Archive | Mining Conflict

Crops or carats? The unattended tensions between miners and farmers in Africa. – by Stephen Yeboah (Mail & Guardian Africa – August 24, 2016)

The interaction between artisanal (small-scale) mining and agriculture in Africa still needs to be carefully considered by policy-makers to ensure that people’s livelihoods and countries’ export revenues aren’t threatened. It’s also important that the relationship between the two sectors is optimised to mutual benefit.

Mining occurs in the same geographic areas as agriculture. It competes for similar inputs, like land, water and labour. This means there is a significant risk that agriculture will be adversely affected by mining. Both are vital to the survival of most African economies. They both contribute to export revenues and employ a large number of people.

But research conducted in Ghana, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest gold producer and the world’s second largest cocoa producer, reveals some troubling imbalances between the two sectors. Continue Reading →

Papua New Guinea-Bougainville mine row intensifies – by Rowan Callick (The Australian – August 23, 2016)

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has escalated his feud with Bougainville’s President, insisting his cabinet’s offer to hand over a key parcel of shares in Bougainville Copper to mine landowners is final.

“The distribution of shares for Bougainvilleans will be done by themselves,” Mr O’Neill said.

President John Momis had “furiously” rejected the PNG plan, announced by Mr O’Neill to the parliament last week, to transfer to “the landowners and the people of Bougainville” the 17.4 per cent parcel recently given to the national government by Rio Tinto, the former owner. Continue Reading →

Philippine villagers claim victory over nickel mining firm (Catholic News Service – August 18, 2016)

MANILA, Philippines – Residents of a small island in the central Philippines hailed a government order that stopped one of the country’s largest mining firms from removing nickel ore stockpiles from their village. The removal of the ore was ruining local ecosystems, the residents said.

“We thought we’d see our island waste away first,” Rebecca Destajo, a village leader on Manicani Island off the coastal town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar province, told Aug. 18 after the government announced its decision.

Opposition to mining operations on the island had been ongoing since the Hinatuan Mining Corp., an affiliate of Nickel Asia Corp., acquired rights to mine in the village in 1987. Continue Reading →

‘Remembering the Marikana massacre is critical’NORTH WEST – by Jonisayi Maromo (Independent Online – August 15, 2016)

Marikana – Loud music echoed from a giant stage erected at the Marikana koppie in the Nkaneng informal settlement near Rustenburg on Monday, as preparations for the fourth commemorations of the Marikana tragedy were being finalised.

A few metres away, community members sang along to the loud music as they went on their daily chores in the shacks making up the Nkaneng informal settlement. Maritha Mabasa said in August 2012, she had recently moved to Marikana, from the Free State, when the wage dispute degenerated into chaos.

“What happened there remains vivid in my mind. Who would forget the murder of more than 30 people in one day? And my heart is sore,” said the mother of three, pointing at the koppie. Continue Reading →

Mining in Latin America: From conflict to co-operation (The Economist – February 6, 2016)

Big miners have a better record than their critics claim. But it is up to governments to balance the interests of diggers, locals and the nation

COCACHACRA, PERU – COUPLE of hours drive south of Arequipa, Peru’s second city, the Pan-American highway drops down from the high desert of the La Joya plain and threads its way through tight defiles patrolled by turkey vultures before reaching the green braid of the valley of the river Tambo.

The river burbles past fields of rice, potatoes and sugar cane. It is a tranquil, bucolic scene. The only hint of anything untoward is the five armed policemen guarding the bridge at the town of Cocachacra.

Last April the valley was the scene of a month-long “strike” that saw pitched battles between the police and hooded protesters hurling stones from catapults (see picture). Two protesters and a policeman were killed; 150 police and 54 civilians were hurt. Continue Reading →

Ely calls a truce over mining as tourist economy booms – by Dan Kraker (Minnesota Public Radio News – August 2, 2016)

Tanner Ott and his father John have made a career rehabbing historic buildings. They do it for love and for money, and they believe both can be found now in Ely.

