Archive | Mining Conflict and Opposition

Environmental assessment sinks proposed Ajax mine near Kamloops (CBC News B.C. – December 14, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/

The provincial government has opted not to issue an environmental assessment certificate for a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine near Kamloops, prompting applause from the city and local First Nations.

The 1,700-hectare Ajax mine proposed by KGHM would have been located about 10 kilometres southwest of Kamloops on the traditional territories of the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN), Ashcroft Indian Band, Lower Nicola Indian Band and Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band.

According to a statement from the provincial environment and mines ministries, an environmental assessment found too many negative impacts for the proposal in areas such as air quality and local ecosystems. Continue Reading →

Community leaders from Mexico protest in Canada against Almaden’s operations – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud (Mining.com – December 13, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

A protest action took place in Vancouver the same day Almaden Minerals announced the completion of a social impact assessment for its Ixtaca project, located in Mexico’s Ixtacamaxtitlán municipality in the eastern-central Puebla state.

The evaluation of Almaden’s gold-silver project was carried out by GMI Consulting and, according to a press release issued by the miner, it concluded that Almaden had consulted widely with the focus area communities, that the Ixtaca project was well understood, and that the SIA itself was successful in providing people with an opportunity to express their views on the impacts of the mine.

As this media statement was published, four community leaders from the Ixtacamaxtitlán Municipality led a rally near the company’s headquarters in Vancouver. Ignacia Serrano, Alejandro Marreros, Francisca Zamora, and Ignacio Carmona, accompanied by the Latin American not-for-profit organization PODER, protested against what they call “irregular operations” by Almaden Minerals in Mexico. Continue Reading →

U.S. court upholds Grand Canyon uranium mining ban, but allows mine nearby – by Valerie Volcovici (Globe and Mail/Reuters – December 12, 2017)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

A U.S. federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a lower-court ruling keeping a ban on uranium mining around the Grand Canyon, but also upheld a separate decision allowing a uranium mine nearby to open.

The decisions by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, related to cases argued last December, come as Congress and the Trump administration seek to expand mineral extraction on public lands.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture last month proposed lifting the Obama-era mining ban on land near Grand Canyon National Park, an area of natural beauty in the western United States that also historically served a number of uranium mines. Continue Reading →

Sulfide mining: the most fateful decision Minnesota will ever make – by C.A. Arneson (Minn Post.com – December 12, 2017)

https://www.minnpost.com/

On Nov. 28, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act of 2017 (HR 3115) [PDF], facilitating perpetual pollution of Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Sponsored by Rep. Rick Nolan, HR 3115 has been received in the U.S. Senate; if attached to another bill it could slide through, selling Minnesota’s birthright to the highest bidder with scarcely a whimper.

If it passes the U.S. Senate, HR 3115 would exchange lands acquired for watershed protection for use by the most water polluting industry on the planet. It would render the pending lawsuits against the PolyMet land exchange for its proposed NorthMet mine null and void, the people’s right to seek justice in the courts stolen.

Where is the outrage? Minnesotans need to speak loudly, clearly – with the ballot if necessary – declaring they will not allow their representatives to turn our lake country into a sulfide mining cesspool. Water is becoming desperately scarce worldwide. Minnesota’s clean – incredibly rare – wealth of freshwater is its future. Continue Reading →

Guatemalan women take on Canada’s mining giants over ‘horrific human rights abuses’ – by Ashifa Kassam (The Guardian – December 13, 2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/

On the 20th floor of an office tower in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, Irma Yolanda Choc Cac’s bright pink embroidered blouse and handwoven skirt contrasted with the suits of the lawyers around her as she detailed the hardest day of her life.

It was the first time Choc Cac had ever left Guatemala. But the story that she and 10 other Maya Q’eqchi’ women had come to tell is at the heart of a precedent-setting legal challenge pitting indigenous people against a transnational corporation – and which has cast a chill over Canada’s vast mining industry.

