PPT case: Glencore copper and cobalt mining, Zambia

Sulphur dioxide emissions, acid rains, and smuggling profits out of Zambia without paying taxes and bringing profits to a tax haven, Switzerland: the Zambian receipee of Glencore's profits


(Español, abajo) Summary of the conflict The main activity of Glencore in Zambia is the mining of copper and cobalt, which is carried out through the subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines mainly on the Copperbelt province in the areas of Mufulira and Kitwe. The environmental effects of mining activities specific to the Mufulira Kanyono site are mainly air, water and land/soil pollution, mainly due to sulphur dioxide emission above WHO minimums in the construction of the extraction plants, and causing permanent damage to livelihoods and cultivations. The pollution forms acid rain and endangers plant life. Furthermore, Mopani Copper Mines smuggles its profits out of Zambia without paying taxes and bringing profits to a tax haven, Switzerland, according to a leaked Financial Audit Report carried out by tax specialists Grant Thornton and Econ Poyry, analysing the balances of the company and mine activities from 2003 to 2008.

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Basic Data
NamePPT case: Glencore copper and cobalt mining, Zambia
SiteMufulira and Kitwe
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesCobalt
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsMopanis stated production capacity is 250,000 tonnes of copper and 2,400 tonnes of cobalt per year

Source: Glencore International Plc. Mopani production briefing: http://www.hkexnews.hk/listedco/listconews/sehk/2011/0513/00805_1074520/EWPGLENCORE-20110511-43.pdf
Project Area (in hectares)19,000
Level of Investment (in USD)Mopani Copper Mines claims US$2 billion spent
Type of PopulationRural
Company Names or State EnterprisesMopani Copper Mines PLC from Zambia
Glencore International AG from Switzerland
Relevant government actorsZambia Environmental Management Authority , Zambian Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Council of Zambia , Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development
International and Financial InstitutionsEuropean Investment Bank (EIB)
The World Bank (WB) from United States of America
International Monetary Fund (FMI)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCitizens for a Better Environment, Centre for Trade Policy and Development, Earth and Environmental Organisation, Green and Justice, Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power, Permanent Peoples Tribunal
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Although the leaching plant that was closed in 2012 has reopened after certain conditions were met by the mine, there are numerous reports going back over 10 years which indicate that environmental pollution is a recurring problem. It therefore seems likely that there will be further cases of pollution.

Aunque la planta cerrada en 2012 ha vuelto a abrir después de que varias condiciones fueran respetadas por la mina, existen varios informes de los últimos 10 años que indican que la contaminación medioambiental es un problema recurrente. Por tanto parece probable que surjan nuevos casos de contaminación.
Sources and Materials

(Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, 1997

Environmental Protection and Pollution Control
[click to view]

Guidelines on Multinational Corporations and Human Rights (OECD)
[click to view]

Mines and Minerals Act 1995
[click to view]


Case overview, Sherpa et al vs Glencore International AG
[click to view]

Glencore in Zambia: The Tax Questions That Persist
[click to view]

Glencore report: European Investment Bank must drag its secrets into the light, 20 August 2014
[click to view]

Stealing Africa: How Copper Industry Leaves Zambia in Poverty, November 26, 2012
[click to view]


Global Campaign to Stop Corporate Impunity
[click to view]

Testimony of the case in the Permanent Peoples Tribunal Hearing - Corporate Human Rights Violations and Peoples Access to Justice. Geneva, 23 June 2014
[click to view]

The Guardian - European Investment Bank accused of suppressing Zambian mining report
[click to view]

Centre for Trade Policy and Development
[click to view]

Accusations of Glencore-Zambia tax probe cover-up
[click to view]

Glencore halts copper projects in Zambia over tax row
[click to view]

Glencore report: European Investment Bank must drag its secrets into the light
[click to view]

Other Documents

Glencore plant Source: http://www.mining.com/accusations-of-glencore-zambia-tax-probe-cover-up-80762/
[click to view]

View of the Mobani plant Source: The Guardian
[click to view]

Other CommentsSee more at: http://www.ctpd.org.zm/
Meta Information
ContributorGlobal Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power, Transnational Institute - TNI, Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD)
Last update08/06/2015