The Otts, who’ve summered here for more than 25 years, have placed a big bet on downtown. Their family’s Missouri-based firm now owns eight long-vacant buildings, including the historic State Theater, which they began renovating in 2014. The marquee came alive Saturday for the first time in 20 years.

They hope to make the 300-seat venue a space for movies, live music, business conferences, weddings, and other events. By the time they’re done, the overhaul may cost $1.5 million — serious money in a town that not long ago appeared to be on the skids. But the Otts are sold on Ely. Continue Reading →

Critics, officials disturbed as Taseko mine plans to conduct test drilling – by Mark Hume (Globe and Mail – July 27, 2016)

VANCOUVER – A proposed $1.5-billion mine that has twice been rejected by Ottawa because of environmental concerns appears to have been given new life, much to the dismay of First Nations and other critics.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Tsilhqot’in National Government, which has been fighting to stop the Taseko Mines Ltd. proposal for years, said it is alarmed the company plans to conduct test drilling for the New Prosperity gold and copper mine.

“It is unbelievable and unacceptable that [Taseko] continues to waste everyone’s time, energy, money and goodwill,” the Tsilhqot’in stated. “The project cannot proceed in the face of the federal government rejection.” Continue Reading →

[Minnesota mining] Both sides steeled for Twin Metals hearings – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – July 11, 2016)

The debate over federal mineral leases at the proposed Twin Metals mine near Ely isn’t just a philosophical discussion over copper mining in Northeastern Minnesota. Twin Metals officials say the leases mean life or death for their project and any other future mining in the Rainy River watershed.

The federal leases in question “are really the foundation of our project,” said Bob McFarlin, spokesman for Twin Metals, a Minnesota company wholly owned by Chilean mining conglomerate Antofagasta.

Twin Metals and its predecessor companies already have spent more than $350 million toward the project, McFarlin told the News Tribune, and all of that could be for naught if the U.S. Forest Service withholds the leases. Continue Reading →

Environmental activist murders set record as 2015 became deadliest year – by Oliver Holmes (The Guardian – June 20, 2016)

Global Witness says at least 185 activists were killed and anti-mining activities were the most deadly – with 42 deaths related to protests

At least 185 environmental activists were killed last year, the highest annual death toll on record and close to a 60% increase on the previous year, according to a UK-based watchdog.

Global Witness documented lethal attacks across 16 countries. Brazil was worst hit with 50 deaths, many of them killings of campaigners who were trying to combat illegal logging in the Amazon. The Philippines was second with 33. Colombia had 26 fatal attacks; Peru, 12; Nicaragua, 12; and Democratic Republic of Congo had 11. Continue Reading →


June 20, 2016 – More than three people were killed a week in 2015 defending their land, forests and rivers against destructive industries, according to Global Witness. The organisation’s new report, On Dangerous Ground, documents 185 known deaths worldwide last year – by far the highest annual death toll on record and a 59% increase from 2014. Severe limits on information mean the true numbers are undoubtedly higher.

The deadliest countries for land and environmental defenders in 2015 were Brazil (50 deaths) and the Philippines (33) – record numbers in both countries – followed by Colombia (26), Peru (12), Nicaragua (12) and Democratic Republic of Congo (11). Major drivers were mining (42 deaths), agribusiness (20), logging (15) and hydropower (15).

“As demand for products like minerals, timber and palm oil continues, governments, companies and criminal gangs are seizing land in defiance of the people who live on it,” said Global Witness campaign leader Billy Kyte. Continue Reading →

Mayan families’ quest for justice against Canadian mining company HudBay – by Marina Jimenez (Toronto Star – June 18, 2016) (Part 1 of 2)

EL ESTOR, GUATEMALA—Ribbons of sweat roll down German Chub’s face, as he pushes his wheelchair around his rocky yard, careful not to run over the hens pecking in the dirt or bump into his neighbour’s free-roaming pig.

