Friday, June 19, 2009

Keep export option, build green city: Expat experts suggest at discussion on coal

Refayet Ullah Mirdha, back from Tangail, The Daily Star, June 19, 2009

A panel of non-resident Bangladeshi experts yesterday suggested that the government formulate a coal policy with an option to export the surplus fossil fuel.

It talked about merits and demerits of open-cut and underground methods of coal extraction, but did not recommend any.

At a post-workshop press conference at Jamuna resort in Tangail, the energy experts said the government should build 'green cities' near the coal mines to ensure locals are safe from environmental hazards.

They also stressed the need for arranging alternative means of livelihood for the people affected by coal mining.

Nafis Ahmed, a panel member, said they have asked the government to develop a database through geographic information system for a 30-year land management in the mining localities.

"We have also suggested regular dialogue between the government and experts on protection of the environment from the perils of extraction," he added.

The panel observed that the country would be able to have four 500-megawatt power plants if coal mining at Barapukuria and Fulbaria runs on full throttle.

It said it favours exporting the coal in excess of the domestic demand because extraction, once underway, cannot be stopped.

The experts drew up a draft coal policy during the workshop titled 'Brainstorming with Non-Resident Bangladeshi Experts on Coal Mining in Bangladesh'.

The four-day group work, which began on June 15, was organised by the energy ministry and Petrobangla, the state body mandated to oversee production, transmission and marketing of gas, oil and other mineral resources.

In the draft, the expatriates' team suggested securing energy security for 20 years, provided the GDP growth would hover around 8 percent a year.

M Khalequzzaman, one of the specialists, said that while sketching out the policy, they focussed on energy security, institutional and legal framework, resource mobilisation, environment, health and safety issues, and resettlement and rehabilitation of those who would be affected.

Alongside its own coffers, he noted, the government should count on stock markets, public-private partnerships, banks and security bonds for funds.

Mohammad Mohsin, secretary of the energy ministry, said they would discuss the suggestions at the secretary-level committee to include those in the government's draft coal policy.

"The government wants a coal policy as soon as possible. However, I cannot give you an exact time by which the proposed policy would be finalised," he told reporters.

Muktadir Ali, acting chairman of Petrobangla, said he has already recommended export of 2 lakh tonnes of surplus coal produced at the Barapukuria coal mine.

Among others, Toufiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, power and energy adviser to the prime minister, was present at the press conference.

Experts’ suggest coal export in ‘special circumstances’

Staff Correspondent, NewAge, June 19, 2009

The non-resident Bangladeshi ‘experts’ have recommended that the government should keep open in the coal policy an option for coal export in ‘special circumstances’.

They have also recommended not banning or favouring any coal mining method in the policy and stressed that a mining method is selected for ‘maximum extraction of coal’ considering environment.

The recommendations came in the four-day coal mining workshop that ended on Thursday at Jamuna Resort in Tangail.

Explaining special circumstances for coal export, the coordinator of the ‘experts’ Dr Nasif Ahmed, an expert on networking of people, told reporters in a press briefing that if any surplus coal remained stockpiled for days, there would be no alternative but to export them.

‘If two out of four coal-based power plants go out of order and the coal cannot be stored, it can be exported in this circumstance. This kind of situation has already become obvious in the Barapukuria coal field,’ he said.

Petrobangla chairman Muktedir Ali told reporters they had requested the government to allow export of two lakh tonnes of coal from the Barapkuria coal mine as they could not store more coals at present.

‘We have 2.5 lakh tonnes of coal stockpiled at Barapkuria as the 250MW coal-based power plant is not operating in its full capacity. The field is producing around 3000-4000 tonnes coal a day. There is no more space for storing coal,’ he said.

Muktedir said that they had already invited local tender to sell the coal but did not get satisfactory response.

Professor M Khalequzzaman from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, USA, said they thought Bangladesh was not in a position to export any energy resources like coal as it was facing energy shortage.

He said they could not reach on any ‘specific agreement’ on coal mining method but they reached a consensus that mining method should focus maximum extraction keeping environment into consideration.

Khalequzzaman read out the recommendations that included expansion of use of coal beyond power generation, building institutional capability and develop skilled manpower on coal by developing ‘Coal Bangla,’ a national organisation.

