We Call on the Bangladesh Government to Implement Phulbari Verdict, Take Legal Actions Against GCM Resources, and End Coal Power Now!

Memorandum of 15th Phulbari Day Remembrance Rally, 26 August 2021

Bangladesh High Commission, London

28 Queens Gate, SW7 5JA.

We are here as transnational climate justice campaigners, representatives of Phulbari communities from Northwest Bangladesh, and anti-racist and anti-mining activists, to express our concern about the delay in implementation of the Phulbari Verdict, the banning of coal mining and coal-power in Bangladesh.

This 26th August marks the 15th anniversary of the Phulbari killings when three young people were shot dead and more than two hundred injured during a non-violent demonstration of 80,000 people who marched against coal mining in Phulbari and the displacement of 130,000 people from the region by London-listed Asia Energy, thereafter GCM Resources. The day has nationally been called Phulbari Day since. Powerful resistance in the aftermath of the shooting in Phulbari has put a 15-year long halt to the project. Following the killing of the three young people the Bangladesh government signed a contract with the people in Phulbari on 30th August, 2006. The contract, nationally known as the Phulbari Verdict, suggested that the government would ban coal mining in Bangladesh. The government thus overturned GCM’s right to operate in Bangladesh.

Despite lacking a valid contract for mining, GCM Resources plc (GCM) is selling shares on the UK’s share market. The company is currently listed as a mining company on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). They have extended mining contracts with two China based companies and they are selling shares in London in the name of a “Phulbari coal project”, a project which does not exist. This is an insult to the affected communities who lost their children in the violence in Phulbari. Selling these shares is also unfair to all Bangladeshi and transnational climate justice campaigners.  

GCM does not hold any valid licence to operate in Phulbari and does not have permission for mining anywhere else in the world. The Bangladesh government is fully aware of GCM’s fraudulent activities. 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.”

We have previously written about this to the Chief Executive of London Stock Exchange and we proposed a meeting to discuss the matter in 2016, 2019, and 2020. The London Stock Exchange wrote to Phulbari Solidarity Group on 1 September 2020 that AIM was looking into the matter. But there has been no progress since.

It is time for the Bangladesh High Commission to act on this. The High Commissioner of Bangladesh in the UK should take action and write to the London Stock Exchange, telling them to de-list GCM immediately. The government of Bangladesh overturned GCM’s right to operate in Bangladesh more than a decade ago, and wanted to take legal action in August 2019. It has been two years since. Government delay in taking legal action against the company allows GCM to sell shares on the basis of a fake project, Phulbari coal mine, in London’s share market. The Bangladesh government should take urgent action to prevent this from happening. The government should implement the Phulbari Day Verdict urgently.

Instead of implementing the Phulbari Verdict, the government is implementing four destructive coal-fired projects across the country. Despite nationwide and international outrages and outreach to the government to save the Sundarbans, the government is moving ahead with the 1,320 MW Rampal coalpowerplant planned for construction near the Sundarbans in Bangladesh. We understand that Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd (BIFPCL) is planning this project and a joint venture between National Thermal Power Company (NTPC) of India and the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) is going ahead, enabling an additional 154 industrial constructions to be built in southwest Bangladesh near the Sundarbans.

Likewise, the government is failing people across Cox’s Bazar coastal area in Southeast Bangladesh. The plans for the construction of a Japan-financed coal-power-plant, Matarbari Phase 2, in Matarbari will ruin livelihoods of communities, destroy three-cops land, pollute water resources, and harm ecosystems essential for farmers and fishermen and women in villages across the Cox’s Bazar. The government is also letting another China-funded coal-power-plant, a 1,224 MW coal-power-plant (currently under construction), in Bashkhali in Chittagong near Cox’s Bazar where seven plant workers were killed for protesting to receive their due wages earlier this year. Two Chinese firms – SEPCOIII Electric Power and HTG – are financing US$1.75 billion of the plants’ estimated $2.4 billion cost. This is happening via a US$1.739 billion loan from the Exim Bank of China. Previously five more people were killed for protesting against the same coal-power-plant in 2016 and 2017. Several companies are involved in the Bashkhali coal-power-plant constructions and killings. These include S Alam Group, PowerChina, and S.S. Power I Ltd. The latest incident of violence and murders on the premises of S.S. Power I Ltd. happened on 17 April. This cannot go on.

The government is also looking into other coal mining options in other regions in Bangladesh. In between, the government has allowed police to torture people in Parbatipur, for protesting against the Barapukuria shaft mining, within the neighbourhood of Phulbari. The mine workers in Barapukuria were protesting a pay gap by a Chinese company in 2011. Currently the government is looking into options for reopening Barapukuria mine through open cast mining. This is a complete violation of the Phulbari Verdict 2006.

We demand the Bangladesh government implement the Phulbari Verdict fully, immediately,  take legal action against GCM, and ban coal-power.

We call on the Bangladeshi government to urgently:

1.  Ban coal mining and fully implement the Phulbari Verdict.

2.  Take legal action against GCM Resources, urgently.

3.  Write to London Stock Exchange Plc. and the UK government informing them that the Phulbari coal project does not exist, and that GCM is cheating on the share market.

