The synergy of China appearing to restrict the import of Australian coal with the world’s largest coal exporter and commodity trader Glencore capping production to current levels has been heralded by many as a victory for the movement for action on climate change. While significant, these decisions could owe as much to the operation of market forces and geopolitics as to a desire to comply with the Paris climate accords.
The Australian operations of mining giant Glencore have been implicated in the Paradise Papers revelations – the largest leak of documents in history.
The Paradise Papers show that Glencore was involved in currency swaps of up to $25 billion between the Bermuda-based and Australian-based arms of its company.
While theoretically "legal”, these types of swaps are being investigated by the Australian Tax Office under suspicion they may be used to avoid tax by shuttling interest payments from high-tax nations to low-tax jurisdictions.
About 190 Oaky North miners were locked out of their workplace in the Bowen Basin west of Rockhampton on August 4 for a third consecutive eight-day period. It was the fourth time the workers had been locked out since June by Anglo-Swiss mining giant Glencore, which the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) suspects of trying to replace the permanent workforce with contractors.
A multi-generational delegation from the Borroloola Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory's Gulf Country were front and centre at a protest outside global mining giant Glencore's Sydney headquarters on May 19.
The protesters demanded that Glencore close its McArthur River mine and rehabilitate the site as well as the river and the surrounding land, on which they have traditionally relied for food.
A delegation of Garawa people from Borroloola and their supporters gathered on September 2 at Parliament House in Darwin to present the NT government with a petition.
The petition, signed by 3600 people, calls on the government to shut down and clean up Glencore’s McArthur River lead and zinc mine upstream from Borroloola.
Freedom of Information documents recently revealed that several government departments had been aware of the high levels of heavy metals leaking into the waterways for 18 months.