The USmining giantFreeport McMoRan hasbeen excluded fromNorway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) since May 2006 for "seriousenvironmental harm”.
Now it appears that several Norwegian funds, includingStavanger-based Skagen, the SWF, and the National Insurance Fund have holdings in the Freeport mine in Congo. Not through the American mining giant,but through investments held in Swedish-owned LundinMining.
Stored wastein rivers
In severalrecently-published cases on Aenergy, it has emerged that theLundin family secured ownership of the copper and cobalt mine Tenke FungurumeMining in DR Congothrough the company Lundin Mining.
Themine’s operator is US mining giant Freeport McMoRan. They were excluded fromthe SWF because they used a natural river system for depositing mining waste on the island of New Guinea in Indonesia.
Skagen Funds owns a small stake in Lundin Mining through its Skagen Globalshare fund product. The SWF held a 0.5 percent stake in Lundin Mining at the end of2011, valued at an estimated NOK 65 million (about USD 11.37 million).
TheNational Insurance Fund had a 0.2 percent stake, or NOK 34 million (roughly USD5.95 million), in the Swedish mining company as of 30 September 2012. ## Lundin was blacklisted
The UN blacklisted Lundin over ten years ago for being among thecompanies that looted Congo's natural resources. The list is no longer valid,but the mining industry in the country is still controversial.
Human rightsorganisations areamong those who report criticallyon mining impacts on the local community, and it is claimed that a man wasallegedly beaten to death bythe mine's security guards.
Skagen Global portfolio manager Kristian Falnes tells Aftenbladet this after receiving the documentation:
“Mining is contentious, at least if itinvolves untouched nature. Ifind nothing in the report on child labour, corruption, or human rightsviolations, for example. We will not hesitate to review our investmentsagain if information surfaces that could indicate suchthings. But the mine is operated in accordance with public authority requirements."
Kristian Falnes admits that keepingtrack of businesses far awayfrom Stavanger can be challenging,however.
“We often have to rely on information coming from the company itself, or other publicly available sources. Skagen Funds using aninternationally-recognised ethics consultant which has a large database of ethical issue considerations at company level. We know that the Sovereign Wealth Fund has excluded the mining operator. I assume Lundin Mining has the power to influence mattersshould violations be committed in DR Congo,” he says.
He adds that Lundin Mining hassigned the UN set of rules, whichentail obligating the company having a high standard for protecting human rights, the environment and in cases involving anti-corruption.