4.   Withdraw from the move to build coal-power plants near the Sundarbans and Bashkhali, and all coal projects in Matarbari and anywhere in Bangladesh.

5.  Stop plans to build Barapukuria open cast coal mine, stop the Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Ltd.  Corporate, and compensate Barapukuria coal mine workers who were tortured in  2013 and 2014.

6.  Consult the Alternative Power and Energy Plan for Bangladesh as a way forward for meeting energy needs of the country.

We ask the High Commissioner to convey our demand to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and demand that the government respond to our call immediately.

Sincerely,

We the undersigned:*

1.   Rumana Hashem, Coordinator, Phulbari Solidarity Group.

2.   Richard Solly, Coordinator, London Mining Network.

3.   Kofi Mawuli Klu, External Coordinator, Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network.

4.   Sanjit Prasad Jitu, Spokesman, Phulbari Chapter of National Committee of Bangladesh.

5.   Mafizur Rahman Laltu, Coordinator, Biborton, Dhaka.

6.   Sumana Nandi, International Coordinator, XR Affinity Network of Asia (XRANA).

7.   Aminul Haque, Spokesperson, Phulbari Krishak Mukti Songram.

8.   Abdul Razzak, Convenor, National Democratic Workers Federation.

9.   Alfredo Quarto, Program & Policy Director/ Co-founder, Mangrove Action Project, USA.

10.  Alauddin, President, Phulbari Construction Workers Union.

11.  Alejandra Piazzolla, Spokesperson, Extinction Rebellion Youth.

12.   Angela Ditchfield, Director, Christian Climate Action.

13.  Anne Harris, Campaigner, Coal Action Network (UK).

14.  Alex Burton, Spokesperson, Global Justice Bloc.

15.  Baccu Islam, President,  Phulbari Upazilla Garments Workers Union.

16.  Bappy Das, Tabla Teacher of Surobani Songgit School.

17.  Danielle DeLuca, Advocacy and Development Manager, Gerente,  Recaudación de Fondos y Programa de Defensa, Cultural Survival, USA.

18.  Dr Samina Luthfa, Spokesperson, Sarbajan Katha, Dhaka.

19.  Esther Stanford-Xosei, Coordinator General,  Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide

20.  Fe Haslam, Co-Principal Organising Secretary, Global Justice Forum.

21.  Hamidul Haque, President, Phulbari Kuli (day Labourers) Workers Union.

22.  Hasan Mehedi, Member Secretary, Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED).

23.  Himel Mondal, Coordinator, National Gonofront.

24.  Jargis Ahamed, President, Cable Operators Association, Phulbari.

25.  Joy Prokash Gupta, Phulbari Kali Mondir Committee.

26.  Julie Begum, Chair, Swadhinata Trust, UK.

27.  Mahamud Alam Liton, Mayor of Phulbari Municipal. Dinajpur.

28.  Manik Sarkar, Mayor of Municipal (Former), Phulbari Municipal.

29.  Nils Agger, Co-founder, Extinction Rebellion

30.  Nicholas Garica, Coordinator, Extinction Rebellion Slough.

31.  Nurul Islam Fokir, General Secretary,  Phulbari Rickshaw Van Workers Union.

32.  Peter Burgess, PhD Candidate, King’s College London.

33. Rowan McLaughlin, South Tees Green Party, UK.

34.  Sara Callaway, Coordinator, Women of Colour and Global Women Strike.

35.  Sara Cordovez, Co-founder, Extinction Rebellion Youth Solidarity.

36.  Samarendra Das, Chair, Foil Vedanta.

37. Saiful Islam Jewel, Convenor, Phulbari Chapter of National Committee of Bangladesh.

38.  Shakoat Hossain, General Secretary, Phulbari Dokam Employees Union (Local Business and Entrepreneurs Association in Phulbari).

39.  Shafiul Islam, President, Phulbari  Upazilla Decorator Workers Union.

40.  SM Nuruzzaman, General Secretary, Trade Union Center Of Dinajpur.

41.  Syed Samiul Islam Shohel, Councillor of Phulbari Municipal.

42. Syed Enamul Islam, Co-ordinator, European Action Group on Climate Change in Bangladesh.

*Note: Names of signatories do not follow alphabetical order. Signatures are added as and when signatories signed the letter online.

Join Remembrance Rally Mark the 15th anniversary of the Phulbari Massacre

Join Remembrance Rally Mark the 15th anniversary of the Phulbari Massacre

Today, Thursday 26 August, marks the 15th anniversary of coal murders in Phulbari where three young people Al Amin (11), Mohammad Saleqin (13), and Tarikul Islam (18) were shot dead for protesting against a 600MW open cast coal mine in 2006. More than two hundred people were injured in a non-violent demonstration of 80,000 people who marched against London-listed mining company, GCM Resources Plc. GCM wants to build a massive open cast coal mine by forcibly displacing 130,000 people, to extract coals for 30 years from Bangladesh’s only flood protected location, Phulbari. The day is nationally known as Phulbari Day since the murders of Al Amin, Saleqin and Tarikul.