An illiterate Mayan Q’eqchi’ farmer who grows mangoes and bananas, Chub’s life would be difficult enough in this small, indolent city in eastern Guatemala, where the temperature soars to 38C, even if he weren’t paralyzed, with a bullet lodged in his spine.

Chub maintains a stiff resolve, proudly showing off his ability to saw logs, and even hoist himself into the passenger side of a pickup truck. But life is a struggle. Sometimes he can’t make it to the bathroom in time. Sometimes villagers laugh at his disability. And sometimes he is crying inside, despite the ready smile on his face. Continue Reading →

How a Guatemalan murder trial could forever change Canadian overseas mining – by Marina Jimenez (Toronto Star – June 19, 2016) (Part 2 of 2)

EL ESTOR, GUATEMALA—The murder trial of Mynor Padilla, a former security guard for a mine owned by a then subsidiary of HudBay Minerals Inc., provides a fascinating glimpse into Guatemala’s problematic justice system.

Padilla, 52, is charged with killing Adolfo Ich, a Mayan Q’eqchi’ community leader, and shooting German Chub, a bystander, during a protest on contested land at Fenix nickel mine in El Estor, in eastern Guatemala, on Sept 27, 2009.

These alleged crimes are also at the centre of a series of landmark lawsuits in Ontario Superior Court, where HudBay, a Toronto-based company, faces three negligence claims, launched by Ich, Chub and 12 other Q’eqchi’. The cases are being watched closely by Canada’s mining companies, as it is the first time lawyers are attempting to hold a Canadian company liable for actions of a subsidiary operating overseas. Continue Reading →

The Philippines: Is the Peace Process in Muslim Mindanao Collapsing? ( – February 11, 2016)

“Powerful economic incentives to stabilize the region remain as well.
Central to Manila’s argument for the Bangsamoro law has been
Mindanao’s wealth of untapped mineral resources, namely gold, copper,
nickel, manganese, lead, zinc and iron ore deposits, plus oil and

The failure of the Philippine Congress to approve a core part of a recent peace deal with rebels in the southern Philippines will complicate the fragile settlement and risk at least a short-term surge in violence.

The need to devote security resources to combat other internal threats and to reorient its defense posture to external threats — namely those posed by China — will prevent Manila from abandoning the peace process altogether, regardless of who wins the presidency in May. Continue Reading →

The coastal village, the mining giant and the battle for South Africa’s soul – by Jason Burke (The Guardian – June 12, 2016)

The dunes appear endless. Behind them lie rolling grassy hills, banana trees, sweet potato fields and thatched huts. There are horses, goats and dogs, but no roads, no towns, and the only constant sound is the crash of the breakers from the Indian Ocean.

This is Xolobeni, a remote village on the eastern shore of South Africa and the focus of a bitter dispute over a massive titanium mining project. The outcome will have far-reaching consequences for South Africa – redefining the place of the country’s most famous industry in a rapidly changing nation hit by weak economic growth and deep social problems – and also for the continent.

For activists, the story is simple: an exploitative international mining company is set on uprooting a community and destroying the local environment to reach precious ore. For supporters of the project, the opposite is true: much-needed investors have come to help South Africa exploit a key resource and develop an impoverished region. Continue Reading →

Environment, mining groups back Duterte’s shape up call for miners (The Philippine Star – June 13, 2016)

MANILA, Philippines – Environment and mining groups have voiced support for president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s call for mining companies to “shape up.”

For a country with a rich biodiversity and island ecosystems profile like the Philippines, there is no place for illegal miners and destructive mining practices, said Ysan Castillo, secretary general of Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship (PBEST). “We are fully behind President Duterte in admonishing firms to practice responsible mining because it is the only way for us to achieve sustainable development,” Castillo added.

In a statement, Michael Toledo, senior vice president for public and regulatory affairs of Philex Mining Corp., one of the country’s oldest and largest mining firms, said they fully support Duterte’s campaign against illegal and irresponsible mining and commit to work with the incoming administration in addressing this problem. Continue Reading →