, 2023-01-18 12:05:00
I’ve been learning a lot about the PolyMet proposal to open a copper/sulfide mine in the state of Minnesota since moving here in 2019. What has shocked me is the lack of attention paid to PolyMet’s owner, Glencore. As a native Cameroonian, I have a lot of experience with this company, and take it from me: It’s not an experience we want in Minnesota.
The idea of corruption has impacted me much of my life. Earlier in my career, which has taken me across four continents, I applied for a visa to visit the United Kingdom. My application was rejected three times in one month. I learned on appeal that I was refused a visa all those times because my country Cameroon had just been rated the most corrupt country in the world. I did eventually get the visa, but from that day forward I vowed to fight corruption and other social ills in my community.
In 2014, I moved back to Cameroon to work for an international organization fighting to put an end to land grabbing — the practice used by multinational corporations to acquire huge parcels of land for mining, agriculture, etc., — regularly in violation of national and international laws.
Here’s the thing about corruption in Africa: My team and I were always happy whenever the offending companies turned out to have ties to the West, because then we could more readily rely on laws like the American Lacey Act (illegal trafficking); European timber laws; the UK Bribery Act; and the US…
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