt attempts at coal mining along with Chinese companies, its harassment of community leaders, and preparations for violent crimes against people and environment in the form of open cast coal mining and displacement.

On 26 August 2006 three boys were shot dead, and more than two hundred injured by paramilitary forces in a peaceful demonstration of 80,000 people against the mine.(4) Annual ‘Phulbari Day’ rallies have been held every year in Phulbari and across Bangladesh, commemorating the deaths and protesting the company’s continued plans. Recently, GCM’s CEO Gary Lye has filed multiple cases against 26 community organisers in Phulbari claiming he has felt ‘harassed’ when he visited the area in an attempt to continue coal mining plans in 2014. Lye demands $2.6million as his compensation from the community representatives who stopped him.

In August 2019 the Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, made this statement to the daily Prothom Alo newspaper:

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 .”

He stated that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s clear instructions are that the government has no plans to extract coal from Phulbari, and the future extraction of coal would only be considered if any advanced and environmental mining or coal burning technology emerged.

Media contacts

To organise statements or interviews with any of the host organisations or case studies, contact:

Lydia James, London Mining Network: 07928443248, lydia@londonminingnetwork.org
Darren Gens, Phulbari Solidarity Group: 07309 556334, phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com

Notes to Editors

GCM Resources (then ‘Asia Energy’) listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange in 2004, following the granting of a two year permit (license) from the Bangladesh Energy Department’s Bureau of Mineral Resource Development on 27 January 2004 for exploration and surveying of a 572 million tonne open cast coal mine at Phulbari in Dinajpur, Northwest Bangladesh. A Scheme of Development was submitted to the Government of Bangladesh in 2005 but has never received approval. The permit expired on 27 January 2006 and has not been renewed, yet the company has continued to sell shares and raise capital in London based on claims that a contract will be forthcoming. GCM Resources has no other assets or projects in its portfolio.3

Phulbari communities maintain that GCM is responsible for the murder of three young boys and 200 injured in a 2006 demonstration. In December 2019 they handed a memo to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (who is also Bangladesh’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources) via the UNO, asking her to take legal action against GCM immediately.

Case studies and photos from protests in Bangladesh are available.

  1. Phulbari Solidarity Group (PSG) is a transnational activist network which exists to support and represent the communities located within the Phulbari region and across Bangladesh in opposing the plans for coal mine.
  2. The London demonstration was due to be co-hosted by London Mining Network, Reclaim the Power, Labour Campaign For Human Rights, Global Justice Rebellion, Committee to Protect the Resources of Bangladesh UK Branch, XR Youth, XR Internationalist Solidarity, Christian Climate Action.
  3. London Mining Network (LMN) is an alliance of solidarity, human rights, development and environmental groups. We work to support communities negatively affected by the operations of London-based and London-funded mining companies.
  4. See more information on the Phulbari massacre, challenging the invalid contract under Bangladesh’s energy policy, and facts about Phulbari coal project

Phulbari Resistance was made possible by Women’s Uprising against Coal Mining

Linking Climate Injustice to Women’s Struggle

By Rumana Hashem

This is a reporting from the frontline of climate activism in northwest Bangladesh, and an eyewitness to coal-led bloodshed, and women’s resistance against mining in a post-colonial location in South Asia.  The discussion tells us about the Truth – who should we save, on the one hand; and advocates for the need to change, and the need to prevent climate breakdown and environmental injustice, and killings by coal-mining and multinational corporations listed on London Stock Exchange.

 

Nurunnahar was leading the march after shooting in August 2006. Photo: Anonymous @Phulbari Solidarity Group.

The story is important on this International Women’s Day because it reminds us why and how women fight coal mining, at the same time how rarely women get recognised by the nation. Women in northwest Bangladesh know that coal doesn’t only damage environment but also kills humans. On 26 August in 2006 three young people were shot dead and over 200 injured in Phulabri when paramilitary forced opened fire on a demonstration of more than 80,000 people who marched against a coal-mine proposed to be built by a British mining company, Asia Energy, thereafter the toxic Global Coal Management (GCM) Resources Plc.

