World’s Top Ten most “at risk” mining companies named « Mining Blog

World’s Top Ten most “at risk” mining companies named

26. March 2012,

A new report on the world’s “most controversial” mining firms has named and shamed ten companies, after comparing their performance against U.N. and other environmental, social and governance principles.

The report from Zurich-based RepRisk (a “dynamic business information firm” aimed at investors) emphasises that the risks relate to the companies'”access to capital and licenses to operate”.

Top of the list is Alpha Natural Resources, followed by Newmont Mining, and Glencore International.

Alpha Natural Resources qualified for the number one spot after its 2011 purchase of the leading “moutaintop removal” coal producer Massey Energy, based in Virgina.

Massey had already been targeted over its well-documented history of alleged safety issues, fraud, and environmental concerns. It was fined a record US$210 million to settle ongoing criminal and civil cases related to an accident at its Upper Big Branch mine in 2010, which resulted in 29 deaths.

Newmont Mining and Glencore International drew media criticism for mining activities in Africa and South America and their alleged impact on local communities.

A study, commissioned by Swiss non-government organizations Brot fuer Alle and Fastenopfer reported that in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Glencore subsidiary Katanga Mining used contract miners, including children, to work in precarious conditions in its Tilwezembe Mine.

For Newmont and Minas Buenaventura (ranked 7th equal by RepRisk) the opposition expressed by local communities against the Conga Mine in Peru over its potential impacts on water sources led to the project’s suspension in late November.

The other Top Ten companies evaluated by RepRisk are:
BHP Billiton (4th); Freeport McMoran (5th); Rio Tinto (6th); Barrick Gold (7th equal); Anglo American and Vedanta Resources (ranked 9th equal).

According to RepRisk:”There has been a significant impact on companies’ reputations from negative stakeholder sentiment captured throughout 2011…This is made obvious by the fines paid by the industry, increasing regulation, and the risk of loss of license to operate faced by many of the firms mentioned”.

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