He said the environmental quality standard had to be formulated for coal extraction.

Nafis claimed that they had given their independent opinions on the coal policy.

The government gave them the latest version of coal policy, which was formulated by the interim government by changing the draft policy finalised by the committee headed by former BUET vice chancellor Abdul Matin Patwari, before the eight NRB ‘experts’.

The panel also said Bangladesh would be able to run four power plants each with 500MW capacity if the coal could be extracted from both the Barapukuria and the Fulbaria coal mines.

They suggested mobilising fund for coal extraction from government exchequer, stock market, public-private partnership initiatives, bank loans and security bonds.

At the press briefing, energy secretary Mohammad Mohsin said, ‘The government wants that the coal policy is formulated as soon as possible. But I cannot say exactly when the proposed coal policy will be finalised.’

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Expat experts begin reviewing coal issues: Barapukuria mine operating amid high risk, they observe

The Daily Star, June 18, 2009

While dissecting the draft coal policy at a four-day brainstorming session, a panel of expatriate and local experts emphasised on health and environmental aspects in finalising the policy that should additionally be trimmed down.

They said that the policy should dictate that health and environment should represent at least two percent of any coal mining cost.

According to sources present at the brainstorming session being held at the Jamuna Resort from June 15, the experts agreed on the draft's suggestion on forming a “Coal Bangla” like Petrobangla to spearhead activities in the coal sector.

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (Berc) will have an inspector of mines as a tool to regulate the mining standards from geological perspective, while the Department of Environment would deal with the surface environment, they said at the session that concludes today.

The Petrobangla and the energy ministry invited the expatriates at this programme to stimulate a fresh perspective on the draft coal policy, land subsidence at the Barapukuria coal mine site and human resettlement issues.

“The discussions here have been highly academic. The non-resident Bangladeshis are not related to any private company working in Bangladesh and they have not been involved with the drafting of the policy in the past. They are not debatable, though some quarters are trying to make the people suspicious about this session,” said an official of Petrobangla present at the discussions.

The discussants felt that the draft coal policy had a lot of chapters not relevant as policy. “We all agreed that this document should be confined within policy matters,” said a source.

The draft also seeks to ensure coal reserve to meet 50 years of demand. The discussants felt that it was not realistic as, in the course of time, there would be many unpredictable developments that would demand changes in the strategy.

The country did not have adequate data on proven coal reserve except for the case of Barapukuria and Phulbari deposits and therefore it should take up extensive feasibility study of other discovered coal deposits.

Bangladesh should mark a mining zone and begin exploration extensively, they said.

The draft policy projected coal demands mainly on the basis of power sector requirements. But the policy should take into cognisance other sectors' requirements.

In the high-energy demand scenario, the experts find no reason to allow export of coal. However in some peculiar conditions, the provision of export should be kept there. For instance, due to power plant failure in Barapukuria, the coal mine there now has so much surplus coal that these should be exported or removed to other places to ensure safety.

To develop the coal sector huge resources are required. This resource may be derived from public private partnership, share market, issuance of bonds, loans from development partners, leasing etc.

Besides the session discussed about financial incentives for investors and gathering of baseline data from the coal deposit areas.

Double PhD holder from UK and Australia on minerals, Dr. Nasir Ahmed is acting as the coordinator of the expatriate group. Other expatriate experts are: Dr Saad Andalib, Professor and the Chair of Marketing, Pennsylvania State University, USA, Dr Khalequzzaman, head of Geology Department of Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania, US based environmentalist Dr Sarwat Chowdhury, mining engineer working in Queensland coal and iron mines Masud Hossain, and Melbourne based Global Positioning System and Global Information System expert Sultana Nasrin.

The chairmen of Petrobangla and Power Development Board (PDB), members from Geological Survey of Bangladesh, Bureau of Mineral Development, Barapukuria Coal Mine Company, Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd, Dr Hossain Monsur of the Geology Department of Dhaka University, and representatives from the Rajshahi University and the Chemical Engineering Department of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) are participating in the session.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

NRB experts divide over mining method, export of coal

Staff Correspondent, NewAge, June 17, 2009

The non-resident Bangladeshi experts are divided over the coal mining method, rate of royalty and coal export issue, said the sources present at the four-day workshop on coal policy that began at the Jamuna Resort in Tangail on Monday.

