ArcelorMittal continues to pollute and uproot people`s lives.
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ArcelorMittal continues to pollute and uproot people s lives
report provides evidence from around the world
Luxembourg, May 12 - ArcelorMittal
needs to move beyond good intentions on environmental and social improvements
and turn words into deeds. Despite its rhetoric on social responsibility, the
company continues to destroy the environment, risk people’s lives and displace
local communities, according to a new report launched today by the Global
Action on ArcelorMittal coalition  to coincide with the company’s annual
shareholder meeting in Luxembourg.
Comprising case studies from seven countries ranging from the Czech Republic to
India and South Africa, the report also reveals new problems emerging around
ArcelorMittal’s iron ore mining operations in Nimba County, Liberia, including
unclear resettlement plans for local people, a lack of permanent employment
from the mine, threats to the Mount Nimba Nature Reserve, and a questionable
donation of 100 pick-up trucks.
“According to ArcelorMittal the trucks were meant ‘for agricultural
purposes’, but they have ended up being driven around Monrovia, Liberia’s
capital city, with tinted windows by members of the Liberian legislature,”
according to Silas Siakor from Friends of the Earth Liberia.
“ArcelorMittal is failing to live up to its promises to Liberia,” he
continues. “The lack of transparency in the management of the Community
Development Fund promised to impoverished Liberian communities and threats to
the Mount Nimba Nature Reserve are of serious concern when one reflects on
ArcelorMittal's track record in other countries.”
In eastern Europe and South Africa, local people report that there has been
little progress in reducing the high levels of air pollution from old
steelmills acquired by ArcelorMittal.
“The company’s approach in South Africa has been to organise meetings with
local communities to talk about reducing pollution rather than actually doing
it,” said Samson Mokoena, Coordinator of the Vaal
Environmental Justice Alliance in South Africa.
“ArcelorMittal’s eastern European plants, such as those in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kazakhstan, have benefited from more than USD 600
million in taxpayer-backed loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation for environmental
improvements in the last ten years. Yet there is little evidence of any
absolute reduction in pollution. In Bosnia-Herzegovina it has taken three and a
half years just to make an Environmental Action Plan, which has not yet been
implemented,” said Pippa Gallop of CEE Bankwatch Network.
“We’ve been monitoring ArcelorMittal’s environmental and health and safety
investments in Kazakhstan for several years now and nothing seems to have
changed. The city of Temirtau is still choked with air pollution,”
said Dana Sadykova of environmental NGO Karaganda Ecological Museum. “Thirty-five miners died in two separate incidents in ArcelorMittal’s
Kazakh mines during 2008 and in spite of the EBRD-backed health and safety
improvement project it is totally unclear what safety investments have been
“Predictably ArcelorMittal is now using the economic crisis as an excuse to
delay some of its environmental investments in the Czech Republic, but this is
unacceptable,” said Jan Srytr of Environmental Law Service.
“Protection against toxic pollution is not an added extra to be enjoyed during
the good times – a healthy environment is a fundamental right. The company
should use this period of lowered production to install improved pollution
control equipment and more efficient technologies.”
For more information, please contact:
Darek Urbaniak, Extractives Industry Campaign Coordinator, Friends of the Earth
Tel: +32 2 401 4804 or +32 495 460 258 (Belgian mobile),
Paul de Clerck, Corporates Campaigner for Friends of the Earth International:
Tel: +32 494 38 09 59 (Belgian mobile), paul[at]milieudefensie.nl
 The new report “ArcelorMittal – Going Nowhere Slowly: A review of the
global steel giant's environmental and social impacts in 2008-2009” reviews the company’s environmental and social impacts during the year since the coalition
published its first report on the company in May 2008.
It is available at www.globalaction-arcelormittal.org
and on the Bankwatch website at: http://bankwatch.org/documents/ArcelorMittal_Going_Nowhere.pdf
The new report includes case studies from Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, India, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Romania and South Africa. In addition to pollution
problems from existing plants the report includes case studies on two new
planned investments. ArcelorMittal’s plans to build two giant steel mills in
the Indian states of Orissa and Jharkhand are heavily opposed by local tribal
people, who would be displaced from their land. In Romania, the company is
planning to participate in the controversial Cernavoda 3 and 4 nuclear reactors
using Candu-6 technology, which critics such as Greenpeace claim is outdated
Global Action on ArcelorMittal is a network of community and environmental
groups from around the world who are working to get ArcelorMittal to invest in
pollution prevention and health and safety at its steel mills and coal and iron
ore mines. It includes CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth. For more
details see www.globalaction-arcelormittal.org
Last year’s report “In the wake of ArcelorMittal” can be found at: http://bankwatch.org/documents/mittal_local_impacts.pdf
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