Mining and Metals

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Welcome to the Mining and Metals portal on Powerbase

To take a tour around the various mining companies and related agencies based in London, visit our London Mining Map.

This portal reports and exposes the spin and lobbying by the metals and mining industry.

In particular it investigates the UK's complicity in the activities of companies registered on the London Stock Exchange and the London Metal Exchange, epicenters of mining investments and metal price fixing worldwide. We reveal their links to the UK government, banking sector, think tanks, NGOs and arms industry.

We also document the effects of mining activities on communities around the world, and expose attempts to generate 'greenwashing' PR and CSR initiatives.

This portal is part of Powerbase—your guide to networks of power, lobbying and deceptive PR. Powerbase has a policy of strict referencing and is overseen by a Managing editor, a Sysop and several associate Portal editors.

Why mining and metals?

British-registered Indian aluminium company Vedanta has been exposed for human rights and environmental violations in its quest for 73 million tonnes of bauxite from the tribal mountain homeland of the Dongria Kondh

Metals are all around us – from your can of lemonade, to your bike, car or plane, to your laptop, buildings and pots and pans. But we rarely think about where these materials come from and what impact they have on the planet and people.

Mining and metals companies, with the support of their trade associations, think tanks, corporate social responsibility programmes and PR agencies, try to paint their products as clean and green.

Yet these are among the most polluting and energy intensive industrial processes in the world, often linked to the displacement of indigenous peoples, poor working conditions, conflict, human rights abuses, pollution, climate change and militarisation.

Around 30 per cent of aluminium, for example, is used by the arms or 'defence' industry, making it an important 'strategic metal' for governments. [1]

The aluminium industry

Aluminium is more energy intensive and polluting than any other metal to produce. The industry goes to great lengths to portray this shiny and versatile metal as part of the solution to climate change due to its recyclability and lightweight nature. But the real story of aluminium is one of destruction, displacement and waste.

The process and its impacts

Bauxite (aluminium's ore) is shallow strip mined from semi tropical forests, often displacing indigenous peoples and destroying their livelihoods, as well as creating large scale soil erosion and water pollution.

• Bauxite is refined to produce alumina, leaving tonnes of 'red mud' - the caustic and toxic sludge that flooded several Hungarian towns in 2010.

• Alumina is then smelted to remove the strongly bonded oxygen and produce aluminium. This process is often carried out thousands of miles from where it was mined and requires huge amounts of energy, producing highly polluting fluorides, sulphur dioxide, perfluorocarbons (very strong greenhouse gases), cyanide and a classified hazardous waste called Spent Pot Lining.

Producing one tonne of aluminium uses 1378 tonnes of water and produces 13.1 tons of greenhouse gases (CO2e), making it responsible for 1 per cent of global carbon emissions - and growing. Though recycling aluminium uses 95 per cent less energy than making it new, it still uses the same amount as producing new steel.


British-registered Indian aluminium company Vedanta has been exposed for human rights and environmental violations in its quest for 73 million tonnes of Bauxite from the tribal mountain homeland of the Dongria Kondh.[2]


Mining-alcans-60px.jpg This article is part of the Mining and Metals project of Spinwatch

Powerbase categories associated with this page:

Priority pages

Mining Corporations
Trade Associations and UK involvement
PR Companies

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  1. Felix Padel and Samarendra Das, 2010. 'Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel', Orient Blackswan, Delhi
  2. Maseeh Rahman, India blocks Vedanta mine on Dongria-Kondh tribe's sacred hill The Guardian, 24 August 2010. Accessed 12/07/11