Powerful resistance by women, children, indigenous men, farmers, workers and teachers and students against the coal project has put 15-year long halt to the mining project in the aftermath of the shooting. The Bangladesh government has declined all contracts with GCM in 2007. But the company is selling shares in London share market in the name of Phulbari coal mine. Despite having no valid contract with Bangladesh, they are moving ahead with their devastating plans. GCM continues its dodgy deals for 15 years. They announced extensions of a joint venture agreement with PowerChina and the MoU with NFC by 12 months, and recruited a local agency called the DG Infratech Pte Ltd, a Bangladesh based agency to lobby with the government. GCM is hosted by the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investors Market (AIM).

Today we are going to the Bangladesh High Commission in London to report this and to pay tribute to the victims of Phulbari Day. We demand that the Bangladesh High Commissioner should tell the London Stock Exchange to de-list GCM immediately. 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.



JOIN US at 10:30AM on Thursday 26 August!

Wear A BLACK Mask!

Wear BLACK  clothes!

Bring along your own HAND WRITTEN placards!

The rally is organised by the Phulbari Solidarity Group and London Mining Network with support from Foil Vedanta, Fossil Free London, Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network UK, Global Justice Bloc, Women of Colour, and XR Affinity Network of Asia. In this Black August, we will pay tribute to Amin, Saleqin and Tarikul with sun flowers, candles, music. We will read our joint statement together to de-list GCM.


Join us!

If the mine is built, 130,000 families of 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. One of the world’s largest mangrove forests, the Sunderbans, would be damaged. In return GCM offers only 6 percent tax to the government. They plan to export 94 percent of 572 million tons high quality coal. They would enjoy 9-year tax holiday. After extracting coal for 36+ years, all of the remainder coal would be owned by the company and be exported.


Communities in Phulbari are holding silent vigils and commemorative rallies across the region. Civil societies in Dhaka, Dinajpur and Phulbari will be joined by the Phulbari Solidarity Group and London Mining Network in online protests and witness sessions, demanding the government bans coal mining and take legal action against GCM. We stand in solidarity with the affected communities in Phulbari and demand the London Stock Exchange must de-list GCM. We also demand that the Bangladesh Government bans mining and all coal power plant constructions, and takes urgent legal action against GCM.

Come with your friends and family to pay tribute together to the victims of the Phulbari massacre.


Contact for further information: +44 7309 555950, +447767757645.
Email: contact@londonminingnetwork.org, phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com.

GCM Resources is avoiding scrutiny

A Joint Statement by Phulbari Solidarity Group, London Mining Network, Foil Vedanta, Fossil Free UK, Urgewald and XR Asian Affinity Network

The London-listed coal mining company, GCM Resources plc, are holding their AGM this year on 25 February but they are pressing forward a pernicious policy that excludes their own shareholders and restrain people from attending the AGM. GCM said that ‘due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the AGM will be held virtually as a closed meeting with a minimum number of directors and shareholders present, such that the legal requirement to hold a quorate meeting will be satisfied; and no other shareholders will be permitted to access, attend or participate either in person or virtually.’ GCM goes on saying, ‘As a consequence of the current COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the UK Government, shareholders will not be permitted to attend the Annual General Meeting and will only be able to vote by proxy. This year, only the Chairman of the Meeting may be appointed as a proxy.’

Note this: the company is using COVID-19 restrictions to exclude shareholders from a virtual meeting, at which the risk of transmission is zero. It would be legal and practical to admit shareholders to the virtual meeting. In case GCM Resources’ video conferencing capacity is insufficient to allow more than their legal quorum of two shareholders to attend a virtual meeting, London Mining Network offered the possibility of hosting GCM’s AGM on their own Zoom account – but GCM did not respond to the suggestion. We assume, therefore, that GCM Resources is deliberately trying to evade engagement with, and accountability to, their own shareholders.

The UK Government’s Financial Reporting Council published a Corporate Governance report in October 2020 examining the varying practices of UK companies in responding to legislation limiting gatherings in the light of COVID-19. The report, AGMs: an opportunity for change, explicitly criticised this kind of arrangement: ‘The use of closed meetings without any additional opportunities for shareholders to engage – although legal – effectively disenfranchises retail shareholders from their right to hold boards to account, and such meetings are not aligned with the importance of shareholders engagement set out in the UK Corporate Governance Code.’ (see Page 9)

The Financial Reporting Council’s report goes on: ‘Shareholder rights are best served by companies that provide highly effective and clear communication before, during, and after the meeting, and allow full participation from those shareholders that wish to attend, either in person (when this is possible) or virtually.’ (see Page 11)

The board of GCM Resources certainly needs to be held to account. GCM’s shares were temporarily suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on 6 January 2021 after the company’s Nomad (Nominated Advisor), Strand Hanson Limited, has resigned on 4 December 2020, with no reason being given. But we are sure this is a result of our letter campaign 2020. All AIM-traded companies have to have a registered Nomad if they are to continue trading, and it took GCM over a month to lure another advisor, W.H. Ireland Limited, in to take on the role.

AIM has come in for serious specific criticism for regulatory weakness. The highly respected UK NGO Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) made a submission to the London Stock Exchange during a 2017 review of AIM’s rules. That submission criticised the rules review itself for not being radical enough, and called for a wholesale, independent review of AIM, with terms of reference including the ability to consider the option of closing AIM down if it could not be significantly reformed. Citing numerous examples, and referring to a number of high-profile scandals and failures, RAID’s submission listed a number of short-comings. These included, among other things, limited due diligence on admission to the market; a lack of scrutiny making ongoing due diligence extremely weak; and the failure of AIM’s privatised system of regulation whereby day-to-day regulation is passed to fee-paying companies, the Nomads. In 2018 London Mining Network published a report examining the appalling human rights and environmental impacts of eight mining companies trading on AIM; one of them was GCM Resources.

