Vedanta faces 2 hours hostility at AGM « Mining Blog

Vedanta faces 2 hours hostility at AGM

28. July 2011,

Vedanta Resources plc, a FTSE-100 mining company,listed on the London Stock Exchange, faced two hours of angry questioning inside its annual shareholders’ meeting yesterday, while scores of protestors lined up outside the QE11 conference centre in Westminster, where the event was held.

It’s rare for UK companies to be openly confronted by conventional investors – as opposed to “diisidents” who usually hold just one or two shares, enabling them to attend such meetings.

But, for two years running, Vedanta has seen Aviva Investors – part of the UK’s largest insurance group – attending its AGM and withtholding its support for the company’s remuneration proposals. These, claims Aviva, are unacceptably high in light of Vedanta’s failure to observe basic Health, Safety and Environmental rules.

Just ten days earlier, on 16 July 2011, one of Vedanta’s largest mines, the holding wall at the Mulgao iron ore mine in Goa, collapsed in several places, sending millions of tonnes of silt and mud cascading into nearby farmland, polluting water, and carrying away a local farmer (thankfully rescued in time by other villagers)

During the last financial year (2010-1011) no fewer than 26 workers at Vedanta’s mine sites went to their deaths as a result of “accidents” – the worst such record among UK mining companies, an one of the worst anywhere in the world.

When it came to voting on the resolutions, more than 13% of investment funds opposed the remuneration package. This figure is all the more significant, given that just over 62% of Vedanta’s voting equity is owned by the chairman, Anil Agarwal and his family’s trust.

[Sources: Dow Jones newswires, 27 July 2011; The Guardian, 28 July 2011].

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