Mining companies Drummond Ltd. and Glencore subsidiary Prodeco denied allegations the companies provided financial and logistical support to armed groups, but declined to provide substantive details on Tuesday.
According to a report published Monday by a Dutch NGO, the companies allegedly funded and encouraged the proliferation of paramilitary groups responsible for 2,600 selective assassinations, 500 killed in massacres, 240 disappearances, and 59,000 internally displaced people in the northern Colombia state of Cesar between 1996 and 2006.
The NGO’s report was based on testimonies by victims and victimizers of the now-defunct AUC paramilitary group.
“But not to your questions”
American company Drummond and Prodeco on Tuesday refuted the allegations found in the 142-page investigative report by Dutch peace organization PAX.
Neither multinational responded to specific questions from Colombia Reports about the nature of the relationship between the companies and the paramilitaries; why security personnel had alleged links to paramilitaries; and the stance of the companies on the victims of atrocities in the vicinity of the mines.
They did respond with generalized statements denouncing the allegations against them and as of publication time on Tuesday night, a Drummond spokesperson told this website that the company was “formulating a wider response, but not about the questions you asked.”
Drummond and Glencore both called the accusations “untrue, unsubstantiated, and based on false testimony,” according to press releases.
“Designed to hurt us”
Glencore stated in their press release that the NGO’s report was “designed to hurt us.”
The head of the Latin American Program of Pax, Marianne Moor, said the report took three years to compile, involved numerous trips to the conflict zone and involved working with a group of around 80 victims of displacement and paramilitary violence.
Drummond is Colombia’s second largest producer of coal and the second biggest coal provider for Europe, according to Bloomberg news. Glencore is Colombia third largest coal producer.
“We haven’t been taken to court”
Prodeco stated in a press release that they have not been taken to court regarding the allegations and that the company has paid $1.1 billion to the Colombian government in taxes and royalties.
Drummond’s press release stated “the accusations against the company regarding the supposed collaboration with paramilitaries in the Cesar state have been rejected by courts in the United States.”
Drummond’s defense against the accusations by PAX have repeatedly referenced court cases against Drummond that were dismissed by the judge.
However, Moor says that the cases were dismissed because the link between alleged crimes committed by Drummond’s Colombian subsidiary and the Drummond parent company based in Alabama could not be drawn. The cases were not dismissed because of the evidence or testimony against Drummond in Colombia. Two cases against Drummond are currently pending in the American court system.
The report is clear that the accusations made are against Drummond in Colombia. The involvement of the parent company in Alabama in Colombian human rights crimes is unclear, despite the fact that paramilitaries have stated that American management was at least informed of the payments to paramilitaries.
- Power companies must stop buying ‘blood coal’ (PAX)
- The Dark Side of Coal (PDF/ Pax)
- Colombia Bans Coal Loading by 2nd-Biggest Producer Drummond (Bloomberg)
- Glencore press releases
- Drummond press releases
- Interview with Marianne Moor