The Netherlands is Europe’s largest importer of carboncoal for power stations.The coal is mainly imported from Colombia and South Africa where the world’s leading companies operate huge coal mines. 'Bloodcoal' examines the consequences of large scale coal mining and the involvement of Dutch energy companies.
In part one the film reveals the mines' effect on the hundreds of thousands people living in the mining region of Witbank, near the world famous Kruger wildlife park. These people experience severe health complaints caused by the coal dust from the mines. The mining also induces massive destruction of the environment. Poisonous dust pollutes the air while acid water destroys everything in its path.
The second part of the film follows a Colombian human rights lawyer in his struggle against expulsion and terror. They discover a ruthless campaign against indigenous Colombians carried out by paramilitaries commissioned by the mines. Union leaders and villagers are being killed and local communities face the threat of expulsion.
The Dutch electricity suppliers admit they know about the severe human right violations but refuse to publish their connections with the mines. Only after profound research did the film makers succeed in unravelling the commercial ties and determining the responsibility of the power companies.
The film (produced by EO’s Netwerk) led to heavy public criticism on the Dutch electricity suppliers and a parliamentary hearing. The companies promised improvements to satisfy their angry customers.
Sander Rietveld studied political sciences and has worked for the Dutch news programmes as an investigative reporter since 2001. He focuses on the operations of large companies and their effect on the environment and human health. His work includes revealing documentaries on illegal clinical trials in India, the abuse of Polish workers in the Netherlands and recently on dangerous medical implants. He works for ZEMBLA, the leading investigative programme on Dutch television. Rietveld directed ‘Bloodcoal’ with Siebe Sietsma for the Channel 1 news programme EO’s Netwerk.
Siebe Sietsma studied journalism and worked as a reporter for the Dutch national TV since 2001. He was the first Dutch journalist to report on systematic sexual abuse in state youth institutions. He also revealed forms of deception of donations by charity organizations and (international) NGOs, large scale wrongdoings in the transportation of food, and the funding of the highly popular but secretive Dutch political party TON. Since 2011 he produced a variety of investigative reports as one of the faces of the RTL News research desk. RTL News is the biggest commercial news programme in The Netherlands. Together with Sander Rietveld he directed 'Bloodcoal' for EO’s Netwerk.