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Monday, September 25, 2023

Germany responsible for mining related displacements in Guinea, say groups

A team of campaigners has said that Germany should be held responsible for large scale loss of livelihood and displacement of farmers in Guinea.

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor

They insist that the German government is driving land grabbing, environmental destruction and human rights violations.

According to them, besides being a buyer of bauxite, Germany is also a financier by providing a $293 million loan guarantee for the expansion of the Sangaredi open-pit bauxite mine in the West African nation.

“To make way for the expansion of the mine, villagers are being forced out of their homes – richly decorated houses that once stood amid large trees – and robbed of their livelihoods as small farmers. More than 500 local people were forcibly relocated, and their fields destroyed, leaving them with nothing – no arable land, and not even a source of safe drinking water,” submitted Rainforest Rescue, which is involved in a campaign to halt loan guarantees for bauxite mines in Guinea alongside partner organisations Powershift and FIAN.

The activists called on Germany to ensure that its industry’s appetite for raw materials does not harm people in the global South.

“The mining industry in Guinea is trampling the human rights of local people in order to keep German industry supplied with the light metal: 93.1% of the bauxite ore imported into Germany for aluminum production is mined in Guinea.

“Aluminum is a lightweight material that promises ease and convenience. But producing it is tough on the environment – and even tougher on people in the West African country of Guinea.”

Written in English, German, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Italian and Portuguese, the campaigners are seeking signatories to a petition addressed to the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, and titled “Do not provide loan guarantees for projects that violate human rights and environmental standards.”

They added: “The bauxite mine is robbing more than 500 people around the village of Hamdallaye of their livelihoods. Once their ornate houses stood in the midst of old trees. But the inhabitants were forcibly relocated, their fields destroyed and their connections to the local road network and water resources were cut off by the mine.

“New Hamdallaye is located in an unrestored, exhausted part of the bauxite mine, an area that has not been prepared for settlement and is completely unsuitable for agriculture. People are being driven from their homes in the middle of the Covid crisis and face likely destitution by being forced to make a new start on inhospitable land.

“The residents of 12 villages have filed complaints with the World Bank against the expansion of the Sangaredi mine. The villages were relocated despite the violation of national laws and ongoing mediation. Guinea is not an isolated case: Time and again, mining companies make themselves guilty of violating human rights and destroying the environment for the extraction of raw materials.”

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