So AIM itself is clearly a cesspit of poor practice; the system of Nomads is open to abuse amounting to corruption. Against this background, GCM Resources’ behaviour seems to have been so unacceptable that the company’s Nomad Strand Hanson Limited ditched them. We call on W H Ireland Limited to do likewise.

GCM’s only asset is a coal deposit in Phulbari, Bangladesh, where they have no licence to mine and where they face massive opposition from the tens of thousands of people who stand to be forcibly relocated if a mine should be constructed. GCM’s CEO Gary Lye has been abusing community leaders and peasants in Phulbari and Dinajpur, by filing false cases against 18 frontline organisers of Phulbari outburst 2006. On 4 February and 24 January the 18 community organisers have had to face trials in DInjpur in the midst of a pandemic.The company is currently relying on agreements with Chinese energy companies to remain in business.

GCM remain, as they always have been, a model of poor corporate practice. We call on the London Stock Exchange to delist the company from the Alternative Investment Market. We call on the company to get out of Phulbari; to get out of Bangladesh; and to get out of London. We call on the company’s Board to do something more constructive with their time than pursuing a project which would wreck the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of people in Phulbari and contribute to the climate catastrophe which threatens to wreck life for everyone on this planet.

Protesters Call To DE-LIST Global Coal Management PLC.From London Stock Exchange

Commemoration and celebration go together at London Stock Exchange 26 August 2016 Photocredit Peter Marshall

Commemoration and celebration go together at London Stock Exchange 26 August 2016 Photo credit: Peter Marshall

PHULBARI DAY VIGIL TURNS INTO HEATED DEMO

By Paul Dudman

Friday the 26th August, marked a decade of halt to plans by an AIM-listed British company, Global Coal Resources Management (GCM), who want to build a massive open cast coal mine by forcibly displacing 130,000 people in Phulbari, northwest Bangladesh. A four day long Commemoration for victims of Phulbari outburst, where three protesters were shot dead by police in 2006, was held in Dkaka, Dinajpur, Phulbari, London and Germany.

On the final day of remembrance, on 30th August, the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports in Bangladesh has declared a fresh programme in Phulbari to kick GCM out of Bangladesh as the CEO of the company has recently filed multiple arbitrary charges against indigenous farmers, small businessmen and local leaders who opposed the mine.

 

In London Bangladeshi and South Asian community activists under the banner of Phulbari Solidarity Group held a colourful and powerful commemoration rally outside the London Stock Exchange , calling for the de-listing of the company from London’ share market. Despite heavy securitization and repeated attempts of interruptions by British police, angry protesters blocked the pavement of the entrance of London Stock Exchange for two hours and demanded immediate de-registration of GCM for its unethical business, deceitful marketing of Phullbari project, and for human rights abuse in Dinajpur and Phulbari.

Of what was meant to be a Red Vigil for Victims of Phulbari has turned into a commemoration come noise demo as the CEO of London Stock Exchange, Xavier Rolet KBE, failed to respond to the protesters’ call for de-listing of GCM.  Priorhand, the Phulbari Solidarity Group has contacted the CEO of London Stock Exchange and submitted evidence of unethical business of the company. But the CEO did not respond to their request for an appointment, said Rumana Hashem of Phulbari Solidarity Group. 

 

Police objects to PSG Founder Rumana Hashem to remove the banner from the pavement copyright Peter Marshall

Police objects to the blockade of LSE pavement but  PSG Founder Rumana Hashem says:” the banner for the victims will not be removed.” Photo credit: Peter Marshall

A remembrance vigil was held, followed by an angry demo with Santal and Tamil drumming, and ended with tribute being paid by laying wreaths, flowers and lighting candles for the three people who were killed by paramilitary force, allegedly paid by the company, in Phulbari on 26 August in 2006.

Wearing masks of Gary Lye (CEO of GCM) and Michael Tang (the Chairman of the company), the protesters sang Phulbari jingles against coal mine. The protest observed a three-minute silence for the three victims, Al Amin, Mohammad Salekin, and Tarikul Islam, who died in the Phulbari shooting. Dressed in red, blue and black, protesters laid down a banner for victims, stating “YOUR DEATH WILL NOT BE IN VAIN”, on the pavement of the London Stock Exchange.

Protesters from Bangladesh were joined by international and British environmental campaigners, and advocates for human rights, anti-mining movement and workers rights.

Shameless Gary Lye and Blatant lyer Michael Tang dance with coal over deadbodies Photocredit Peter Marshall

GCM CEO Gary Lye and company Chairman Michael Tang stood as numb and blatant guilty copyright Peter Marhsall

GCM CEO Gary Lye and company Chairman Michael Tang stood as numb and blatant guilty. Photocredit: Peter Marhsall

Dressed in red, blue and black protesters outside the London Stock Exchange paid a two-hour homage to the victims. A banner, stating “YOUR DEATH WILL NOT BE IN VAIN” was laid on the pavement of the London Stock Exchange Group’s Headquarter for International Trading.