The case centres on allegations dating back to 2007, when the women say hundreds of police, military and and private security personnel linked to a Canadian mining company descended on the secluded village of Lote Ocho in eastern Guatemala. Continue Reading →

Billionaire’s Mine Financing Hurdles Fuel Bondholder Jitters – by Ruth Liew and Perry Williams (Bloomberg News – December 7, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises Ltd. is learning how one financing problem can lead to headaches for debt investors elsewhere as it tries to secure money for one of the world’s biggest coal mines.

Three of China’s largest banks this week ruled out any involvement in financing the mine in Australia’s Queensland state. That fanned investor concerns about debt elsewhere in the company’s businesses in the South Pacific nation.

Dollar bonds from wholly owned unit Adani Abbot Point Terminal Pty — which oversees a deep water port on the coast of Queensland — sunk to fresh lows after the news. Continue Reading →

Court upholds decision to block Taseko mine near Williams Lake – by Ana Rose Walkey (Globe and Mail – December 6, 2017)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

A Federal Court judge has ruled against a contentious mine proposal in central British Columbia, upholding Ottawa’s decision to reject the project over concerns it would adversely affect the environment.

A pair of decisions, released this week, mark the latest blow for Taseko Mines Ltd.’s New Prosperity mine, which is opposed by local First Nations, has been rejected twice by the federal government and has been the subject of years of litigation. The company says it’s reviewing the court decision.

The New Prosperity project is a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine located 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, B.C., near the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation community, part of the Tsilhqot’in Nation. Continue Reading →

Supreme Court’s Yukon land ruling welcomed as new chapter for territory (Victoria Times Colonist – December 1, 2017)

http://www.timescolonist.com/

The Canadian Press: OTTAWA — First Nations, environmental groups and Yukon Premier Sandy Silver welcomed a Supreme Court of Canada ruling on wilderness lands Friday as a victory for the northern territory.

The unanimous high court ruling is likely to ensure ecological protection of much of the Peel Watershed, a swath of unspoiled terrain that covers an area the size of Ireland. The Supreme Court said the Yukon government “thwarted” the land-use process by improperly rewriting a plan for the watershed, which features rugged mountains and taiga forests.

Although Yukon lost the case that has been winding through the courts for years, the premier, who became leader only last December, hailed the ruling as an important step toward finalizing a plan that reflects a shared vision. Continue Reading →

Meet the woman drumming up resistance against mining companies and future typhoons in the Philippines – by Sophie Morlin-Yron (The Ecologist – December 1, 2017)

https://theecologist.org/

SOPHIE MORLIN-YRON talks to activist and former Philippine environment secretary Gina Lopez about banning open-pit mines, battling climate change and winning the 2017 Seacology Prize

Comprising some 7,000 islands in the tropical Western Pacific, the Philippines prides itself as one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Among the archipelago’s many endemic species are several flying frogs, the Philippine mouse deer and the endangered Philippine eagle, also called the monkey-eating eagle.

Its atolls and turquoise waters hide natural treasures too. For example, the spectacular Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a World Heritage Site, is 130,028 hectares of beautiful lagoons and coral islands where rare birds and marine turtles come to nest.

“We are a country of beautiful volcanoes, mountains, rivers, and corals. It’s absolutely spectacular,” says Regina ‘Gina’ Lopez, who was the winner of the 2017 Seacology Prize in recognition of her environmental advocacy, which among many other things has led to a ban on open-pit mining. Continue Reading →

Controversial measures to clear way for more Minnesota mining spark debate in U.S. House – by May Rao (Minneapolis Star Tribune – November 29, 2017)

http://www.startribune.com/

WASHINGTON – Two controversial measures from Minnesota congressmen, both of which would ease the way for mining expansion in northeastern Minnesota, have divided the state’s congressional delegation while spurring a broader environmental debate in the U.S. House.

The House on Tuesday passed legislation by DFL Rep. Rick Nolan that would finalize a land exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and PolyMet Mining. Nolan said his bill is key to advancing PolyMet’s proposed northeastern Minnesota copper-nickel mining project, with 6,690 acres of private land becoming public while 6,650 acres of contiguous forest and wetlands would fall under PolyMet’s control.

