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Church of England sells Vedanta shares


Feb 07, 2010 at 02:35pm IST

London: Two Church of England funding bodies said on Friday that they have sold their shares in Vedanta Resources PLC, worth a total of $6.7 million, because of objections to some of the miner's operations in India.

The Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board said they acted on the advice of the church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group, which expressed concerns about Vedanta's alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, Orissa, and a planned bauxite mine in the Niyamgiri hills.

John Reynolds, chairman of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group, said church representatives held several meetings with Vedanta.

IN PROTEST: People protest of alleged human rights violations in Orissa.

"However, after six months of engagement, we are not satisfied that Vedanta has shown, or is likely in future to show, the level of respect for human rights and local communities that we expect of companies in whom the church investing bodies hold shares," Reynolds said.

Vedanta shares were down 4.5 per cent at 2,306 pence in midday trading on the London Stock Exchange.

The church said Vedanta could reassure investors by making available environmental and social impact assessments on the Niyamgiri bauxite mine project, establishing externally monitored links with affected communities and by drawing up group standards on human rights, community consultation and environmental protection.

The church said the share stake, which was sold this week, was worth about £4.25 million ($6.7 million). The Church Commissioners had the larger share, worth £3.75 million.

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