RTZ meeting ends in walkout by protesters
Thursday 09 May 1996
The protest came shortly after one environmental activist attempted to storm the podium where the massed ranks of RTZ's board were assembled.
He accused RTZ, the world's largest mining company, of "crimes against the planet" before he was collared by security guards and dragged from the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster.
The campaigners failed to stop Sir Derek from winding up the two-hour meeting by calling for a poll in an effort to extend the question-and- answer session. Sir Derek used proxy votes in respect of 354 million shares out of the 355 million represented in the hall to quash the motion.
"That's democracy for you," moaned one shareholder. The meeting then degenerated into an undignified shouting match while the rest of the votes were counted.
The rowdy end was at odds with the rest of proceedings, which were more like a debate at the United Nations than the soporific, rubber-stamping affair that passes for annual shareholder gatherings these days.
Speakers came from Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Madagascar and the US to air their views on the impact RTZ and its associates' mining operations, both existing and proposed, are having on local habitats and communities.
They were joined by London-based pressure groups Friends of the Earth, Survival and the World Development Movement, which demonstrated outside the venue on issues including RTZ's potential involvement in a Madagascar mineral sands project and its involvement with Grasberg, the copper-gold mines located in Indonesia's Irian Jaya highlands.
The World Development Movement is calling on RTZ to withdraw its pounds 500m investment in the expansion of the Grasberg mine, claiming it will lead to "irretrievable damage to the environment". The mine, which is owned by Freeport, a US mining company where RTZ has a 12 per cent stake, was closed last month for three days following a series of riots by workers, most of whom come from outside the Irian Jaya area.
Robert Wilson, chief executive, rejected allegations that Freeport was involved in human rights abuses in the area and reiterated RTZ's commitment to work with local communities, "particularly where indigenous people are involved, so that even when the mine has finally closed we have helped to sustain their chosen way of life".
None of this reassured the campaigners. One shareholder, who travelled from Nevada claiming indigenous families had been removed from a reservation to allow RTZ to mine for gold, didn't even bother to put a question to the board. "I already know all the answers," she said.
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
Nepal earthquake: The race is on to help thousands trapped under rubble around Kathmandu, while remote villages face a long wait for help
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...