The Global Coal Management plans to extract 572millions tons coal from Phulbari  and wants to build a massive open cast coal mine by displacing upto 220, 000 people and polluting 14, 600 hectares of fertile land (1 hectare is equal to 2.471 acres or 10,000 square metres) from Bangladesh’s only flood protected area.  For the people in the region, this project would mean losing their livelihood and identities because the mining would disperse the communities. It would impact upto 50,000 indigenous people from the area.

The three killed in August 2006 were teenagers aged from 11 years to 18 years. I was present in the spot and saw innocent children dying and people getting badly injured, while running away from the town as gunshots, tear gas and arrests continued in the afternoon on a sunny Friday. When most people had run away, a group of women peasants turned around and started to chase paramilitary personnel and Rapid Action Battle (RAB) who were torturing men, women and children of all ages. The fighter women were swearing at the male soldiers, Police and RAB, and running with their home made sweep, cooking sticks and bamboo sticks. The fight went on for nearly two hours and the BDR gradually moved away from the main road as women told them that they had no right to enter the civilian’s space.

Women’s outburst after shooting in Phulbari in the evening on 26 August 2006. Photo: Anonymous @Phulbari Solidarity Group.

Police enforced section 144 and announced emergency leave so women were then forced to go home. The night came with darkness and silences everywhere, and police played a role of industrial security guards for the British mining company. They raided houses in the manless town from 1am to 3am in the morning of 27 August. Everyone except the women and their children left the town. The mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmas had stayed in the town to protect their children. The fight did not end until we won.

People in Phulbari, Barapukruia, and all six neighbouring chapters took strike actions for five days. It was women who took on the leading road for strikes. Four thousands women in Khoiyrbari took over the highway and roads on 29 August and cooked meal in their handmade oven right on the road and stayed there with their babies, as young as 4 months old.  Nurunnahar, a sex worker, who chased hundreds of RAB and Police alone in the morning of 27 August, was the leader of all of us in the town of Phulbari.  Nurunnahar taught everyone how to be brave and told us never to give up.

Nobody gave in. The men and children joined the women’s march, and continued strike actions till 31 August when government signed the six-point demand, ensuring that no mine will be built in Phulbari without public consent. People’s verdict won.

Families of the victims and women peasants protesters march towards Shahid Minar, the memorial of the three killed, in Phulbari to pay tribute. 26 August 2015. Photo: Anonymous @Phulbari Solidarity Group.

Government has cancelled the deal with the company. The controversial GCM is a London-based AIM-listed extractive company, who do not have any valid asset anywhere. They do not hold a valid contract with Bangladesh since September 2006. People have put a halt to the mine for more than 13 years. But GCM are selling shares on Phulbari coal project’s name. They are to hold their AGM again this Tuesday on 10th March. This will be resisted. Women and men in Phulbari town will be demonstrating against the AGM of GCM on Monday 9th March. In London, we will convey the message from Phulbari communities at the AGM of GCM, by holding a picket outside of the venue.

The Phulbari women know that coal mining is not about progression or development, it is about profit. Women continue to resist GCM and any plans for extractions in Barapukuria, and the neighbourhood of Phulbari. Nontheless, women’s contributions get rarely recognised by the male leadership in Bangladesh.

We should not forget the invaluable contributions of women in Phulbari resistance. The narrative of anti-coal mine struggle in the South Asian country illustrates the links between climate injustices, the power of anti-coal struggles, and women’s organising in the global South, in this case, Bangladesh. We must not undermine the resistance movement and women’s power to halt the massive open cast coal mine.

Women are marching against GCM’s proposed Phulbari coal project in Phulbari. 26 August 2016. Photo: Anonymous @Phulbari Solidarity Group.

We will be joining the picket against GCM’s AGM in London as our duty to stand with the women, men and children in Phulbari. Everyone is invited to join the demo and picket at 9am on Tuesday 10th March at Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London, SE1 9DD. Join us!

Further details is available on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/698989857304401/

PRESS RELEASE:Protesters in London and Bangladesh oppose AGM of GCM Resources Plc

                 For immediate release

6 March 2020, London.

  • Loud and dramatic protests will be held outside of GCM Resources’ rescheduled AGM on Tuesday 10th March between 9am-11.30am at Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London, SE1 9DD, after GCM Resources announces date with just 9 days notice.
  • The London-listed mining company has cancelled their last year’s meeting with 36 hours notice, citing ‘security’ concerns.
  • Communities in Phulbari, Bangladesh, are marching against the GCM’s AGM on Monday 9 March, demanding that the Bangladeshi government take immediate legal action against the AIM-listed company.
  • Bangladesh’s Deputy Energy Minister confirms that GCM has no valid license or asset in the country, and claims that the government will be taking legal action against them.

