FRB / 21-001
Date Filed: February 25, 2021
Last update: July 16, 2021
Case Status: Dispute Resolution
The complainants claim that FirstRand Bank, a commercial bank based in South Africa, has financed an open-pit mining company in the Republic of Liberia and that the mining corporation has caused harm to them. They fear that the expansion of the mining operation will cause additional harm.
The complainants allege that they have suffered substantial harm from resettlement from the area where the mine was established, from environmental impacts and impacts from river diversion. Allegedly serious harm was caused through the release of harmful chemicals between December 2015 and June 2016.
They further claim that, due to an expansion of the mine, their access to farmland has been restricted and that artisanal miners have been told to move or restrict operations without compensation. They are concerned about further harm as the mining company has started to prepare its expansion by construction of a road and of a camp facility without having consulted with the affected communities about potential environmental and social impacts. Complainants particularly fear resettlement and are concerned about the absence of any agreement on resettlement benefits.
The complainants have asked for strictly confidential treatment of their case, as they see themselves at risk of reprisals.
The ICM has taken precautionary measures according to its Non-Retaliation Statement (PDF, 150 KB). On July 7th, 2021, the panel determined that the complaint was admissible under the criteria of the Independent Complaints Mechanism Policy (2017).
The Panel expects that the Dispute Resolution phase of this case should concluded by October 2023. If, by that time, the parties have not reached an agreement, the Panel will conduct a reassessment of the case to determine whether additional time is required in order to achieve a resolution.