Archive | Mining Conflict

Guatemala murder acquittal could have far-reaching Canadian consequences – by Marina Jimenez (Toronto Star – April 10, 2017)

In a decision that could have far-reaching implications in Canadian courts, a Guatemalan judge acquitted a former security guard employed by a subsidiary of a Canadian mining company of murder on Thursday.

Mynor Padilla, 53, had been charged in the shooting death of Adolfo Ich, a Mayan Q’eqchi’, at a Sept. 27, 2009 protest on contested land at Fenix nickel mine in El Estor, eastern Guatemala. At the time, Padilla was employed by Compania Guatemalteca de Niquel (CGN), then a subsidiary of HudBay Minerals Inc., based in Toronto.

Padilla, a former high-ranking member of the military, was also acquitted in the shooting of another man, German Chub, who was left a paraplegic with one functioning lung. Continue Reading →

Environmental lawsuits pile up as PolyMet mine crawls forward – by Dan Kraker (Minnesota Public Radio News – March 31, 2017)

There will be plenty of work in Minnesota in the coming months and years for environmental attorneys. Four lawsuits have already been filed that could potentially delay the PolyMet copper-nickel mining project proposed for northeastern Minnesota. And several more are expected if the state eventually grants the mine the permits it needs to begin construction.

The suits are a key tool for environmental groups trying to block the controversial project. Some of the plaintiffs, including the Sierra Club and Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, are well-funded organizations and no strangers to litigation.

Others are small, grassroots groups, like the Save Lake Superior Association and Save our Sky Blue Waters, which along with the Duluth chapter of the Izaak Walton League filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s recent approval of a land exchange with PolyMet. Continue Reading →


ELY — Ely has always been a mining town. It was in the days when 177 people moved from the village of Florence in 1880 after ore was discovered and the community was mined through. It was when those residents named the town after mining executive Samuel B. Ely, a Michigander, who as legend has it, never stepped foot in the Vermilion Range.

And Ely cemented itself as a mining town when the Pioneer Mine — and 41 million tons of ore — opened in 1889. By the time it closed in 1967, 11 mines opened near the city’s limits.

What makes Ely unique from the others situated on the old Vermilion Range and the current Iron Range is that it has always been a tourist town, too. Even before 1978, when Congress established the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, people flocked to the northern edge of Minnesota for its pristine lakes and access to nature largely unbeknownst to the urban jungle of the metro. Continue Reading →

Court sets Canada as jurisdiction for Guatemalan suit against Tahoe – by Susan Taylor (Thomson Reuters Foundation – January 26, 2017)

TORONTO, Jan 26 (Reuters) – A Canadian court ruled on Thursday that a lawsuit against Tahoe Resources Inc by Guatemalan men claiming they were shot by the miner’s private security guards can proceed in British Columbia, according to a copy of the judgment seen by Reuters.

The decision by the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, which reverses a 2015 B.C. Supreme Court ruling, said that Vancouver-based Tahoe had not proven Guatemala was a more appropriate forum for the case. The case is being closely watched by Canadian miners that operate abroad because it could increase litigation risk.

Seven Guatemalan men allege in a civil lawsuit that security personnel hired by Tahoe opened fire on them in April 2013 during a protest outside the Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala. The men say they were injured during the shooting as they attempted to flee. Continue Reading →

In a Goan village, chillies fight back against iron ore mining. But will they survive? – by Nihar Gokhale (Catch News India – January 15, 2017)

There was a time when the road passing through Caurem would be lined with freshly plucked chillies, laid out on sheets by the side to dry in the sun. Later, they would be sold in small roadside shops or packed off in tempo vans to the nearest town market in Quepem, South Goa. And then there was mining.

This road through Caurem also leads to half a dozen iron ore mines. The story of mining in Goa, its rise through the 2000s to peak production in 2008-11, the ban on mining in 2012, and the slow resumption since the ban was lifted in 2014, mirrors the rise, fall and eventual rise of these chillies, which are native to the foothills of Western Ghats.

And now, as mining picks up again, will the Caurem chilly survive? Caurem is settled in an undulating landscape. There are step fields nearer to the road. Away from the road, the land starts climbing steeply, as thick forests of the Western Ghats take over. The chillies come in two varieties – the milder one grown in fields, while the hotter version is grown in the forests of the ghats. Continue Reading →

Undeterred by politics, Eldorado digs in for the long haul in Greece – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – November 30, 2016)

ATHENS – The development of Eldorado Gold’s mining projects in Greece have been exercises in misery.