 

Copyright @Global Justice Rebellion, Phulbari Solidarity Coalition, XRY Internationlist Network.

Loud and dramatic protests are being organised by the Phulbari Solidarity Group and London Mining Network  alongside Global Justice Rebellion and a wide coalition of organisations at the AGM of the AIM-listed mining company GCM Resources Plc for the 11th consecutive year. Protesters will demand that GCM is delisted from the London Stock Exchange as it has no viable asset to its name, and has not held a license for coal exploration or mining in Bangladesh since 2006. Inside the AGM, dissident shareholders will attend the meeting, accusing the company of misleading shareholders and the London Stock Exchange. During GCM’s 2018 AGM, some activists glued themselves to the entrance of the building, preventing some shareholders from entering.

In Bangladesh on Monday 9th March, the Phulbari communities are demonstrating, under the banner of the National Committee of Bangladesh to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources and Power-Port, demanding that the Bangladeshi government take immediate legal action against the AIM-listed company. Communities in northwest Bangladesh will also be organising a long-march from Phulbari to Dinajpur to be held on 30th March . The long-march is  to demand an end of speculation about whether GCM can obtain a license, to remove the GCM Resources office from Phulbari, to ban coal mining and to take legal action against the company for fraud and harassment of Phulbari residents.

They maintain that GCM is responsible for the murder of three young boys and 200 injured in a 2006 demonstration. They had in December 2019 handed a memo to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (who is also Bangladesh’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources) via the UNO, asking her to take legal action against GCM immediately. As GCM had postponed AGM by habit of changing things at the last minute, seemingly to frustrate the plans of dissident shareholders, communities raged in Phulbari and in London.

Professor Anu Muhammad, the leader of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports of Bangladesh said:

“People’s resistance against GCM is still strong despite an environment of fear and surveillance. GCM’s fraudulent and illegal business must be stopped immediately by delisting it from the London Stock Exchange to stop its continuing manipulation and corrupt attempts at coal mining along with Chinese companies, its harassment of community leaders, and preparations for violent crimes against people and environment in the form of open cast coal mining and displacement.

Dr Rumana Hashem, the Chair of Phulbari Solidarity Coaltion and an organiser of the London protest says:

London-listed companies are required to hold AGMs within 15 months of each other, 14 months was up by 28th February. GCM has only announced the AGM on the 28th February, which is a rare occurrence in the London Stock Exchange. The Stock Exchange needs to investigate whether GCM is in breach of the law for giving only 7 working days to their shareholders to prepare.”

Dr Hashem adds, “People in Phulbari have lived under the threat of displacement, and with the trauma of the Phulbari killings for more than 13 years. The London Stock Exchange has continued to list and generate capital for this company, despite its total lack of any viable mining asset in Bangladesh. We are calling on the Bangladeshi government to categorically end the speculation, remove GCM’s office from Phulbari, launch legal action against them, and pressure the London Stock Exchange to finally delist this criminal and fraudulent company. It is time to end the suffering for the residents of Phulbari.”

GCM Resources (then ‘Asia Energy’) listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange in 2004, following the granting of a two year permit (license) from the Bangladesh Energy Department’s Bureau of Mineral Resource Development on 27 January 2004 for exploration and surveying of a 572 million tonne open cast coal mine at Phulbari in Dinajpur, Northwest Bangladesh. A Scheme of Development was submitted to the Government of Bangladesh in 2005 but has never received approval. The permit expired on 27 January 2006 and has not been renewed, yet the company has continued to sell shares and raise capital in London based on claims that a contract will be forthcoming. GCM Resources has no other assets or projects in its portfolio.

