Archive | Mining Conflict

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 →

Bougainville majority not aware of mining moratorium being lifted, says BFM (Pacific Media Centre – June 13, 2016)

Lifting of the mining moratorium on Bougainville has hoodwinked the majority of people on Bougainville, says the Bougainville Freedom Movement.

In March 2016, the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), knew that the decision on the future of the mining moratorium on Bougainville was a major concern and “that there should be wide public debate on the issues involved”, the BFM has said in a statement.

This was reiterated again as stated by Patrick Nisira, Vice-President of the ABG in his public lecture on 28 April 2016 in Canberra. Yet in his next breath, Patrick Nisira advised, “but we don’t have the funds necessary for an extensive public awareness and consultation programme”, BFM quoted him as saying. Continue Reading →

[Rio Tinto and copper] Resolving Hybrid Conflicts: The Bougainville Story – by Timothy G. Hammond (Foreign Policy Journal – December 22, 2012)

Introducing the Bougainville Crisis within its Global Context

The Autonomous Region of Bougainville, which includes the islands of Bougainville, Buka, and an array of smaller atolls, is located in Oceania just east of mainland Papua New Guinea, from which it is not yet fully independent. Geographically, Bougainville is a part of the Solomon Islands and Bougainvilleans share more cultural and linguistic traits with the Solomon Islanders than they do with the people of Papua New Guinea.

Despite these facts, through colonization Papua New Guinea and Bougainville were administered together under the same colonial territory. So when Papua New Guinea gained its independence in 1975, Bougainville continued to remain politically connected to the country.

Home to an estimated 200,000 inhabitants, the island’s population is far from being culturally homogenous. Similar to mainland Papua New Guinea, Bougainville is host to an impressive array of distinct languages (about 25, in fact), traditions, and cultural identities—all within the 9,438 square kilometers of the island.[1] Continue Reading →

Court dismisses Northern Superior claim on duty of care – by Jennifer Brown (Canadian Lawyer Magazine – June 6, 2016)

An Ontario Superior Court judge has dismissed a $110-million claim launched by a junior mining exploration company against the province of Ontario for breach of duty of care on the duty to consult, but the inherent question in the case will likely rise again, say experts.

In 2012, Sudbury-based Northern Superior Resources Inc. claimed it lost access to mining claims near Thunder Bay, Ont. Going back to 2002, it had conducted exploration activities in Northwestern Ontario, but in 2012, it abandoned efforts on its gold properties after disputes with the people of the Sachigo Lake First Nation.

NSR claimed the failure of its relationship with Sachigo Lake First Nation was the result of a breach of duty of care by the province and that it should be compensated accordingly. The company alleged the province breached its duty of good faith and implied statutory duty of care to properly discharge Ontario’s constitutional obligations to consult with affected first nations. Continue Reading →

Mining project proposal sparks concern in Kanesatake – by Christopher Curtis (Montreal Gazette – May 30, 2016)

In an effort to keep a controversial mining project alive, a Montreal-based developer will present its multi-million dollar proposal to the Kanesatake Mohawks on Thursday.

The community meeting comes after citizens in neighbouring Oka rejected a pitch by development firm Eco-Niobium last month during a public forum.

An agent from the firm will present a revised draft of the project on the Mohawk territory—eliciting concerns from community members who say the niobium mine could contaminate the region’s water table. The proposed mining site is just a few kilometres from the Kanesatake settlement and falls squarely in the band council’s land claim. Continue Reading →

Opinion: B.C. mines threaten Alaska fisheries – by Cynthia Wallesz (Vancouver Sun – May 25, 2016)

Cynthia Wallesz is executive director of the United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters.

For two years, I’ve been learning about B.C.’s mining industry and how it is threatening water, ecosystems, salmon and jobs downstream in Southeast Alaska.

It’s been shocking to realize the significant inadequacies of B.C.’s mining regulatory processes. For example, mining companies are not required to use best available technologies or practices to reduce risks, nor do they provide compensation to those affected by pollution from large-scale open-pit projects at the headwaters of world-class river systems.

These inadequacies were confirmed recently in an email I received from B.C. Mines Minister Bill Bennett in response to my question, “How would our fishing fleet be financially compensated if we suffered financial losses from real or perceived water quality contamination from B.C.’s projects?” Continue Reading →

The last jaguar and the [HudBay Minerals] copper mine in the [Arizona] Sky Islands – by Kate Allen (May 22, 2016)

TUCSON, ARIZ.—It’s hard to imagine Mayke, a sweet-tempered Belgian shepherd, in the vocation for which she was bred. Driving by a border patrol checkpoint on a highway connecting Tucson to Mexico, she betrayed no reaction.

If the drug-and-bomb-sniffing flunkout was a loss for Homeland Security, she has been a major gain for Arizona conservation biology. Mayke appears to be highly motivated by her new role: detecting jaguar scat.

Earlier in the day, as Chris Bugbee, Mayke’s handler, turned onto a rutted road that rose into the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains, Mayke began to pant. “When she starts breathing like that, it’s because she recognizes where we’re going,” Bugbee said. Soon they were scrambling down into a canyon studded with agaves, prickly pear cacti and death-white sycamores. Continue Reading →