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ATTAC & FoE Sweden vs. Atlas Copco

Case overview

Date filed 18 February 2003
Current status Concluded
Issue Gold mining, pollution, rights violations in Ghana
Summary of the case This case concerns pollution and human rights violations in gold mining industry in Ghana. Atlas Copco Group is a Swedish company which supplies mining equipment and services for mining companies. During 20 years it has provided equipment and services to Ashanti Goldfields Company (AGC) in Ghana. It has its own personnel on site in the mines and the minefield areas.

AGC has been accused of repeatedly violating human and environmental rights and standards. NGOs have charged that AGC has forcibly evicted, persecuted and killed local villagers, destroyed villages and destroyed water and agricultural land by discharging cyanide and other heavy metals.

The complaint states that given the 20-year relationship Atlas Copco Group has with AGC, including having a physical presence in Ghana, the company bears responsibility for AGC’s harmful activities.

Developments/Outcome The parties met with the NCP twice. In the second meeting, the companies refused to participate in a dialogue and instead only presented their reports and position.

In June 2002, the NCP released a statement that recognized that environmental and social problems exist in Ghana’s mining sector, but said the companies’ role in this case was limited. The NCP’s statement concluded the companies have not failed to comply with the Guidelines, but encouraged them to inform their subsidiaries and staff in Ghana on the Guidelines. The statement referred to the existence of an established regulatory framework and judicial institutions to tackle these problems. However, the NCP also acknowledged that these processes and institutions wrestle with difficulties normally associated with developing countries such as insufficient resources and capacity.

The complainants recommended three concrete steps that they wished the NCP had taken, including establishing a rough time-plan and date for the first dialogue meeting between the parties. The NGOs also inquired why the Guidelines’ human rights provision was not applicable and why the NCP did not comment on this issue in its statement. The NCP responded stating the case was closed and it was not necessary to continue the process.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Chaîne d’approvisionnement, Secteur minier, Les expulsions forcées et la réinstallation, Les droits de l'homme, Environnement, Divulgation de renseignements

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Sweden
NCP address Gustav Adolfs Torg 1 103 33 Stockholm, Sweden
NCP website
Other NCPs involved



Company Information

Company responsible Atlas Copco Group
Company address P.O. Box SE-105 23
Company website
Company in violation Ashanti Goldfields Co Ltd
Country of operations Ghana
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Some developments are only visible to logged in users.
Date Actor Action Description Document
25 February 2003 National Contact Point Sweden accept The complaint was found eligible by the Swedish NCP.  
18 February 2003 ATTAC Sweden file Complaint filed with the Swedish NCP.  
National Contact Point Sweden statement The NCP issued a final statement. download pdf (14Kb)  

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