‘There was a clear division among the NRB experts who came from the USA and Australia. Majority of the experts, came from Australia, were in favour of open pit mining method, fixing low royalty rate and keeping the coal export issue open,’ said the sources.
 Eight NRB experts are attending the workshop on the coal mining method and coal policy,’ organised by the state-owned Petrobangla.

Two experts, came from the USA, highlighted the impact of open pit mining of coal on the environment and people, presenting the examples of the USA.
 They also opined that Bangladesh should not allow export of coal to secure its future energy reserve.

There was a ‘clear motive’ in projecting the underground mining at the Barapukuria coal field as a complete failure by the experts from Australia and their choice for open pit mining method, the sources said.
 Moreover they claimed that if the royalty rate was fixed at a higher rate, the cost of power generation using coal would get increased.

They also recommended that the coal policy should not impose ban on the coal export from Bangladesh.

The NRB experts are reviewing the draft coal policy that was prepared by an advisory committee, headed by former vice-chancellor of BUET, Abdul Matin Patwari.

The Patrwari committee recommended ban on coal export, development of coal fields under the leadership of the state-run companies, fixing royalty rate based on some criteria like coal price in the international market and operation of a small scale open pit mine at Barapukuria field to see the feasibility of such mining method in Bangladesh before going to apply it in other fields.

‘It seems that the workshop will adopt the recommendations of the experts, loyal to the UK-Australian company Asia Energy, who opposed the recommendations of the Patwari committee,’ the sources said adding that the ‘experts’ would come up with a complete set of recommendations today.

The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port, and different rights groups are protesting at holding of the workshop by the government terming the ‘Jamuna Resort meeting’ a conspiracy to allow the controversial Asia Energy to extract coal through open pit mining method at Phulbari field and export of coal.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

PDB plans big for six coal-fired power plants: over 2,900MW to be added by 2015; ten rental plants by year-end

Sharier Khan, The Daily Star, June 9, 2009

In view of the gloomy gas supply scenario, the Power Development Board (PDB) for the first time shifted its focus from gas-fired plants and proposed for six coal-fired power projects -- five of them very large -- totalling 2,625 megawatt to be installed by 2013-2015, sources say.

In addition, PDB in its proposal to the power ministry recommended setting up of three more 100MW duel-fuel power plants by 2013.

At the same time, PDB sees a power crisis of 1,467MW by this December and recommends setting up of 10 small non-gas rental power projects of 400MW capacity for one-year term to ease the crisis throughout 2010.

The proposal says of the six coal-fired plants, five would be 500MW in capacity each. These would be set up on the basis of partnership between the public and private sectors or as independent power projects (IPP) like the Meghnaghat plant, having 25 years of contract for each.

The PDB incurs loss from purchasing power from rental and liquid fuel-based private power plants, as their tariffs are higher than PDB's selling price.

PDB's loss is higher for rental power projects. The PDB proposes that the government allocate it subsidy to cover up the losses.

If the ministry in principle approves these projects, PDB would take steps to determine technical and financial feasibility, location selection, fuel types and types of contracts for rental, IPP and public-private partnership.

The five large coal-fired plants will be located in Khulna, Chittagong, Meghnaghat-3, Meghnaghat-4 and Maowa. The first two plants could be commissioned by 2013 and the rest in 2015.

The coal could be imported or locally produced. Sources say coal has been chosen as the main alternative source of power, as the other options like imported oil or liquefied natural gas (LNG) are costlier.

On an average, coal-fired power costs US 5-6 cents per kilowatt hour, nuclear power also costs the same, gas 6-7 cents, wind 8 cents and solar 10-15 cents globally.

Besides, PDB could undertake a 125mw coal power project at the cost of $190 million at Katakhali in Rajshahi. The PDB may also take up three 100MW duel-fuel (having the capacity to use both gas and oil) projects, each costing $160 million in Faridpur, Hathazari and Dohazari.