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

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

Protesters from Bangladesh were joined by international and British environmental campaigners, and advocates for human rights, anti-mining and workers rights. Among others, Foil Vedanta, European Action for Climate, London Mining Network, Global Justice Campaign, the Socialist Party of England and Wales, Tamil Solidarity, UK Commitee to Protect Resources of Bangladesh, and Voice of Freedom have made it explicit that they will stand with Phulbari people in their struggle.

The sound of compassion, sadness, empowerment and resistance echoed in the protest, and the firm speeches by passionate activists and outrageous crimes by British multinational companies overseas was heard by the entire Paternoster Square on Friday – although none from London Stock Exchange seemed concerned about these crimes.

Simultaneously, tributes were paid to the victims of Phulbari at National Martyrs Monument in Dhaka, and red vigil and cultural events took place in Phulbari under the banner of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port in Bangladesh (NCBD in short). In the four-day commemoration events (26-30 August) and celebration of the halt, they demanded the ban of the company in Bangladesh for its ongoing abuse of activists in Phulbari and increasing corruption in Bangladesh.

 

Christine Hague of Global Justice told how partially OECD complaint agaisnt GCM was treated by UK NCP Photocredit Peter Marshall

Christine Hague of Global Justice Now told about how partially OECD complaint against GCM was treated by UK NCP. Photo credit: Peter Marshall

The company has been allegedly involved in various forms of abuse and harassment of local activists and opponents of the proposed Phulbari mine. Media report on the brutal death of Nasrin Huq , the former executive director of Action Aid in Dhaka, revealed that in 2005 Huq was killed brutally in her car park for her opposition to the project. A report to which the company was unable to respond was published in the Observer.[i]  Later in 2006 three people were shot dead and two hundred injured in a demonstration of 80,000 people who marched against plans by the company. Local organisers have reported that the company has bribed the paramilitary personnel and forced them to open fire against the decision of the Police Magistrate on duty who stated that there was no permission for shooting on people. There were over 200 people injured and many abused on the same day. The day has been called Phulbari Day since, and powerful resistance in the aftermath of the shooting against open-cast mine in Phulbari has put a decade long halt to the project. Government has cancelled the company’s license. But the company has been pushing the government to give them a go ahead.

Shameless Gary Lye and Michael Tang dance with coal over deadbodies Photocredit Peter MarshallThe company’s CEO, Gary N Lye, has been allegedly harassing opponents of the project and the company has been extremely abusive to indigenous farmers, local organisers of Phulbari outburst, and small business entrepreneurs who demanded the company’s ban in Phulbari. After the shooting and deaths of three people on 26 August in 2006, Gary Lye stated that he is businessman and he understands nothing but coal. In a live interview with Farzana Rupa on ATN Bangla TV, Lye said: “I am a businessman , my business is to extract coal. It is not my business to know who dies and who cries” (ATN Bangla News, 26 August 2006).  Locals have declared that this CEO is unwanted in Phulbari and when he attempted to re-enter Phulbari town he was resisted by locals in November 2014.

Background

Last month, a day before the International Mangrove Action Day when Bangladeshis was focused on the controversial deal on Rampal power plant, the company has filed multiple cases against 26 key indigenous organisers and local leaders, farmers, small scale business entrepreneurs, and students who opposed the mine in Phulbari. The arbitrary charges formed on 25 July, 2016, at Dinajpur Magistrate Court appeared as extremely abusive and the next hearing on 7 September will be a crucial day for all those fighting the fraught.

The NCBD has declared a fresh programme on Phulbari Day to fight GCM and ban the Phulbari project. This includes rally demanding a ban of the company in Phulbari on 25 October, blockade of the Dinajpur District Commissioner’s Office on 21 November and half-day strike in Phulbari on 21 December. If demands are unfulfilled by December, intense and unending strike would start. Phulbari Solidarity Group believes that that this will not be needed as activists in London will hold the company to account and will ensure a ban of GCM from London Stock Exchange before the end of this year.

Paying tribute to the victms of Phulbari with flowers and by lighting candles on 26 Aug 2006 at London Stock Exchange

 Protesters is paying tribute to the victms of Phulbari with flowers and by lighting candles on 26 Aug 2006 at London Stock Exchange. Photo credit: Kerima Mohiuddin

Although GCM does not have a valid contract with Bangladesh, they are selling shares in the name of Phulbari project. The company has changed its name from Asia Energy to Global Coal Management in 2010, and continued lobbying for Phulbari coal mine in Bangladesh. If the mine is built, 130,000 families of farmers in Phulbari would be forcibly displaced. It would destroy 14,600 hectares of highly cultivable land, would pose threats to clean water resources and would leave devastative impact on one of the world’s largest mangrove forests and UNESCO heritage site, the Sunderbans.  Despite grave concerns at national and international level, and declaration made by seven UN rapporteurs, GCM is pushing the government to give it a go ahead.

