Glencore Xstrata is the world’s largest diversified trader in commodities such as coal, oil, copper, zinc, lead, aluminium, metal alloys, grains, or oilseeds. Glencore Xstrata’s mining activities are forcing local communities and indigenous groups from their homes. Water and land – their basic necessities for life – are polluted or destroyed; entire communities are separated and authorities corrupted. Moreover, the company has been found to be working with corrupt intermediaries and evading taxes, thereby depriving the commodity-rich countries of a much-needed source of income. Those who dare to voice criticism are prosecuted or physically threatened by security forces or armed groups. Regardless of pending legal cases and state-ordered sanctions against the company, Glencore Xstrata has systematically denied any responsibility for this deplorable state of affairs.
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In Bolivia, the pollution of water and air threatens the health and livelihood of local communities. In Argentina, three legal proceedings are being brought against Glencore Xstrata for the violation of human rights and the infringement of laws. At the same time, 200 people who protested publicly against the company are facing charges. In Colombia, the company is facing nine disciplinary proceedings before the National Authority of Environmental Licenses. In the Philippines, 5,000 members of the indigenous community of the B’laan have seen their right to free, prior and informed consent violated – a right guaranteed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In many places, resistance to Glencore Xstrata’s business activities by local communities is common. However, those who fight back are often intimidated, threatened or criminalized. Frequently, State police forces are employed to suppress demonstrations. In Peru in 2012, three people died and 45 were wounded in the course of the crack-down of protests against the Xstrata Tintaya mine.
“I was arrested in front of the guardhouse at the entrance of the mine while I was sitting in a vehicle [...] when about 20 police officers approached me. While pointing a gun to my head they opened the door of the vehicle and pulled us out of it. Then they beat me with their police baton, kicked and punched me over and over again, and they abused me verbally, saying I was a terrorist […]and then they also ripped off my beard and bits of my hair, they forced me to get to the head quarters of the police [inside Xstrata Tintaya’s mining camp]. There they kept on insulting me and threatened to kill me and use my head as a football [...] Then they washed my face that was covered in blood. [...].[…] I came to the mining camp on a voluntary basis, because I wanted to find out who the prisoners were so that I could inform their members of the family [...]“
29/5/2012, 4:00 a.m. minute signed in Xstrata Tintaya`s minig camp by the detained person Sergio Huamaní, 38 years old (at the time) Vicepresident of the base organization FUDIE
Glencore Xstrata is striving to secure their lucrative business at any cost and is violating the social, cultural and political rights of communities and destroying the environment along the way. The company’s greed for profit seems unstoppable even in the face of social movements, legal proceedings and fines, environmental surveys proving the toxic effects of their business, and criticism by civil society. Around the globe, Glencore Xstrata is manipulating public opinion, claiming to be generating economic value for the local communities. In reality, however, they are submitting the regions surrounding the mines to their own conditions. The company’s aggressive tax evasion combined with corrupt practices is preventing the mining countries from benefitting from their abundance of natural resources.
Glencore Xstrata is the world’s largest diversified trader of commodities such as coal, oil, copper, zinc, lead, aluminium, metal alloys, grains, or oilseeds. The company controls 50% of the free copper market, 30% of the free coal market and 60% of the free zinc market. Originally a commodity trader, Glencore Xstrata has developed into a mining and oil production company. The company was founded in 1974 by Marc Rich and became extremely successful mainly as a result of ignoring the US trade embargo against Iran and selling oil to the ostracized Apartheid regime in South Africa. In 1982 when Marc Rich was facing charges for illegal business practices such as tax evasion or wire fraud, he fled from the US and settled in Switzerland. Glencore Xstrata is officially headquartered in the tax haven of Jersey, however, the company’s operating headquarters and tax domicile is in Switzerland. In 2012, the company reported a turnover of US$ 236bn and a net profit of US$ 7,9bn.