Thursday, October 9, 2008

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) sells its shares in Phulbari mine scheme

World Development Movement, London, 08 October 2008

British bank Royal Bank of Scotland has sold its shares in Global Coal Management Resources (GCM ltd), the British company behind the Phulbari open-cast mine project in Bangladesh. In August 2008, 110 organisations from across the world wrote to RBS calling on it to withdraw its investment from the disastrous Phulbari project. The British bank has now responded by selling its shares, held through subsidiary ABN Amro, and telling campaigners RBS is “no longer an investor in GCM Resources”. The World Development Movement’s Policy Officer, Tim Jones, said: “RBS has joined Barclays and the Asian Development Bank in distancing themselves from this mine which would destroy the livelihood of tens of thousands of people. It is now up to Gareth Thomas and the UK government to do the same.” If it went ahead, the Phulbari open-cast mine would force more than 40,000 people to leave their homes and threaten the water supply of a further 100,000 people.

For more information and to take action go to:

Take Action

Kate Blagojevic Press officer, World Development Movement

0207 820 4900/4913, 07711 875 345


Sunday, October 5, 2008

World Development Movement (WDM) launches new campaign on Phulbari

World Development Movement (WDM) this week has launched a new part of their Phulbari campaign against the UK government’s support for the mine. WDM have written to their 15,000 members asking them to write to the UK Minister responsible for lobbying the Bangladesh government for the mine to go ahead.

The action is also on-line at:

GCM’s share price is now lower than it has ever been

You may be interested to know that GCM Resources Plc’s share price is now lower than it has ever been:

Visit GCM's website to see the downward curve:

Phulbari on UK Television

On September 30, 2008 on Channel 4, one of the UK’s four main TV channels, there was a programme about the men who are funding the opposition Conservative Party in the UK. One of them is Michael Alen-Buckley, Chairman of RAB Capital, former shareholders of GCM and now shareholders of Polo Resources. The programme had a short bit on Phulbari, and criticised RAB Capital for investing in the project, and the Conservative party for not speaking out against the Phulbari project. David Cameron, leader of the Conservatives, has previously said he would publicly “exhort” businesses which are not acting responsibly. The World Development Movement’s Director, Benedict Southworth, was interviewed in the programme.

You can try and watch the programme at (you need a faster internet connection):

The bit on Phulbari is about half-way through.

Energy div to convene inter-ministerial meeting on draft coal policy

Staff Correspondent, NewAge, October 5, 2008

The Energy Division will soon hold an inter-ministerial meeting on the draft coal policy to incorporate the observations of the council of advisers for placement of the policy draft before the council by early November, officials said.

‘We will hold the inter-ministerial meeting after the Eid holidays to incorporate observations of ministries such as
 the land and the environment in the draft coal policy,’ the energy secretary, Mohammad Mohsin, told New Age in the past week.

He said they would place the draft policy again before the council of advisers by early November.
 The council of advisers, headed by the chief adviser, Fakhruddin Ahmed, at a meeting on August 13 in Chittagong sent back the draft policy for further scrutiny as a number of advisers differed on some provisions in the draft.

One of the advisers wanted a clear decision on royalty on coal extraction as the draft had a provision that a proposed coal sector development committee would set the royalty rate.

Setting the royalty rate has remained a contentious issue in the coal policy as the Energy Division dropped a set of guidelines included by the advisory committee of former BUET vice-chancellor Abdul Matin Patwari to set the royalty rate.

The adviser at the Chittagong meeting observed a minimum royalty rate should be there in the policy along with the guidelines on chanting the rate from time to time.

The council also observed there should be a more clear explanation on the steps that would be taken to rehabilitate the people affected by or coal mining and on the use of mined land.

They also wanted a clear analysis of environmental management, especially of the water table.

The council also asked the division to include more
 explanation on the licensing process of the coal mine and foreign investment in exploring and developing coal fields.

Energy officials said such issues would be discussed at the inter-ministerial meeting and relevant ministries would give their comments on each issue.

Many energy officials, however, are sceptical whether the interim government would make a decision on the sensitive coal policy only two months before the general elections.

When asked whether they were expecting a decision on the coal policy from this government, Mohsin said, ‘The Energy Division will complete its part. We will place the draft policy before the council. Definitely we are expecting a decision.’