Vedanta runs into more local trouble on Nyamgiri Hills bauxite development
British headquartered, but Indian run, major diversified mining company Vedanta Resources (VED.L) is running into increasing local opposition over its plans to mine bauxite in the remote Nyamgiri Hills in India’s mineral rich Orissa State. Vedanta’s plans to mine the bauxite there are as feed for a new smelter it has built in the area.Local tribespeople have been against the bauxite mining from the start and last week protests, mainly peaceful, erupted as hundreds of demonstrators hit the streets in Senelbhata. Reports say that some were carrying bows and arrows which suggests that things could become violent should the protests build.The local Kondha tribe is an agrarian community which claims that the Hills are a sacred site for their people and that their very existence would be threatened should large scale open pit mining be implemented.Earlier protests had held up Vedanta’s work on the site, but recently the mining company moved into the area in a major way following the Indian Supreme Court’s approval of its mining plans. However the locals, using strong rhetoric, say they will fight the miner at any cost.So far, local villagers have blocked access to the minesite and further protests are planned.India is a country where much of the economy depends on agriculture, and mining is seen by local people as likely to destroy their way of life, regardless of industrial employment opportunities which may be created.