Bangladeshi Protesters served notice of closure to British coal mining company

11 months old Usha says NO to Coal Mine, GCM receives warning at AGM  

By Raaj Manik

OFFICIAL NOTICE to GCM RESORUCES FROM PHULBARI PROTESTERS AND PEOPLE

Effective Immediately

Phulbari Solidarity Group Founder read out a Notice of closure to GCM at the demo on Friday Photo by Pete Mason

Friday, 18 December at 10:30am|4 Hamilton Place | London W1J 7BQ

This is to notify the London-based company, Global Coal Management Resources Plc., formerly known as Asia Energy, is coming down. The company has been hotly resisted by locals for its fatal business policy for nine years. Three people were shot dead and two hundred injured by company-provoked shooting by paramilitary force in a demonstration of 80,000 people opposing plans by GCM in 2006. The project has generated grave concern at national and international levels including the United Nations. Bangladesh government has cancelled the contract with the company. The government has repeatedly reassured protesters by official statements that Bangladesh does not want to build open pit mine in Phulbari. This year the UK government has published a statement highlighting the fierce opposition to GCM in Phulbari.

Due to its dodgy and unethical nature of business, the company was unable to register to London Stock Exchange. GCM is a member of London’s Alternative Investors Market. We note its business is dire. The company’s share price is falling every year. But the company is still pushing the government of Bangladesh for a fatal deal. In the month of the climate summit #COP21, when climate protests erupted across the globe seeking climate justice, they announced AGM to discuss a noxious deal to implement a massive open-pit coal mine by forcibly displacing 130,000 families in Phulbari. If the mine is built, it would destroy 14,600 hectares of highly cultivable land and would pose threats to clean water resources. The project would leave devastating impact on the country’s only mangrove forest and a UNESCO heritage site, the Sundarbans.

We advise GCM to close dodgy business by this year’s AGM. The company must clear their London office with immediate. Failure to do so will result in high penalty.

CONSIDER THIS AS A FINAL NOTICE TO CLOSE YOUR FAKE BUSINESS!

For further information contact: Bangladesh National Committee, UK branch http://protectbdresources.org.uk, www.ncbd.org and Phulbari Solidarity Group: http://phulbarisolidaritygroup.wordpress.com/

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On Friday 18 December 2015, the above notice of closure was served to an AIM-listed British mining company by Bangladeshi community and transnational campaigners to save Phulbari and the green land in northwest Bangladesh. After a successful noise-demo outside the company’s Annual General Meeting, the founder of the Phulbari SolidarityGroup and an eye witness to the carnage in Phulbari on 26 August, 2006, Rumana Hashem has read out the Notice of Closure on behalf of the protesters.

The demo organised by the UK branch of Bangladesh National Committee and the Phulbari Solidarity Group was participated by community women and men, and transnational climate change activists. Community women from Dinajpur and Phulbari joined the demo with their children as young as 11 months old.  They chanted slogans, banged spoons and played noisy flute to disrupt the Mayfair AGM of Global Coal Management. They said that GCM has no place in Bangladesh.

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Little Usha holds placard with his grand dad and mum from who came from Dinajpur to serve a notice of closure to GCM. Photo: Rumana Hashem

In the end of the demo the above notice of closure was served to GCM, which was handed into the board by their dissident shareholders who attended the AGM and questioned the company’s board about the social, economic and environmental impacts of the proposed Phulbari coal project. The dissident shareholders were greeted by other shareholders for raising important and timely questions. The board was clearly embarrassed when the Bangladeshi activists challenged the validity of the suspended contract with Bangladesh government.

Transnational advocates for climate change joined the demo with community activists. Indian anti-mining campaigner and the founder of Foil Vedanta, the activists from the London Mining Networks, leaders of the Socialist Party and the Tower Hamlet’s Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition stood in full solidarity with the Phulbari activists and community environmentalists. Three representatives of the protesters walked into the AGM and questioned the chair of the company about illegal share business, and workers injuries in the shooting on 26 August in 2006.

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Protesters took over the entrance to block the investors which led to an argument with the company security personnel who tried to protect the company executives. Photo: Rumana Hashem

Protesters said that this year’s AGM would be GCM’s last ever meeting in London. In a notice of closure, they denounced the company as a fraudulent corporation that does not have any valid contract with Bangladeshi government. The company does not hold any other valid business elsewhere in the globe but they are selling shares in London’s alternative investors’ market. The protesters called upon Michael Tang and Gary Lye to close GCM’s London office without delay. The protesters and the Bangladeshi community activists would lock the company’s head office at Piccadilly in June 2016, otherwise, they said.

Watch video of the demo , with thanks to Socialist Party of England and Wales:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhxPY8LFPxA&feature=youtu.be

A detailed report of the interrogation inside the AGM is here: GCM Withering and Wilting [http://londonminingnetwork.org/2015/12/gcm-withering-and-wilting/]

Photos of the demo can be accessed via Peter Marshall’s London Diary on Phulbari: http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2015/12/dec.htm#phulbari

More photos and video links can be accessed via Facebook Action-demo event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/180360322310156/

Further press coverage can be accessed via below links:

Protest in London against Phulbari coal mine: http://en.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/news/89367/Protest-in-London-against-Phulbari-coal-mine

Protesters fight coal mining project in Bangladesh: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/21925/20-12-2015/protesters-fight-coal-mining-project-in-bangladesh

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