On the one-year rental power projects, PDB recommends heavy fuel-fired plants in Thakurgaon of 20MW capacity, Khulna barge-mounted 50MW capacity and Noapara 50MW capacity.

The remaining rental plants would be fired by liquid fuel. They are 50MW Ashuganj, 40MW Bheramara, 40MW Barisal, 50MW Katakhali, 50MW Cox's Bazar and 50MW Shikalbaha.

The government had bitter experience with rental power projects, none of which could launch operation in time and some of which could not launch operation at all.

PDB sources say this negative experience was caused by selection of wrong contractors during the caretaker government.

"The upcoming power crisis demands that the government take quick measures to minimise the crisis. If awarded to competent contractors, rental plants can be a very effective solution, though it will be costlier than conventional plants," said an official.

As per the Power System Master Plan (PSMP) update 2006, the power demand in December this year should be 6,066MW, while the installed capacity should be 7,313MW.

But the power projects under implementation would add 811MW by December, leaving a power crisis of 1,467MW.

Presently the official capacity of PDB is around 5,000MW, while it can practically generate less than 4,000MW.

The PSMP update also says the demand will shoot up to 8,364MW in 2013, while the installed capacity should be 9,979MW.

"Presently the government has taken up various power projects which will bring 3,200MW power by 2014. The flaw in this plan is that these projects are not enough. We project that there will still be a power crisis of 2,000MW. This is why we are preparing a proposal," said a top PDB source.

The parliamentary standing committee on power had earlier reviewed the power projects under implementation and felt that they were not enough to address the country's problems.

The committee asked PDB to work on the plan and send it to the power ministry, sources say.

"The standing committee told PDB that it would strongly recommend the new power projects," a PDB official added.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Govt to have coal policy reviewed by "expatiate Bangladeshi experts"

Staff Correspondent, NewAge, June 6, 2009

The government will have the coal policy reviewed by a group of ‘expatriate Bangladeshi experts’ at an expense of around Tk 80 lakh, most of which will be donated by an organisation from a European country that allegedly campaigns for open-pit coal-mining.

Sources in the energy ministry and Petrobangla said that the four-day programme, from June 15-18, will include a brainstorming meeting at the Jamuna Resort in Tangail for thrashing out ideas and a visit to coal-fields in Dinajpur for gathering first-hand data before making any recommendations on the coal policy.

Apart from ‘expatriate experts’, members of the parliamentary standing committee on the power and energy ministry and officials of various government agencies, like the Geological Survey of Bangladesh and Department of Environment, might attend the discussions organised by Petrobangla.

Sources said that a European organisation that has sponsored a number of roundtables and seminars to promote open-pit mining, and the controversial Asia Energy’s Phulbari project, would provide around $1 lakh for the programme.

They said that so far nine ‘expatriate experts’, including one who vehemently supports Asia Energy’s proposed open-pit mining at Phulbari, have consented to participate in the programme. ‘All their air fares and other expenses will be paid by the organiser of the programme,’ said a source.

The ‘experts’ will review the latest draft of the coal policy, which was slightly changed by the interim government after an advisory committee, headed by the BUET’s former vice-chancellor Abdul Matin Patwari, finalised the draft.

Many energy experts, economists and rights activists, while talking to New Age, have expressed concern over the government’s move to review the policy, expressing the apprehension that the move has been taken to ‘legitimise open-pit mining and Asia Energy’s Phulbari coal project’.

Petrobangla’s chairman Muktadir Ali, however, dismissed the allegation that, by reviewing the policy, they were trying to favour any specific mining method or any particular company.

‘The motive of the move to review the draft of the coal policy by some so-called experts is clear. The government wants to legitimise open-pit mining and Asia Energy’s project through the coal policy,’ said a member of the Patwari committee.

He said that the Patwari committee’s draft was appreciated by almost all sections of experts in the country, apart from some foreign companies. ‘The committee also consisted of people with different opinions and the report was prepared after a prolonged debate that continued day after day,’ he said.

Professor Anu Mohammad, member secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port, told New Age on Friday, ‘We think this is a ploy to legitimise Asia Energy’s project in Bangladesh. We have learnt that a European organisation that supports open-pit mining, and some of the so-called experts who campaigned for the Phulbari project, will review the coal policy. So we are very concerned.’

