Last week’s decision by the Government of Norway to instruct its $350 billion national pension fund not to invest in a mining company whose Australian-based subsidiary Emperor Mines has dumped thousands of tonnes of toxic waste into the rivers of Papua New Guinea is a warning to all mining companies who foul up the environment and destroy livelihoods that fewer investors tolerate their actions, said Oxfam Australia.
Partly as a result of the work of international and local NGO’s in PNG and Fiji, the Council of Ethics advised the Norwegian Government that if they invested in DRD Gold, there is an ‘unacceptable risk of complicity in extensive and irreversible damage to the natural environment.’
‘We are entering a new era in which shareholders decide it’s unethical to invest in mining companies whose destructive practices cause unsustainable environmental degradation,’ said Oxfam Australia’s Mining Ombudsman, Shanta Martin.
Oxfam Australia wants the mining industry to immediately cease the practice of dumping toxic heavy metals into the rivers and oceans of some of the world’s poorest countries. Oxfam says that if the mining sector cannot be trusted to act responsibly and declare a voluntary end to toxic waste dumping then governments should legislate to protect the environment as well as vulnerable communities.
For more information call Ian Woolverton on 0409 181 454