Metal structure in the Xingu River, near the Belo Monte dam. © Cícero Pedrosa Neto/Amazônia Real
Since 2016, banks have provided $37.7 billion in credit to 24 small to large mining companies at risk of causing forest destruction, water contamination and human rights violations across three tropical regions.
The top five financiers are Citigroup, BNP Paribas, SMBC Group, MUFG and Standard Chartered.
Of all credit provided in this period, 43% ($16.1 billion) went to companies in Southeast Asia, while Central & West Africa and Latin America both received $10.8 billion.
Complicity in Destruction
The findings are pat of a new dataset launched by the international coalition Forests & Finance, the Indonesian NGO Walhi and the Brazilian Movement of Popular Sovereignty in Mining (MAM).
The new dataset follows the launch of a recent report by the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and Forests & Finance Coalition member Amazon Watch, ‘Complicity in Destruction IV Report’, which exposed how mining companies and international investors are driving Indigenous rights violations and threatening the future of the Amazon ecosystem.
Over 6,000 Indigenous peoples have participated in the Free Land Camp, Brazil’s largest Indigenous mobilisation protesting Bolsonaro’s anti-Indigenous political agenda, including Bill 191/2020 which intends to legalise mining on their territories.
‘A compilation of data of this size only reinforces the purpose of our daily struggle in the territories. It is necessary for society to know who is behind the onslaught of mineral capital in our country. Above all, society must have access to investment data, to understand who finances this activity, taking it to an uncontrollable level and generating ‘ore-dependency’.
‘It is an enclave economy that distorts territories, destroys regional economies, and forcibly imposes new environmental legislation, corrupting the Brazilian Parliament and generating a climate and environmental crisis.
‘It is a free-for-all, carried out by the mining sector, in favour of shareholders and against nature.’
National Board of the Movement for Popular Sovereignty in Mineração, MAM
As of the end of January 2022, investors held $61 billion in shares and bonds issued by the 24 mining companies. More than half of this amount (55%) was invested in operations in Latin America, 26% in Southeast Asia and 19% in Central and West Africa. The top five largest investors are Capital Group, BlackRock, Vanguard, Previ, and Bradesco.
Industrial mining activities cause major socio-environmental impacts globally. The sector is a significant driver of deforestation in tropical regions, it contaminates rivers and often leaves a trail of disasters and human rights violations in its wake.