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GCM Resources

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GCM Resources is a London-headquartered company, (which is also referred to in some reports as Global Coal Management) with interests in coal projects in Bangladesh, South Africa and China as well as "uranium interests in West Africa, Sweden and Australia."[1] Formerly known as Asia Energy Corporation (AEC), the company subsequently changed its name to Global Coal Management after the August 2006 killings in Phulbari (see Public Resistance below), and to GCM Resources Plc in December 2007.[2]

On its website, GCM states that the Asia Energy Corporation (Bangladesh) Pty Ltd, "a wholly owned subsidiary of GCM Resources plc, has a contract with the Government of Bangladesh 'for exploration and mining of coal in Northern Bangladesh'." The company is attempting to develop the Phulbari Coal Project. [3]

Phulbari Coal Project

"The Blood-Soaked Banner of Phulbari (Part 1): A Coal Mine Against the People"
"The Blood-Soaked Banner of Phulbari (Part 2): A Coal Mine Against the People"

The USGS states that "the project’s environmental impact and feasibility studies had been completed, and mining operations could be done by open pit method. After coal preparation, the final product would be coking coal and thermal coal for both export and domestic use. The bituminous coal resource of 572 million metric tons was large enough for the mine to last more than 30 years at a mining rate of 15 Mt/yr."[4]

On its website, the company states that "the Company has completed a Feasibility Study for commercial development of the Phulbari Coal Project. The Scheme of Development was submitted to the Government of Bangladesh in November 2005 and is awaiting approval. The Company has also provided a proposal to the Government for the development of up to 1000 MW of coal-fired power generating capacity at the mine mouth."[3]

The project was stalled, in the planning phase, when emergency rule was imposed in Bangladesh in January 2007, after widespread protests against the mine. However, following national elections in December 2008, a new administration is actively reconsidering the mine.[5]

WikiLeaks cable

On Dec. 21, 2010, a WikiLeaks cable revealed US diplomats had secretly pushed the Bangladeshi government to re-open plans for the mine. The cable includes comments by US Ambassador to Bangladesh James Moriarty stating that “Asia Energy, the company behind the Phulbari project, has sixty percent US investment.” In the cable, sent in July of 2009, Moriarty also states that he urged the prime minister’s energy advisor to authorize coal mining, saying the “open-pit mining seemed the best way forward.”[5]

Nearly 40% of all GCM shares are owned by the four companies that make up the Luxor Capital Group, all of which are owned by Christian Leone, a US citizen who also operates a New-York-based hedge fund in his own name.[5]

Impact

Many in Bangladesh have opposed the project. According to Asia Energy, 40,000 people would be involuntarily resettled by the project, although activists say the number of people evicted is likely to be ten times more. The mine and associated infrastructure will use up 10,000 hectares of primarily fertile agricultural land. The project would also divert a river for the water needed, pumping out 800 million litres of water daily, and lowering the groundwater in an area covering 500 square kilometers. Dynamite explosion, environmentalists say, would cause noise and dust pollution, increased by the trucks and trains that will haul away the coal to the port in Sundarban. Asia Energy plans to create a huge lake after the project is over, but activists predict that the water is likely to be toxic.[6]

According to the group Cultural Survival, a government-sponsored study estimates that 130,000 people in more than 100 villages would be immediately displaced by the mine, and another 100,000 would gradually be forced to leave as their wells and irrigation canals run dry from the mining. Independent researchers and the Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (National Indigenous Union) estimate that 50,000 Indigenous people belonging to 23 different tribal groups would be displaced or impoverished by the mine.[7]

Public Resistance

On August 26, 2006, more than 50,000 people took part in protests against the proposed mine. The Bangladesh Rifles, a paramilitary force, opened fire on the protesters. Three young men, Tariqul, son of the municipal commissioner and panel chairman, Ameen, a young carpenter, and Salehin of the adjoining upazila Nawabganj, died instantly. One to two hundred people are reported to have been injured.
[6]

After the 2006 protest, a national strike closed down the country for four days. It ended when the government agreed to ban open-pit coal mining in Phulbari and expel Asia Energy Corporation) out of the country. However, the government plans to announce a new coal policy by June 2011, and GCM Resources expects the mine to move forward. The National Indigenous Union and a broad coalition of human rights and environmental organizations are appealing for international support to stop the mine.[7]

On Feb. 28, 2011, about 2,000 protesters united to blockade a highway in the Phulbari region and demanded that the government honor the six-point agreement signed on August 31, 2006, which bans open pit coal mining throughout Bangladesh, and calls for the permanent expulsion of Global Coal Management from the country.[8]

Board of directors[9]

Board

Accessed September 2012: [10]

Contact details

GCM Resources plc
2nd Floor, Foxglove House
166 - 168 Piccadilly
London, W1J 9EF
United Kingdom
Email: info AT gcmplc.com
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7290 1630
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7290 1631
Website: http://www.gcmplc.com/

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. GCM Resources, "Overview", GCM Resources website, accessed August 2009.
  2. "Phulbari coal financiers Banktrack, Jan. 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 GCM Resources, "Asia Energy Corporation (Bangladesh) Pty Ltd", GCM Resources website, accessed August 2009.
  4. Chin S. Kuo, The Mineral Industry of Bangladesh: 2007, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, December 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Phulbari Coal Mine, Bangladesh" International Accountability Project, accessed Feb. 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "‘You cannot eat coal’: resistance in Phulbari" Banglapraxis, August 19, 2008.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Bangladesh: Ban Coal Mine, Save Forests and Farms" Cultural Survival, accessed Feb. 2011.
  8. Kate Hoshour, "Massive protest against Phulbari & Barapukuria coal mines in Bangladesh" International Accountability Project, March 4, 2011.
  9. "Directors" GCM Resources, accessed March 2011.
  10. GCM Resources Board, organizational web page, accessed September 17, 2012.

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External resources

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