Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home / Case database / Oxfam Canada vs. First Quantum Mining

Oxfam Canada vs. First Quantum Mining

Case overview

Date filed 16 July 2001
Current status Agreement
Issue First Quantum and forced evictions in Zambia
Summary of the case Oxfam-Canada and Zambian NGO, DECOP, lodged a complaint against Mopani Copper Mines, which at the time was jointly owned by Canada’s First Quantum Minerals and Switzerland’s Glencore International.

The complaint concerned Mopani’s eviction of longstanding squatter communities near the town of Mufulira, Zambia. The evictions were taking place despite the severe economic, social and psychological hardships that such evictions would impose on already vulnerable subsistence farmers. The squatters, most of whom are ex-miners and have been long-term tenants of ZCCM, have been threatened with evictions by Mopani.

The company also refused to meet local community representatives and NGOs to discuss the situation and claimed that the matter had to be left to a senior government official, the Permanent Secretary of Copperbelt Province.

The complaint was based on two reports: “Land Tenure Insecurity on Zambia’s Copperbelt” (Oxfam, 1998) and a confidential briefing by the Zambian National Land Alliance concerning the tense situation of “squatters” on mine land in Mufulira, Copperbelt Province.


Developments/Outcome In October 2001, the Canadian NCP organized meetings with First Quantum, Oxfam, local NGOs and local leaders of the Zambian community. A successful resolution was reached that included three key assurances: first, all evictions would stop; second, Mopani would cooperate with DECOP and the local council to work towards resettlement of the squatters on land that they could own; and third, there would be continued dialogue between civil society and Mopani.

The Canadian NCP sent a final communication to the parties stating it welcomed the spirit of cooperation. The NCP also encouraged the company to maintain an open line of communication with the Canadian NGO and other groups concerned about the welfare of people affected by the operations of the Zambian mining company.

The Canadian NCP and the OECD have frequently cited the First Quantum/Mopani case as an example of how the Guidelines are supposed to work and proof that they are having their intended effect. However, in March 2007, OECD Watch received a report that the facts on the ground tell a very different story.

According to the Canada-based Umuchinshi Initiative, Mopani had breached every aspect of the resolution. No effort had been undertaken to engage in a continuing dialogue with local NGOs and the affected community. No plans have been made to work towards a long-term, sustainable solution consistent with the Guidelines. Worse and directly contrary to the resolution agreed upon, Mopani resumed evictions in 2006 to make way for the re-opening of one mine-shaft and the construction of another.

Even in areas where eviction has not yet occurred, the situation remains problematic and chronic insecurity remains a paramount concern. The remaining farmers on Mopani land are subject to a land-licensing scheme that serves to perpetuate poverty. Farmers remain subject to eviction at any time. They complain about the inability to invest in themselves, their land or crops. Similarly, NGOs and local governments refuse to invest in “temporary” communities that are subject to destruction at any time. Today, all farmers on Mopani land continue to face hardships, which is clearly contrary to both the spirit and letter of the Guidelines.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Extractives / mining sector, Forced evictions and resettlement, Human rights, Disclosure of information

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Canada
NCP address
NCP website http://www.ncp-pcn.gc.ca/
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible First Quantum Minerals Ltd.
Company address 8th Floor 543 Granville Street
V6C 1X8 Vancouver
Canada
Company website http://www.first-quantum.com/
Company in violation Mopani Copper Mines
Country of operations Zambia
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Some developments are only visible to logged in users.
Date Actor Action Description Document
1 August 2008 report Revised version of an independent case study of this OECD Guidelines Complaint download pdf (279Kb)  
4 February 2002 National Contact Point Canada statement A successful resolution is reached. The Canadian NCP sends a final communication to the parties stating it welcomed the spirit of cooperation. The NCP also encourages the company to maintain an open line of communication with the Canadian NGO and other groups concerned about the welfare of people affected by the operations of the Zambian mining company.  
16 July 2001 Oxfam Canada file Complaint field with Canadian NCP. download pdf (18Kb)  

Personal tools

OECD Watch is hosted by