In 2012, the Skouries mining site in northern Greece, the centrepiece of the Canadian company’s European gold portfolio, was besieged by protesters who said the mine would be an environmental disaster. A year later, the site was firebombed. In mid-2015, the new, far-left Syriza government revoked the permits that Eldorado needed to put Skouries into production and the project was suspended.

Today, after striking peace agreements with the Syriza government, Eldorado is sinking more than $1-billion (U.S.) into three projects in Greece, dominated by Skouries, that will drive the company’s growth in the next decade. Propelled by the Greek mines, Eldorado expects to produce more than 800,000 ounces of gold in 2020, up 110 per cent from forecast production in 2017. Continue Reading →

How Romanian People Power Took On Mining and Corruption – by Shaazka Beyerle and Tina Olteanu (November 17, 2016)

One doesn’t usually think of the southeast corner of Europe as a hotbed of citizen dissent and mobilization. Yet people power in the region has been on the rise in recent years, producing some impressive outcomes. This has been most notable in Romania, where grassroots action has challenged corrupt political-economic interests, undone a toxic gold mining project, and put teeth back into the country’s democracy.

This was clearly evident about a year ago, on October 30, 2015, when thousands of Romanians took to the streets of their capital to protest a horrific fire in a Bucharest nightclub that took 64 lives. The organizers of a rock concert had set off fireworks inside, causing a catastrophic blaze.

The club’s owners were arrested and charged with building code violations. Some of the hospitalized victims contracted life-threatening bacterial infections after a Romanian pharmaceutical company supplied over 350 hospitals with heavily diluted antiseptics at inflated prices. Continue Reading →

Anti-mining groups force Hudbay to keep Peruvian operation suspended – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 10, 2016)

Operations at Hudbay Minerals’ (TSX, NYSE:HBM) Constancia copper-molybdenum mine in Peru remained suspended Thursday as a group of locals that has occupied parts of the pit since Monday evening refuse to leave the site.

The trespassing by the crowd of about a thousand, according to local paper La Republica (in Spanish), forced Hudbay to temporarily suspend operations as a safety measure to protect both employees and protesters.

Most of the intruders are from the Chamaca district, about an hour away from the mine, Hudbay said in a statement. It added that their representatives had signed an agreement with the national and local governments, as well as with Hudbay Peru within the previous two weeks, confirming their willingness to work together and cooperate. Continue Reading →

How a $900-million lawsuit is shaping the future of Canada’s natural resource landscape – by Damon Van Linde (October 25, 2016)

SEPT-ÎLES, QUE. — Flying in a helicopter over the Bay of Sept-Îles, Alexandre Pinette points to the mouth of the Moisie River where it empties from the north into the St. Lawrence River. Members of his Innu community used to live by the river every summer to fish salmon and trap, but he said they were moved by the government in 1949 to the permanent Uashat and Maliotenam reservations.

“When the Innu came back in spring, their houses were destroyed. They had disappeared,” said Pinette, his voice crackling over the helicopter intercom. He adds that Innu were also displaced between 1948 and 1950 from what is now the Iron Ore Co. of Canada’s port, where huge mounds of the sparkling mineral are sorted and then loaded into waiting cargo ships.

A 578-kilometre railway stretches north from Sept-Îles’ deep-water port to where the mineral is dug from the ground. Here, the Innu claim the mines and other facilities have ruined the environment, displaced members from their territory and prevented them from practising their traditional way of life, while not giving much back to the community. Continue Reading →

Peru scrutinizes pacts between police and miners after clash – by Mitra Taj (Reuters U.S. – October 24, 2016)

Peru is scrutinizing paid security services that federal police provide to mining companies following a deadly protest by local residents that suspended exports from one of the world’s biggest copper mines, the government told Reuters on Monday.

The three-month-old centrist government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is also talking with the Red Cross about setting up a program to teach police to manage protests better, Rolando Luque, director of the National Office of Dialogue in Kuczynski’s Cabinet, said in an interview.

