Guardian, 3 August 2007
It all has a depressingly familiar ring. The fingerprints of a British mining company are found to be all over abuses around the world. And again, there are high-level connections with the government. Enervated readers might be tempted to follow the lead of Gordon Brown, who is allowing it all to happen.
Anglo American, the world’s second largest mining company, today announces its financial figures for 2007, on the back of record profits in 2006 of more than $6bn. Last year, I visited Obuasi in Ghana, the site of Africa’s largest gold mine, run by AngloGold Ashanti (AGA), an Anglo American subsidiary. The mine had polluted local water systems, while many people told me how they live in fear of joint company/police “security” patrols, which have allegedly shot or killed several trespassers on company territory – a chareg denied by AGA. In the past year, the appalling poverty of villagers literally living on top of gold has not improved one jot….