On 26 August 2006 three teenage boys were shot dead, and more than two hundred injured by paramilitary forces in a peaceful demonstration of 80,000 people against the mine.(5) Annual ‘Phulbari Day’ rallies have been held every year in the community and across Bangladesh, commemorating the deaths and protesting the company’s continued plans. Recently, GCM’s CEO Gary Lye has filed multiple cases against 26 community organisers in Phulbari and Dinajpur claiming he has felt ‘harassed’ when he visited the area in an attempt to continue coal mining plans in 2014. Lye demands 1billion$ as his compensation from the community representatives who stopped GCM.

In commenting on GCM’s contract, Bangladesh’s Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, stated to the daily Prothom Alo newspaper in August 2019 that:

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 .”

He asserted that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s clear instructions are that the government has no plans to extract coal from Phulbari, and the future extraction of coal would only be considered if any advanced and environmental mining or coal burning technology emerged.

According to GCM’s 2019 annual report and its Regulatory New Service submissions to the London Stock Exchange, the company signed an MOU with Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina) in November 2018 to develop a 4,000MW power plant at Phulbari as part of the One Belt, One Road Initiative of the People’s Republic of China. In January 2019, the Power entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with the GCM for the first stage of development, leading to a hike in its share price, despite the lack of government approvals for the project.

This year on 3 February, the GCM Resources stated another RNS that it has secured a GBP1.2 million increase to its existing loan facility of GBP 2.3 million with Polo Resources Ltd, raising the total loan amount to GBP3.5 million. This announcement has helped increase GCM’s share sells on London Stock Exchange. Shares in GCM were trading 0.5% higher at 12.06p each in London after the RNS.7

Contact

To organise statements or interviews with any of the host organisations or case studies, contact:

Lydia James, London Mining Network: 07928443248, lydia@londonminingnetwork.org

Darren Gens, Phulbari Solidarity Group: 07309 556334, phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com

Case studies and photos from protests in Bangladesh are available.

An updated press release will be available after the picket on Tuesday afternoon.

Video clips and photos from the protest will be available from 1pm on Tuesday 10 March.

Our Children Have Already Died – Correct Your Policy!

A letter of support to the Bristol amendment on climate and in solidarity with the vigil opposing 2045 net zero carbon date for the Church of England.

By Rumana Hashem

Hand-painted banner for victims of Phulbari shooting. Photocredit: Peter Marshall.

Three young lives were lost on 26 August in 2006 in a protest opposing coal mining and carbon emissions in northwest Bangladesh.  The children who have died were teenagers aged from 11 years to 18 years.

They were the residents of a green and peaceful town, called the Phulbari, that has turned into a town of uproar because a London-listed mining company wants to build an open-cast coal mine there.  In the face of Britain’s wrong policies on emissions, coal-crime and climate crisis, more than 80,000 people took strike action and marched across Phulbari in the Dinajpur district. The teenagers, Al-Amin (11 yo), Mohammad Salekin (13 yo), and Tarikul Islam (18 yo) were amongst many other young people who joined the march and were striking with their families and communities for a green planet.

Amin, Salekin and Tarikul were shot dead when the protest had nearly ended and people were to return home.  It was the paramilitary force who opened fire in favour of a British mining company, Asia Energy – thereafter, the Global Coal Management (GCM) Resources Plc.

The Global Coal Management plans to extract 572millions tons coal from Phulbari  and wants to build the project by immediately displacing 130, 000 people and polluting 14, 600 hectares of fertile land (1 hectare is equal to 2.471 acres or 10,000 square metres)  from a location that is Bangladesh’s only flood protected area.  For the people in the region, this project would mean losing their livelihood and identities because the mining would disperse the communities. It would impact upto 50,000 indigenous people from the area.

The families of the murdered youths search for peace in appreciation that the Bangladesh government will not let this project happen. The families and injured people in Phulbari bear the burns of the UK’s emissions and the climate crisis, though they do not know that it is the British government’s poor policy that enabled such killings in Phulbari.

Amin, Salekin and Tarikul’s families have not got a clue that England still allows similar projects, causing emissions across the UK and elsewhere. Their grief for and pain of losing loved ones are yet to heal.  Amin’s sister Hanifa told, recalling the memory of her little brother, that it was just before her wedding time that Hanifa has heard the news of young Amin’s death. Amin had never been to a strike before the UK Company, GCM, entered the town for mining. The grief, the emptiness, and disbelief remain in Hanifa’s voice as does the tears and pain in Salekin’s mum for 13 years. We hope that the Church of England can hear the cry of Amin’s and Salekin’s families.

