Mining giant Rio Tinto PLC plans to scrap a US$2 billion aluminum smelter project in the Malaysian state of Sarawak! This comes as a major victory for the campaign to preserve the natural environment and the livelihoods of Sarawak’s indigenous peoples.
For more information on mega-dams in Borneo, please visit: http://borneoproject.org/our-work/ongoing-campaigns/stop-the-dams
March 27, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
The Bruno Manser Fund’s “Stop Corruption Dams” campaign has achieved a major victory today as mining giant Rio Tinto PLC has announced it will scrap plans for a US$2 billion aluminium smelter project in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Rio Tinto decided to scrap the controversial smelter plans as negotiations with the Taib family-controlled Cahya Mata Sarawak and the Taib-controlled Sarawak Energy Bhd failed to bear results. Jacynthe Cote, chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminium division said “agreement on a long term competitive power supply contract couldn’t be reached” with the Taib family businesses.
Rio Tinto’s announcement is a major blow for the Sarawak state government under Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud who consistently used the aluminium smelter to promote the recently completed 2’400 MW Bakun dam, Asia’s largest dam outside China. As a result, the Bakun dam will cause a massive power glut in Sarawak whose costs will have to be born by Sarawak consumers, tax payers and Malaysia’s pension fund EPF who funded the mega-project with massive loans. Plans to export Bakun’s excess power to West Malaysia had to be scrapped for economic reasons.
The Bruno Manser Fund welcomes Rio Tinto’s decision to abandon its Sarawak smelter plans as a major victory for the international campaign to preserve the natural environment and the livelihoods of Sarawak’s indigenous peoples.
Rio Tinto’s decision proves that the Taib government’s irresponsible economic policies have completely failed. There is no need to build another twelve dams in the state as envisaged by the Taib government. All these corruption-driven dam plans that would only benefit the Taib family’s construction companies must come tho a halt now.
This is the kind of development that you have to expect from a kleptocratic potentate who believes in witchcraft instead of sound economic analysis and blatantly abuses his public office in order to rob his people.
The Bruno Manser Fund is calling on the Sarawak government to immediately halt the ongoing construction works for the Murum dam and to shelve all further dam plans in Sarawak. We are also calling on the Malaysian federal government to explain how the Bakun dam should ever become profitable and how the EPF (Employees Provident Fund) loans to Bakun will be secured.
Your BMF team
Sources used for this release:
Please contact us for further information:
Bruno Manser Fund, Socinstrasse 37, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Tel. +41 61 261 94 74
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