The fatal shooting of a protester in clashes with police near MMG Ltd’s Las Bambas copper deposit earlier this month derailed talks between the government and Quechua-speaking communities upset with the company’s use of a local road. Protesters blocked all roads near the mine after the incident, disrupting exports and threatening to halt output. Continue Reading →

Government not doing enough on violence near Canadian-owned mines: Report – by Marina Jimenez (Toronto Star – October 24, 2016)

A new report that documents 15 years of violence near Canadian mines in Latin America says the federal government is not doing enough to address the problem. The study, published Monday, charts 44 deaths, 403 injuries and 709 arrests, detentions and charges from 2000-2015 that the authors link to 28 Canadian companies’ mining projects in 13 countries in the region.

“The world is taking notice of Canadian companies for all the wrong reasons,” said Shin Imai, a law professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and principal author of the report, titled The Canada Brand: Violence and Canadian Mining Companies in Latin America.

“We need a more robust way to hold companies accountable,” he said. Pierre Gratton, president of the Mining Association of Canada, which represents several of Canada’s largest resource companies, said his members are committed to human rights and do disclose workplace injuries and fatalities in annual sustainability reporting. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: MiningWatch Predicts KGHM Ajax Would Face At Least $100 Million in Compensation or Litigation Costs If Mine Opens

(Kamloops) – October 21, 2016 – MiningWatch Canada claims that Kamloops should pay attention to recent legal developments of the only other urban mine of comparable size in Canada: the Malartic open pit mine in Quebec.

For the first time since it started operations in 2011, the Malartic open pit mine, owned by Agnico Eagle and Yamana Gold, faces a $70 million class action suit for the impacts on 700 houses and 1400 people located closest to the mine site. The suit was launched on August 1st of this year and aims to compensate damages related to dust, noise, and daily blasts.

The company itself has admitted the impacts of its mine on local community members and has agreed, on September 1st 2016, to offer a $50 million relocation and compensation package for the 3500 residents of Malartic, some of whom live up to about 2-2.5km away from the mine site at the city limits. Continue Reading →

Lima in stalemate with towns blocking road to copper mine – by Mitra Taj and Marco Aquino (Reuters U.S. – October 19, 2016)

Peru’s government failed to restart talks with residents of remote Andean towns blocking a road to one of the country’s biggest copper mines on Wednesday, as protesters demanded a meeting with President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Kuczynski, who took office July 28, said when he was a candidate that he would travel to far-flung towns to personally resolve disputes over mining in the world’s third biggest copper producer. But Prime Minister Fernando Zavala said Kuczynski would not travel to the highland region of Apurimac while residents continued occupying a road leading to MMG Ltd’s Las Bambas mine.

“We’re open to dialogue, what we can’t have is dialogue threatened by forceful actions,” Zavala told a news conference. Continue Reading →

Mountaintop Removal Never Ended: Coal River Mountaineers Fight On – by Jeff Biggers (Huffington Post – October 17, 2016)

Standing in solidarity with the water protectors on the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, Coal River Mountain residents already fending off seven square miles of devastating mountaintop removal mining permits are planning a protest on Monday at the Department of Environmental Protection in Charleston, West Virginia against pending permits for a possible expansion of operations by formerly bankrupt Alpha Natural Resources.

Yes, Virginia, in 2016 formerly bankrupt coal companies continue to blast away historic Coal River Mountain and adjacent communities. Let’s call it morally bankrupt.

And while the presidential campaigns trade “war on coal” slogans, no candidate and few reporters have made a single mention of one of the most egregious environmental crimes and civil rights violations in our lifetimes: The enduring health crisis of residents living amid the fallout of mountaintop removal operations. Continue Reading →

Tsilhqot’in First Nation says no to mineral exploration by Amarc Resources on its Ike prospect – by Derrick Penner (Vancouver Sun – September 20, 2016)

Above the tree line on a mountain in the Southern Interior is a spot most people have never heard of, but is increasingly the centre of attention for a mining exploration company and communities of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation.

It is a mineral claim being prospected by the Vancouver-headquartered company Amarc Resources Ltd. And the property is already spoken of in glowing terms for resembling the mineralization that formed the basis of Teck Resources Ltd.’s mighty Highland Valley copper mine. However, the property known as Ike is also in the last place that the Tsilhqot’in communities want a mine.

The location is above the watersheds of the Taseko and Chilcotin rivers and not that distant from Fish Lake (known to the Tsilhqot’in as Teztan Biny), where the First Nation fought a decades-long battle against the Prosperity and then New Prosperity mine proposals of Taseko Mines Ltd. Continue Reading →