Swiss diplomacy chief’s Glencore mine visit irritates NGOs

As part of his five-day trip to Africa, Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis visited a copper mine. Now he faces criticism. The trip began in Zambia on Monday with a visit to the Mopani Copper Mines, whose majority shareholder is Swiss-based multinational Glencore. The head of Swiss diplomacy wanted to see for himself the working and employment conditions in this sector, which is responsible for 15.4% of the country’s GDP, according to foreign ministry figures. On Twitter, Cassis said he was impressed by the efforts to modernise the plant and to train young people. Later that day, Allianz Sud, an interest group that monitors Swiss policy in the field of sustainable development, questioned whether Cassis had met any local critics. On Wednesday and Thursday, Swiss public radio, SRF, reported on the controversy, noting that according to human rights interest group Public Eye, Glencore has not consistently been paying taxes in Zambia. The story, which cited field ...

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