Muktadir, however, said, ‘The expatriate experts will just share their experiences with us on coal mining in different countries. It is the government which will ultimately decide which recommendations it will accept.’

‘Besides, the coal policy is in the final stage. There is no scope anymore to favour any company or any mining method. If any good suggestions come up from the experts, the government will mull them over,’ he said.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New report reveals how UK companies get away with human rights abuses overseas as Parliamentary Inquiry is launched

Monday 4 May 2009, by The Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition

UK companies that have committed human rights abuses overseas far too often get away with it, a new report launched today (1 May) reveals.

Reviewing examples from Kenya, India, Bangladesh, Georgia and Nigeria. the report, entitled “The Reality of Rights: Barriers to accessing remedies when business operates beyond borders”, finds that in cases of alleged human rights violations, systemic failures have too often led to victims not receiving adequate redress.

Although previous research in this area has highlighted legal obstacles to victims seeking justice, this is the first comprehensive study of the very real political, social and economic obstacles that prevent victims receiving adequate remedy.

The report’s key findings include:

• Governments’ desire to attract foreign investment undermines their protection of the rights of those affected by the investment;

• A serious lack of trust in the independence of legal systems undermines victims’ desire to pursue claims;

• Victims are pressured not to act and those that still want to often can’t afford to.

The report concludes that the UK Government has a responsibility to ensure UK companies do not continue to get away with violating human rights abroad. A new UK Commission on Business, Human Rights & The Environment is proposed to provide guidance to companies on what standards they must adhere to when operating abroad, and act as a forum for hearing and resolving allegations of infringements.

The findings of this report will be submitted to The Joint Committee on Human Rights, who have just launched an Inquiry into Business and Human Rights (deadline for submissions today, 1 May).

Hannah Ellis, Coordinator of The Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition said:

“Too many UK companies are breaching human rights when they operate abroad Our report reveals why so many companies continue to get away with it.

“The Government has no excuse not to act now. We believe the solution is a new UK Commission for Business, Human Rights & The Environment. We hope it will be discussed urgently by the Government..”

Mary Robinson, President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative and former President of Ireland, who contributed the foreword to the new report, said:

“The innovative approach this report puts forward is a significant contribution to ongoing debates which should be taken seriously by governments and businesses committed to responsible action at home and abroad.”

For more information, please contact: • The Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition: Hannah Ellis. +44 (0) 207 566 1601. +44 (0)7952 876 929 • The London School of Economics and Political Science: Sue Windebank. + 44 (0) 20 7849 4624

Download the report: The Reality of Rights: Barriers to accessing remedies when business operates beyond borders

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bangladesh's untapped coal potential

Mark Muller* with Roger Moody** The Daily Star, June 2, 2009

THE Bangladesh Ministry of Power and Energy recently asserted that the country must more than double delivered power within the next five years (from around 4,000 MW to 9,000 MW per day). With the installation and operation of four new coal-fired power stations, it is claimed that the current daily gap between generation and demand would be reduced to 1,500 MW.

According to Bangladesh's National Energy Policy 2004 (quoted in The Independent, May 9) total coal reserves are 2,527 million tonnes, contained in four fields: Barapukuria with around 300 million tonnes; Phulbari with 400 million tonnes; Jamalganj containing 1,000 million tons, and 450 million tonnes at Khalaspir. Of these resources, 492 million tonnes are estimated to be recoverable by mining.

However, the key questions are: how much of this coal, and of what quality, is actually usable; and when would it realistically be available to generate electricity? This is something that the proposed joint feasibility study between government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will hopefully address. But it's not yet known how long it will take to complete this study. Nor can we anticipate any conclusions it might make concerning the economic, social and environmental costs contingent on hugely increasing Bangladesh's dependency on coal over the coming years.

The mining recovery estimate seems highly optimistic. Mark Muller, as an experienced mining geophysicist, recently carried out an independent technical review of Bangladesh's coal reserves. Based on existing surveys, he concluded that they amount to between 3,200 and 4,700 million tonnes, using the most optimistic figures found.