Arguments with Police who prohibited Rumana Hashem to display the banner for the victims on the pavement Copyright Peter Marshall Gary Lye and Michael Tang shamelessly danced with coal over deadbodies Photocredit Peter Marshall

Arguments with Police - a community leader tells Police not to interfere with demonstrators. Photocredit: Peter Marshall

Arguments with Police – a community leader tells Police not to interfere with demonstrators. Photo credit: Peter Marshall

Phulbari Solidairty Group Founder and an eye witness to the shooting in 2006 lights a cnadle for the victims of Phulbari on 26 August 2006 at London Stock Exchange. Photocredit : Peter Marshall

Phulbari Solidairty Group’s Founder and an eye witness to the shooting in 2006, Dr Rumana Hashem, lights a candle for the victims of Phulbari at the entrance of London Stock Exchange. Photo credit : Peter Marshall

Contact for further information:  07714288221, 07956260791.

Further news, photos and videos:

Ten years of Resistance to Phulbari Open Cast Mine: Peter Marshall’s Mylondondiary.co.uk

A video of the noise-demo to de-list GCM from London Stock Exchange (by Pete Mason of Socialist Party of England and Wales): https://youtu.be/-_cKiRWt9NI

London Stock Exchange targeted by Bangladeshi activists: Foil Vedanta report

Phulbari Day protest outside London Stock Exchange: Begum24.com by Ansar Ahemd Ullah

[i]  The mystery death of Nasrin Huq –a report to which the company was not able to respond to, was derived from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/sep/03/bangladesh, last cited on 01. 01. 2013

An Eye Witness of the shooting and outburst in Phulbari: Keeping Coal Resources under the Ground with Blood, A Different Revolution

New Programme to Kick GCM out of Bangladesh declared on Phulbari Day: BNP is Not our Friend 

Mark the Decade of Resistance, Mark Phulbari Day!

Celebrating 10 years of Halt to Open Cast Mining, Commemorating the lives of brave Villagers

What? RED Vigil at London Stock Exchange

 When? 11am to 1pm on Friday, 26 August 2016

Where? London Stock Exchange HQ for International Trading , 10 Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7LS  (nearest tube station: St Paul’s)

Find Map

Phulbari 2014

 

Friday, the 26th of August marks a decade of the Phulbari outburst. In 2006 three people were shot dead and two hundred injured in a demonstration of 80,000 people who marched against plans by an AIM-listed British company, Global Coal Resources Management , who wants to build a massive open cast coal mine in Phulbari, a location in northwest Bangladesh. The day has been called Phulbari Day since, and powerful resistance in the aftermath of the shooting against open-cast mine in Phulbari has put a decade long halt to the project. Government has cancelled the company’s license. Although GCM does not have a valid contract with Bangladesh, they are selling shares in the name of Phulbari project. The company has changed its name from Asia Energy to Global Coal Management in 2010, and continued its dodgy deals and lobbying for Phulbari coal mine in Bangladesh.

If the mine is built, 130,000 families of farmers in Phulbari would be forcibly displaced. It would destroy 14,600 hectares of highly cultivable land, would pose threats to clean water resources and would leave devastative impact on one of the world’s largest mangrove forests and UNESCO heritage site, the Sunderbans.  Despite grave concerns at national and international level, and declaration made by seven UN rapporteurs, GCM is pushing the government to give it a go ahead.

The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Port-Power and Mineral Resources in Bangladesh has called upon national and global environmentalists to observe 10th anniversary of Phulbari outburst and to protest against GCM’s dodgy business and to mark the decade of Phulbari Resistance.  In conjunction with the Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Port-Power and Mineral Resources, we will celebrate the decade-long struggle in London.

Phulbari Day POster by NCBD 2016

We will hold a Red Vigil for Victims of Phulbari outside the London Stock Exchange at 11am next Friday. We will ask London Stock Exchange to De-list GCM Plc and to show cause Gary Lye’s gang for selling fake shares. We will commemorate for the lost lives by rallying against GCM. We will celebrate our decade-long resistance by turning the commemoration event into a powerful rally against dark coal business.

JOIN US at London Stock Exchange (nearest tube station: St Paul’s).

Bring your organisation’s banner, noisy/music instruments and flowers for the victims if you can. Wear Red, Black or Blue as symbols of Resistance, Anguish and Celebration of struggle!

Please confirm participation via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/641147849383562/

Contact for further information:  07714288221, 07956260791, 07861686036

Email: nationalcommittee.uk@gmail.com , phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com

Committee to Protect Resources of Bangladesh, UK branch     Phulbari Solidarity Group

Download Mark the Decade of Halt, Observe Phulbari Day Flyer August 2016

LMN call out for Phulbari Solidarity demo in London on 19 dec 2012

Local women, men and children cried out to save their homes, lands and lives in Phulbari in the aftermath of the GCM-provoked shooting in Phulbari. Photo: 28 August 2006

Mothers, sisters, wives and all the effected women vowed to protect  Phulbari through outburst after the shooting on 26 August 2006. Copyright: PSG

 

GCM IS COMING DOWN!

Action Demo in London to Save PHULBARI & Green-Farm Land

Friday, 18 December at 10:30am, 4 Hamilton Place,  London W1J 7BQ (nearest tube station Hyde Park Corner)

In the month of the climate summit #COP21, when climate protests erupted across the globe seeking climate justice, a London-based AIM-listed multinational company, Global Coal Management Resources Plc. , announced its AGM to discuss a noxious deal to implement a massive open-pit coal mine by forcibly displacing 130,000 families of farmers in Phulbari. If the mine is built, it would destroy 14,600 hectares of highly cultivable land in northwest Bangladesh. It would also pose threats to clean water resources and would leave devastating impact on one of the world’s largest mangrove forests and UNESCO heritage site, the Sundarbans.