In her tears, Salekin’s mum supports the cause of her lost child’s strike action. Salekin went to the protest with his uncle and took part in the strike because it was urgent to oppose GCM’s plans. Everyone has gone to protest in Phulbari. We stand in solidarity with them.

The deaths of Amin, Salekin and Tarikul are heart breaking.  The ballad of Phulbari is one of cruel climate injustice. My heart weeps as I write this letter of cruel murders of innocent children which I have witnessed in Phulbari. The children wanted to save their earth, to live, and play in their green play ground. They were taking strike action as coal mining would release carbon and would destroy their green land.

13 years on, despite the killings and brutal causalities, the UK government continues to make poor policies on emissions. The UK government let their mining companies, as GCM, to move ahead, to expand corrupt business and  sell shares for this coal-mining project on the London Stock Exchange. People on the ground have been led to believe that the project has been halt, though in reality the company operates with green signal from the UK’s National Contact Point. Britain let carbon emissions that would kill many more people across Britain and overseas.

Synod should make timely amendment to their net zero bill as necessary.

Please DON’T let more children die – End UK’s Wrong Policy on Emissions.

PRESS RELEASE : GCM AGM Postponed Due To Risk Of Protests

Tuesday, 17 December 2019, London, UK.

  • British mining company GCM Resources has postponed tomorrow’s London AGM due to security risk from protests.
  • In Phulbari, Bangladesh, protests today blocked roads demanding the Bangladesh government take immediate legal action against the company.
  • Phulbari UNO joined rally with community leaders and stated that the resistance movement in Phulbari is democratic and peaceful which demands attention of the government.
  • Bangladesh Deputy Energy Minister confirms that GCM has no valid license or asset in the country, and claims government will be taking legal action against them.

Phulbari Rally outside of UNO’s office in Phulbari on 17 Dec 2019. Photocredit: Biplob River Down

GCM Resources yesterday issued this statement postponing Wednesday’s AGM indefinitely due to the risk of protests threatening the security of the venue:

“The decision to seek to adjourn the AGM follows consultation with the venue over access and security issues, which has resulted in the venue being withdrawn as the location for the AGM.”

Loud protests had been organised by Phulbari Solidarity Group alongside a wide coalition of seven organisations at the AGM of the AIM listed British mining company GCM Resources Plc for the 10th consecutive year. Protesters planned to demand that GCM is de-listed from the London Stock Exchange as it has no viable asset to its name, and has not held a license for coal exploration or mining in Bangladesh since 2006. Inside the AGM, dissident shareholders would again dominate the meeting, accusing the company of misleading shareholders and the London Stock Exchange. Last year activists had glued themselves to the entrance of the AGM preventing some shareholders from entering.

Phulbari Rally outside of UNO’s office is joined by the UNO who came out of office and accepted the memorandum from the community leaders to be delivered to prime minister and energy minister of Bangladesh on 17 Dec 2019 . Photocredit: Biplob River Down

 

Meanwhile in Bangladesh, communities from Phulbari, Barapukuria and Dinajpur, many of whom are threatened with displacement by the planned mine, today demonstrated outside of the UNO (Phulbari District Office) and blocked the Nimtoli roundabout demanding that the Bangladesh government categorically end speculation on whether GCM can obtain a license, remove the GCM Resources office from Phulbari, and take legal action against the company for fraud and harassment of Phulbari residents.  Community leaders have handed a memorandum to Phulbari UNO, who has joined the rally himself and stated that “the protesters are peaceful and the movement is justified and democratic”.

The community memo also demands an immediate withdrawal of all arbitrary cases against 19 community leaders, which Gary Lye has filed in 2014 by claiming that the community leaders must pay him 100 crore Taka, Bangladeshi money (GBP 1 billion), as he felt insulted and faced reputational damage when community activists stopped him from re-entering the township. Protesters maintain that GCM is responsible for the murder of three young boys and 220 injured in a 2006 demonstration. They have handed a memorandum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (who is also Bangladesh’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources) via the UNO, asking her to take legal action against GCM immediately.

