Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Amendment in U.S. finance bill - disclose conflict minerals

An editorial comment in the Financial Times recently, talked about conflict minerals

It is a first step. One hopes consumers and companies will become more sensitive about participating in a supply chain that ends with blood.

Maoist leader on mining practices

Open Magazine has carried a piece by Kobad Ghandy on illegal mining practices and its implications for development.

Banks take a harder look at environmentally destructive borrowers?

Here is a New York Times story on banks reviewing lending standards for companies involved in environmentally unfriendly activities.

But it may not affect companies in question, because I surmise, they are big enough to access capital on their own. Unless, capital really becomes constrained enough to stop financing of such projects.

An excerpt from the story - that highlights organizations working in this area:
"The Rainforest Action Network, which has headed a campaign to highlight financial institutions with connections to the mining, said this month that the policy shifts were chipping away at the financing."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quid pro quo for Bhopal continues

Check out a WSJ blog post on a leaked email between US and Indian authorities.
In the email, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman, tries to negotiate terms of Dow Chemicals by suggesting a chilling effect on investment relationship between the two countries.

Land acquisition and the politics for the tribal vote

The Politics of Land: Indian Express on the Land Acquisition Act

Also read a good edit by Seema Chisti is in the same publication. Another Avatar - a commentary on what the Congress hopes to get having Rahul Gandhi as a soldier for the tribals in New Delhi. The problem of singling out a specific mining project as opposed to having holistic policies for tribals and illegal mining.

Safety Award for Vedanta withdrawn

More bad news for mining giant: Financial Times has reported --
Vedanta safety award is withdrawn

The British Safety Council has withdrawn a safety award, based on an accident in Korba that killed 41 construction workers. Vedanta's subsidiary Sterlite industries holds a majority stake in Bharat Aluminium Company (BALCO).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Indian Tribe Defeats British Giant: CNN

Indian Express: Orissa’s unobtainium

Suddenly, it appears mainstream media is possessed by the possibilities of tribal protest. Earlier, a remote probability, now a reality. The press in India is awash with this development.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

South Africa defends Neo-Colonialist China?

Check out this FT story here: Pretoria defends China’s Africa policy.
Excerpts:
"China has many supporters in Africa, particularly among ruling elites who often benefit personally from its allocation aid and investment without attaching conditions.

But Beijing also has many African critics, and Chinese companies and workers have been targets of animosity and violence in places such as Algeria, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, where they have a growing presence."

The story also cited South African data - the country's $6.57bn in exports to China last year were mostly natural resources while its $9.45bn of imports from China were value-added manufactured goods.

Follow the money....

Indian govt. blocks Vedanta's mining plan

In a great victory for dissenting voices of tribals and environmentalists - the Indian government - Jairam Ramesh- minister for environment has ordered for suspension of Vedanta's plan to mine bauxite in Orissa, has also questioned an existing plant. It is alleged that the company has violated several forests related acts.

There is hope!

Indian Express carried another story that the government views the POSCO investment, also in Orissa as strategic.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Keshub Mahindra re-elected to M&M board

Jesus! Mahindra & Mahindra re-elects Keshub Mahindra - former non-executive chairman of Union Carbide’s Indian subsidiary. He was the most senior executive to be convicted of negligence in a court ruling over the Bhopal disaster.

Here is a quote of from the FT story:
Salman Khurshid, the minister of corporate affairs, has been drawing up new legislation to update the 1956 Companies Act to strengthen the role of non-executive directors in companies...Mr Khurshid has described Mr Mahindra’s decision to remain chairman as reflecting a well-considered “legal consultative process” and has warned against any hasty government intervention.


Where does the buck stop?

BP oil spill confirmed as ‘world’s worst’ - FT

BP oil spill confirmed as ‘world’s worst’ -
Can we trust these estimates ? Size of penalties may go up, this FT story says.