Phulbari outburst on 26 August 2006

The mothers and wives of murdered villagers in Phulbari calling the investors of Asia Energy (now GCM) after the shooting on 27 August in 2006.

The company, previously known as Asia Energy, has been hotly resisted by locals for its fatal business policy. Three people were shot dead and two hundred injured in a demonstration of 80,000 people that took place in opposition to plans by GCM in 2006. Bangladesh government has cancelled all contracts with the company nine years ago. The government has recently reassured protestors by a statement that it does not want to build an open pit mine in Phulbari. The project has generated grave concern at national and international levels including the United Nations. This year the UK government has published a statement highlighting the fierce opposition to GCM in Phulbari. But the company has so far ignored every message. It has been pushing the government of Bangladesh for a fatal deal. We advise GCM to close business NOW!

JOIN US inside and outside the AGM! We will warn them to close AGM forever!

RSVP to join us via https://www.facebook.com/events/180360322310156/

Please Bring along your banner, placards, festoons, whistles, drums, masks and messages against dirty coal miners. We will declare a notice of closure to GCM and we’ll celebrate the news that Bangladesh government has reassured there is no plan to open pit mine.

Contact for further information: Dr Akhter S Khan: nationalcommittee.uk@googlemail.com, Dr Mokhlesur Rahman qmr111@hotmail.com, Rumana Hashem: phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com

Bangladesh National Committee, UK branch| Phulbari Solidarity Group, UK| 

Feasibility study on Barapukuria open-pit mining sent back

The Independent news on Barapukuria reproduced below  by Raaj Manik

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Author / Source: SHAHNAJ BEGUM

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The authorities of the Barapukuria Coal Mine Company (BCMC) have rejected the feasibility study report of the Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) on open-pit mining at Barapukuria North, as it did not match the study’s “terms of reference (TOR)”. “The study did not reflect the impact of open-pit mining on the groundwater level as a result of dewatering, irrigation and supply of drinking and industrial water. We need a further detailed report,” a senior IWM official told The Independent on Monday.
With the aim of opening up the northern part of the Barapukuria coalfield on a “small scale”, the energy ministry had launched the initiative 10 years ago. To endorse the plan, it formed different committees and completed two studies, but failed to reach any conclusion. In its third attempt, it engaged the IWM to complete water modelling to preclude any controversy over the method of coal extraction.
“This study is not enough to assess the impact of open-pit mining as it is a highly technical issue. Once again, we want to complete a geo-technical feasibility study before taking any decision on open-pit mining in this area,” Petrobangla’s former chairman Md. Mosharrof Hossain, who is the coordinator of the government monitoring committee that guided the IWM’s survey, told The Independent.
“We can go in for open-pit mining in the northern part of the Barapukuria coalfield, subject to the technical feasibility study on mining issues and the economic viability of water pumping with respect to biodiversity and ecological
stress on food production and their impact on the gross domestic product (GDP). Otherwise, how can we assess the profit and loss of a project? The study has failed to discuss these aspects,” he added.
According to Petrobangla, it was mentioned in the TOR that the study, covering an area of 2.81 sq. km, would assess the impact on the groundwater level as a result of dewatering, irrigation and supply of drinking and industrial water. It would find out possible remedial measures for underground sustainability through different opinion studies and recommend developing mine water management systems. “But the report did not touch on the irrigation and crop issues of the affected areas, which have a great impact on mine design,” an official said.
Though the IWM report said an area of some 560 sq. km of Barapukuria would be impacted if the government decides to open Barapukuria North for open-pit mining and the water table of the areas would go down from seven metres to more than 30 metres at different points, but to make it operational, it would require de-watering from 400 million cubic metres (mmc) to 232 mmc every year.
“The IWM report gave us some sort of relief, as we found the water flow to be almost half of what we had assumed. But a geo-technical issue is a must. After that, we will start the other related task,” Mosharrof Hossain said.
Bangladesh has five coalfields with around 2.55 billion tonnes of reserves, but has been unable to extract the mineral since a national coal policy has not been finalised yet. The Barapukuria coalfield has reserves of around 389 million tonnes, but only 10 to 12 per cent of this can be extracted with the underground method.
The report said over 90 per cent of the total reserves can be extracted through open-pit mining. Underground mining can produce less than 25 per cent. The northern part has estimated reserves of 135 million tonnes of coal.
“The surface of the Barapukuria
coal seam has started at the level of 118 metres. It gradually grows in depth up to 503 metres,” geologist Dr Mushfiqur Rahman told the Independent.
The report of the experts’ committee said the coal seam deposited 200 metres under the surface would be extracted through the open-pit method. The underground mining method would be chosen for those deposits when that depth is more than 200 metres.