These reserves appear sufficient to close the gap markedly between current power generation and predicted requirements. However, coal-seam depth, thickness and separation are the primary geological factors that determine the appropriate extraction method. Many seams will not, in fact, be amenable to extraction at all using currently available mining methods.

Bangladesh's only operating coalmine, at Barapukuria, has so far delivered less than 3 million tonnes. This is despite the 1992 projection that it would be able to produce 60 million tonnes. Six years later, in 1998, and following severe flooding, that target was cut in half to 30 million tonnes.

As is well known, the mine's impacts at the surface have been devastating. Land subsidence of between 0.6-0.9 m has been reported over an area of approximately 1.2 square kilometres; the water-table has dropped, leaving commonly-used reservoirs dry in 15 villages; and at least 81 houses have developed cracks. Untreated water (acknowledged by the mining company to contain phosphorous, arsenic and magnesium) is passing through canals in farming areas.

The Phulbari open-cast project is beset by heated debate over its likely impacts on local communities, its dependence on a foreign company, and by major doubts about its economic viability, particularly if the mine isn't to rely on exporting most of the coal it produces. Last year, Roger Moody performed an in-depth critique of these aspects of the proposed Phulbari mine.

This leaves the hardly-investigated Khalaspir field, and Jamalganj, cited by the ministry as potentially the largest source of coal, comprising more than a third of the country's "cache." However, our research -- now backed by an article in the May 21 issue of Energy and Power -- strongly suggests that the majority of the Jamalganj resource is too deep to be mined: 96% of it is deeper than 700 m.

Moreover, given the lead-time required to bring any of these three deposits into commercial operation and start producing electricity from power plants, the claim that coal could reduce Bangladesh's shortfall by around 3,500 MW within the next five years seems terribly over-optimistic.

This is not to say that coal should be abandoned altogether. On the contrary, our research has identified two potential sources of coal-generated energy that have four significant virtues. They are comparatively cheap, can deliver power to nearby power stations, are relatively clean in terms of pollution emissions; and they don't necessitate the disturbances of land and people that are associated with conventional mining.

These technologies -- Coal Bed Methane (CBM) and Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) -- have already proved viable in several countries, including the USA, Canada, China, Australia, South Africa and Uzbekistan, with pilot projects now underway in the UK, Spain and Belgium.

We don't claim that CBM and UCG will solve all Bangladesh's energy problems; nor that they are "trouble free." They can have adverse impacts on land and water, interrupt agriculture, and be unsightly. There's also little doubt that they deliver less energy than the coal seams from which they derive, if those deposits are efficiently mined. Yet the energy return from UCG can be as high as 75% of that delivered directly by coal.

Coal-seams not accessible by mining are well within reach of both CBM and UCG, and can add significantly to the recoverable resource. (Again, this conclusion is supported by the May 21 issue of Energy and Power). Their surface impact, and that on hydrology, is significantly lower than with mining. Loss of valuable agricultural land is greatly reduced. The need for solid waste-rock and coal-ash management on the surface is entirely removed. There is no subsidence risk at all for CBM, and little for deep-seam UCG (although the UCG subsidence risk for shallow seams needs to be carefully managed).

In addition, a CBM project could deliver electrical power output in half the time required for mining -- as little as five years from starting a feasibility drilling program and study.

Apart from two studies -- one carried out by M.B. Imam, M. Rahman, and S.H. Akhter in 2002 at Jamalganj; and the other at Barapukuria by M.R. Islam and D. Hayashi in 2008 -- no concerted investigation has yet been undertaken into the potential of these two technologies for Bangladesh. Nor -- despite the Asian Development Bank recently listing CBM as a "clean development" mechanism -- are these methods currently being considered as part of the country's future "energy mix."

In conclusion, we want to emphasise that, even where Bangladesh's coal reserves appear to be mineable, there are compelling reasons why the alternatives should now be urgently investigated. This should be done before hasty and irrevocable decisions are taken which expose citizens to further disasters like Barapukuria.

Read Mark Muller's study, entitled “How coal may produce energy without being mined

Read Roger Moody's critique of the Phulbari project: Phulbari Coal: A Perilous Project

*Mark Muller has a Ph.D. in geophysics and 20 years of mining industry and research experience.

**Roger Moody is an international consultant on the social and environmental impacts of mining.