“This bill is a win for taxpayers, for the environment, and for good-paying jobs,” Nolan said. Other prominent DFLers, including Gov. Mark Dayton, have supported Nolan’s proposal, although it does not currently have a companion bill in the U.S. Senate. Continue Reading →

New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea: Large-scale Mines and Local-level Politics – by Catherine Putz (The Diplomat – November 29, 2017)

https://thediplomat.com/

New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea are not always mentioned together. Despite geographic proximity, colonial history has cast them into two different scholarly camps.

Split between Anglophone and Francophone researchers, the similarities between the two — namely their mutual economic dependence on mineral resource exports and the impact of large-scale mining on indigenous communities and local politics — have not been fully explored. A new volume from ANU Press, Large-scale Mines and Local-level Politics: Between New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea, seeks to bridge this gap.

The volume’s editors, Colin Filer and Pierre-Yves Le Meur, spoke to The Diplomat about the impacts of large-scale mining on local-level politics in New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea.

New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea are geographically close, what other similarities are there between the two states? Continue Reading →

U.S. environmentalists file lawsuit to overturn approval of Canadian copper mine – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud (Mining.com – November 27, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition and the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter have filed a lawsuit in federal court in the hope that it rescinds the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of Hudbay Minerals’ (TSX, NYSE:HBM) Rosemont Project in southern Arizona.

The $1.5-billion Rosemont Project is an open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, about 50 km southeast of Tucson. It is expected to be the third-largest copper mine in the United States, accounting for approximately 10% of the country’s total copper production, and it received a Final Record of Decision from the Forest Service back in June, 2017.

But before Hudbay reaches such big production goals, it has to deal with environmentalists’ concerns and legal actions. In the case of the recent lawsuit, the four organizations involved allege that the mine would violate nearly a dozen state and federal laws, threaten water resources and destroy Coronado National Forest land. Continue Reading →

‘New era’: Canadian mining industry closely watching three civil cases alleging human rights abuses – by Douglas Quan (National Post – November 28, 2017)

http://nationalpost.com/

A trio of civil cases winding through the courts signal a breakthrough in efforts to hold Canadian-based mining companies accountable on home turf when they’re accused of violations abroad, human rights and legal observers say.

Historically, Canadian judges have been inclined to send such cases back to the jurisdictions where the alleged abuses occurred. But the three pending cases — two in British Columbia and one in Ontario — show that the legal landscape is shifting.

“Courts are now willing to hear these cases,” says Penelope Simons, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. “They’re not trying to punt them back to other places. That’s an important thing.” Continue Reading →

Papua New Guinea: Mothers Unite Against Re-Opening Bougainville Panguna Mine – (Telesur.com – November 27, 2017)

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/

The women noted that “foreign concepts” and exploiters supplanted traditional ways of life, resulting in the environmental catastrophe of the island.

Mothers Against Re-Opening the Panguna mine have released a statement championing traditional land rights of the Indigenous Black people of the South Pacific island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, expressing their emphatic opposition to re-opening the Panguna Mine located in the Guava Mountains.

Describing access to land as their “traditional birthright,” the women explained that their matrilineal lineage is a social reality which places them as custodians of the land, thus the need for them to make their voices heard in the vanguard, rejecting all attempts to re-open the mine.

The statement read, in part, that it was “women who led the protests against” Bougainville Copper Limiter, BCL, and Rio-Tinto, a British-owned mining giant, that operated the Panguna mine. Continue Reading →

OPINION: A Gold Rush in Salmon Country – by Brendan Jones (New York Times – November 24, 2017)

https://www.nytimes.com/

SITKA, Alaska — It is almost winter again here. The days shorten and the furrows of the volcano that looms over our town steadily fill with snow. At night my daughters and I watch northern lights dance green across a mountain ridge as we wait for our salmon to thaw for dinner.

In the courts there is a case in which the defendant, a fisherman, claims his cloth measuring tape constricted in the cold, causing him to mismeasure his halibut. In another case a fisherman blames his freezer for shrinking a king salmon. Alaska state troopers disagree. Life continues apace.

When I’m not working on our tugboat, I fish with Eric Jordan, a second-generation troller whose parents, like those of so many seasoned fishermen around here, fought for Alaskan statehood so salmon could be better managed. We work the winter line, stretching between Cape Edgecumbe Light and Point Woodhouse. Continue Reading →