Original version of the report can be accessed here

PDF version can be downloaded here feasibility-study-on-barapukuria-open-pit-mining-sent-back 19 Nov 2014

Protests at GCM Resources AGM over Phulbari coal mine

Reporting from the Noise-demo held on 4 December

By Raaj Manik, 5 December 2013

A noisy and powerful protest was held outside the AGM of London-listed mining company GCM Resources, on 4 December, over the company’s proposed Phulbari coal mine in Bangladesh, which if it goes ahead will immidiately displace an estimated 130,000 people and plunder 94 percent water resources in the region. It will pose threats to the Sundarbans, one of the world’s largest remaining mangrove forests and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

demo5

The British mining company GCM Resources is currently under investigation by the UK government following a complaint by the World Development Movement and the International Accountability Project. The complaint claims the mine would breach OECD rules by violating the human rights of the people who would be forcibly displaced and impoverished by the project.

The project will destroy over 14,660 hectares of fertile agricultural land that produce three food crops annually, threatening to increase hunger in a country in which nearly one third of all people currently live below the nutrition poverty line. The project threatens to destroy the homes, lands, and water sources of as many as 220,000 people over the course of 30 years mining, and forcibly evict an estimated 130,000 people immidiately. The mine would violate the rights of 50 thousands indigenous people living in the area.

The Phulbari coal project has been on hold since 2006 due to intense local and national opposition. Three young people were killed and many more injured when paramilitary officers opened fire on a protest against the mine in August 2006.The project has generated grave concern at national and international levels including the United Nations and the UK government’s National Contact Point.

The UK government’s investigation will evaluate whether GCM Resources has breached obligations to ensure meaningful and adequate consultation about the project, or to carry out appropriate due diligence to ensure that its project does not violate people’s human rights.

demo

The company has admitted that most of the people living in the area affected by the mine “will become landless”. Yet the company wants to move forward with its plans of forced – displacement and destruction in north – west of Bangladesh. Yesterday, the company has reassured the shareholder that it has plans to persuade the future government of Bangladesh to approve the destructive project soon after the election. Gary Lye, the company’s unwanted CEO, who had to leave Phulbari amidst protests by villagers earlier this year, told the shareholders that he is keeping contacts with government of Bangladesh through his confidential sources.

But the protesters told this correspondent that GCM will never go Demo2back to Bangladesh.This company had to leave Phulbari on people’s verdict in 2006.

Yesterday’s protest was held by members of the UK Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Port and Power in Bangladesh, the Phulbari Solidarity Group, the World Development Movement and the London Mining Network and other Bangladeshi activist groups.

See further details at:


London protest held at GCM Resources AGM over Open Pit Mining in  Phulbari


Protests at GCM Resources AGM over Bangladesh coal mine


Chairman of GCM Resources offered Jobseeker’s Allowance claim form by concerned shareholder

Phulbari Demo at GCM AGM

Destroying Communities and Damaging Environment

NO MINE in PHULBARI

Call out for Action against GCM Resources plc.

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 at 10am-12pm
Venue: 4 Hamilton Place, London, W1J 7BQ

Phulbari Demo FlyerGCM Resources plc, an AIM-listed UK-based multinational company, supported by major hedge funds and banks including UBS, Credit Suisse, LR Global, and Argos Greater Europe Fund, wants to implement a massive open-pit coal mine in Phulbari in the north-west of Bangladesh, displacing up to 130,000 people and threatening lives. If implemented, the project will destroy over 14,660 acres of fertile agricultural land that produce three food crops annually, threatening to increase hunger in a country in which nearly half of all people currently live below the nutrition poverty line. The project threatens to destroy the homes, lands, and water sources of as many as 220,000 people, and forcibly evict an estimated 130,000 people.

On 26 August 2006, three people were killed and over 200 injured when paramilitary troops fired on a massive protest of some 80,000 demonstrators in Phulbari. The protesters were opposing the proposed open pit coal mine that the Bangladesh subsidiary of GCM Resources plc, Asia Energy, intends to implement. The situation in Phulbari has been tense and volatile since. The potential for violence has remained high in this project ever since August 2006.

The project has generated grave concern at national and international levels including the United Nations. This year the GCM Resources was dealt a serious blow as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) agreed to consider complaints regarding severe human rights violations associated with the company’s planned coal mine in Bangladesh.

Last year, on 28 February, 2012, seven Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations issued a joint UN press release, calling for an immediate halt to the project on the grounds that it threatens the fundamental human rights of hundreds of thousands of people, including entire villages of indigenous people, and poses “an immediate threat to safety and standards of living.”
Yet, GCM is aggressively moving on to implement this immense open pit coal mine ignoring the human rights and environmental degradation the project would leave.

The UK branch of National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources and Port-Power of Bangladesh is campaigning in solidarity with the people of Phulbari to throw GCM Resources/Asia Energy out of Bangladesh. The Committee in UK, in conjunction with the Phulbari Solidarity Group, London Mining Network, and World Development Movement, is holding a demo on Wednesday the 4th of December 2013 outside the Annual General meeting of GCM.

Come and Join us in the protest – Stand with the people in Phulbari – Round up the coal miners on 4th December!

For further information contact the UK branch of National Committee nationalcommittee.uk@googlemail.com or phulbarisolidaritygroup@gmail.com.

Visit:

http://protectbdresources.org.uk, https://phulbarisolidaritygroup.wordpress.com/,www.ncbd.org ; http://londonminingnetwork.org/