LONDON, ENGLAND -- Alexandra Thebert, Save the Wild U.P. executive director, attended Rio Tinto’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) for shareholders on April 18, 2013, in London and voiced community concerns regarding Eagle Mine near Big Bay, Mich.
Thebert reminded Rio Tinto’s shareholders of the mine’s fraudulent permitting, engineers' warnings of unsound structure, the location of the portal under sacred ground (Eagle Rock), the removal of air filtration at the mine portal, uranium, and the continually growing opposition to Eagle Mine and growing support for protecting the community’s health and environment.*
"At what cost to our health and environment do you plan to continue this project for the so-called value of your shareholders?" Thebert asked.
Thebert's brief comments were followed by a rebuttal from Rio Tinto’s CEO, Sam Walsh, who states the mine has been awarded all the necessary permits. He also mentions the recent independent community monitoring program through the Marquette County Community Foundation and the Superior Watershed Partnership. He adds the uranium is naturally occurring in small percentages and is being tightly controlled by the company.* (Audio link below)
Thebert was one of several dissidents who protested Rio Tinto's practices around the world. She joined them on Monday, April 15, 2013, at the London Mining Network's "Stories of Resistance" event at the offices of Amnesty International.
During the London Mining Network's "Stories of Resistance" event on April 15, 2013, Save the Wild U.P.'s Executive Director Alexandra Thebert, center, joins an international panel of dissidents critical of mining practices of Rio Tinto and Anglo American mining companies.
At that event, UK journalist John Vidal of the Guardian moderated a passionate, informative panel discussion, in which Alexandra joined representatives from Arizona, Columbia, Mongolia, South Africa, and West Papua to highlight the appalling labor and environmental records of global mining companies Rio Tinto and Anglo American.** (Video link below)
The London Mining Network is an alliance of human rights, development and environmental groups. They pledge to expose the role of companies, funders and government in the promotion of unacceptable mining projects.
More photos from Save the Wild U.P.
Pictured here with Alexandra Thebert, right, at the London Mining Network's "Stories of Resistance" event are Sukhgerel Dugersuren, left, executive director of Oyu Tolgoi Watch in Mongolia and Benny Wenda of West Papua, now living in exile in the UK, having been granted political asylum by the British government following his escape from custody while on trial. (London photos by Amy Scaife and courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)
Roger Featherstone, left, of Arizona Mining Reform Coalition, a group that opposes Rio Tinto's water diversion and tailings pile plans for a proposed mine in Arizona, speaks at the London Mining Network's "Stories of Resistance" event in London on April 15, 2013.
Audience members applaud for speakers at the "Stories of Resistance" event in London.
In solidarity, Save the Wild U.P.'s Alexandra Thebert attended this protest against Anglo American's practices at a gold mine in South Africa. "Yesterday I went to the protests surrounding mining giant Anglo American's shareholders meeting to show our solidarity," Thebert writes on Apr. 20. "You'll be totally unsurprised to find out that Anglo American swoops into communities just like Rio Tinto -- promising jobs and environmental protection and delivering neither."
* AUDIO: Click here to listen to this MP3 audio recording of Alexandra Thebert speaking at the Rio Tinto AGM on April 18, 2013.
** VIDEO: Click here to see a video clip of Alexandra Thebert speaking at the London Mining Network's "Stories of Resistance" event.
For more info visit Savethewildup.org and for more photos see Save the Wild U.P.'s Facebook page.