Over the past decade, Xstrata PLC has used a series of aggressive mergers to grow from an obscure investment vehicle into one of the planet’s largest mining groups, with operations on six continents. Based in Switzerland and listed on the London and Zurich stock exchanges, it is one of the top producers of resources such as chrome, coal, copper, nickel and zinc. Following in the footsteps of older mining giants such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, Xstrata has become embroiled in controversies over its labor, environmental and human rights practices.
Anglo American is one of the world’s largest mining companies, with operations in some 45 countries. The company had its origins in the gold and diamond mines of apartheid South Africa, and after the Second World War it expanded and diversified to the point that it controlled large portions of that country’s economy. It later sold off its non-mining businesses, moved its headquarters to London, and spun off its gold mining operations into the company now called AngloGold Ashanti. Anglo American remains a major player in platinum, copper, coal and diamonds (through its affiliate De Beers).
This report was commissioned by groups in Alaska concerned about the Pebble copper/gold mining project in which Anglo American is involved. The report looks at Anglo American's track record elsewhere in the world in terms of environmental impact, worker safety and human rights issues regarding the displacement of subsistence farmers. The main countries covered are South Africa, Ghana, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Mali and the United States (Nevada). The report is extensively documented, with more than 100 endnotes.