FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Human Price of Copper

by THOMAS MOUNTAIN

In the past decade the central African country of Zambia has exported some $30 billion of copper yet remains so deeply in debt to western banksters that it spends more in interest on Zambia’s debt that on health and education combined.

Every month for the past ten years some $250 million of Zambian copper has been sold to…Switzerland? And guess what, Switzerland which doesn’t import any real, physical copper, is one of the biggest copper buyers in the world. It’s all about the “circle jerk”, an African based company “selling” it’s metal to its own sister company in Switzerland for dirt cheap, the better to pay fewer taxes to African governments.

Of the $250 million a month that Zambia’s copper ultimately sells for the Zambian government may be getting between $8-10 million. But the story doesn’t end there, for the government is contractually bound to provide massive amounts of cheap electricity to the western owned copper mines all the while much of Zambia remains in the dark, literally or paying through the nose to make up for what is given away to the mines.

The infrastructure in Zambia was almost entirely funded by the government, which meant going deeply into debt to the International Misery Fund (IMF). And when copper prices crashed in the past the IMF was there for “emergency assistance”, providing a glucose infusion in one arm while taking whole blood from the other.

The result? Every year thousands of Zambian children die from preventable causes such as malaria and water born diseases along side a host of malnutrition related sicknesses. Never mind the environmental damage and long term poisonings from the copper mines.

The Zambian people have grown so fed up that they elected a white Zambian vice president to see if they could some how cut a better deal, or at least get paid their legal due though even he has thrown up his hands in helplessness and its still business as usual as in bleeding Zambia dry.

Thomas C. Mountain is the most widely distributed independent journalist in Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain_at_yahoo_dot_com_

Thomas C. Mountain attended Punahou School for six years some half a dozen years before “Barry O’Bombers” time there. He has been living and writing from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain at g_ mail_ dot _com

May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
Nicolas J S Davies
Escalating U.S. Air Strikes Kill Hundreds of Civilians in Mosul, Iraq
George Wuerthner
The Economic Value of Yellowstone National Park
Rivera Sun
Celebrating Mother Jones
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir and Postcolonialism
Mairead Maguire
Drop the Just War Theory
Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail