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ABC News
19 November 2013

Endangered orangutans may be imperilled by a new coal development. Credit: iStockphoto

Endangered orangutans may be imperilled by a new coal development.
Credit: iStockphoto

BHP Billiton has a massive coal mine planned for Central Kalimantan. But local environmental activists are worried about its impact on people and forests.

FROM MY HOME IN Central Kalimantan, a province on the southern side of Indonesian Borneo, I have observed the Australian coal boom. Recently I was in Australia to talk about environmental destruction in Kalimantan and I was surprised how few people know that Kalimantan is experiencing a similar rush to extract fossil fuels. I think its important for Australians to know more because of the connections between our countries in the global coal market and the environmental crisis it is producing. Read the rest of this entry »

Note from Mines and Communities

In May 2010, the world’s largest mining company, BHP-Billiton, was accused of bribing the Cambodian government four years earlier, by shelling out US$3.5 million which never appeared on government books – and didn’t result in any benefit to the country’s citizens.

The payments were said to have been made in pursuit of a bauxite mining concession on 100,000 hectares of land in Mondolkiri province, for which the company paid an additional US$ 1 million in 2006. See: BHP’s ‘tea money’ missing in Cambodia

These charges have recently re-surfaced with Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen, being named as a beneficiary of the alleged corruption.

One Cambodian politician has described such illicit deals as “tea money”. 

Such a payment (if it occurred) is technically “small beer” for a company worth many billions of dollars. And BHP Billiton withdrew from the country in 2009.

Nonetheless it’s a highly serious matter, being regarded as such, at least by officials in Australia and the USA.

Read the rest of this entry »

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