Professor Anu Muhammad, the leader of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports of Bangladesh said:

“People’s resistance against GCM is still strong despite an environment of fear and surveillance. GCM’s fraud and illegal business must be stopped immediately by de-listing it from the London Stock Exchange to stop its continuing manipulation and corrupt attempts at coal mining along with Chinese companies, its harassment of community leaders, and preparations for violent crimes against people and environment in the form of open cast coal mining and displacement.”

Dr Rumana Hashem, Chair of Phulbari Solidarity Group, who organised the London protests says:

“GCM’s postponement of their AGM shows that they are running scared from activists and academics who would expose the fraudulent nature of their London listing and trading on the LSE. People in Phulbari have lived under the threat of displacement, and with the trauma of the Phulbari killings for more than 13 years. Yet the London Stock Exchange has continued to list and generate capital for this company despite its total lack of any viable mining asset in Bangladesh. We are calling on the Bangladeshi government to categorically end the speculation, remove GCM’s office from Phulbari, launch legal action against them, and pressure the London Stock Exchange to finally de-list this criminal and fraudulent company. It is time to end the suffering for the residents of Phulbari.”

 

Phulbari Rally against GCM attended by Phulbari Labours and Indigenous Workers’ leader, Hamidul, on 17 Dec 2019.  Hamidul is a victim of two arbitrary cases filed by Gary Lye in 2016. One of these charges claim that Hamidul must pay 1 billion$ for Lye’s reputational damage in 2014.  Photocredit: Sanjit Prasad Gupta.

 

GCM Resources (then ‘Asia Energy’) listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange in 2004, following the granting of a two year permit (license) from the Bangladesh Energy Department’s Bureau of Mineral Resource Development on 27 January 2004 for exploration and surveying of a 572 million tonne open cast coal mine at Phulbari in Dinajpur, Northwest Bangladesh. A Scheme of Development was submitted to the Government of Bangladesh in 2005 but has never received approval. The permit expired on 27 January 2006 and has not been renewed, yet the company has continued to sell shares and raise capital in London based on claims that a contract will be forthcoming. GCM Resources has no other assets or projects in its portfolio.

 

On 26 August 2006 three teenage boys were shot dead, and more than two hundred injured by paramilitary forces in a peaceful demonstration of 80,000 people against the mine. Annual ‘Phulbari Day’ rallies have been held every year in the community and across Bangladesh, commemorating the deaths and protesting the company’s continued plans. Recently, GCM’s CEO Gary Lye has filed multiple cases against 19 community organisers in Phulbari and Dinajpur claiming he has felt ‘harassed’ when he visited the area in an attempt to continue coal mining plans in 2014.

In August 2019 the Deputy State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, made this statement to the daily Prothom Alo newspaper:

“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 .”

He stated that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s clear instructions are that the government has no plans to extract coal from Phulbari, and the future extraction of coal would only be considered if any advanced and environmental mining or coal burning technology emerged.

According to GCM’s 2019 annual report and its Regulatory New Service submissions to the London Stock Exchange, the company signed an MOU with Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina) in November 2018 to develop a 4,000MW power plant at Phulbari as part of the One Belt, One Road Initiative of the People’s Republic of China. In January 2019, the Power entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with the GCM for the first stage of development, leading to a hike in its share price, despite the lack of government approvals for the project.

      Phulbari Rally outside of UNO’s office on 17 Dec 2019. Photocredit: Sanjit Prasad Gupta.

GCM is not only selling shares on Phulbari’s name in London, the company 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. They have recently announced three new strategic partnerships with two Chinese firms – China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Company (NFC) and Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina), and a Bangladesh based company DG Infratech Pte Ltd. to develop the mine and conspiring in Bangladesh.

Wednesday’s London protests were to be co-hosted by the UK Committee to Protect the Natural Resources of Bangladesh, Foil Vedanta, London Mining Network, Global Justice Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion International Solidarity Network, Christian Climate Action and Reclaim the Power.

 

For further information, contact:

Lydia James: <contact@londonminingnetwork.org>

Phulbari Rally outside of UNO’s office on 17 Dec 2019. Photocredit: Sanjit Prasad Gupta

#ExposeGCM  #ProtestCoalMining  #PhulbariResistance