Archive | Mining Conflict and Opposition

A Gold Mine on Yellowstone’s Doorstep? – by Aaron Teasdale (Sierra Magazine – October 13, 2017)

“People come from all over the world just to fish this river,” says Max Hjortsberg, a local ecologist and poet, as his fly arcs through the warm July air. Beyond our drifting boat, a broad bottomland rises to alpine summits. Vaulting a vertical mile from the valley floor, one mountain dominates the rest—Emigrant Peak.

If the scenery seems like something out of a movie, that’s because it is. Much of A River Runs Through It (1992) was filmed here in the aptly named Paradise Valley, and the anglers and summer-getaway builders have been flooding in ever since. They come here because the country is big and wild and beautiful; when people imagine Montana, this is what comes to mind.

What they’re probably not thinking of is industrial-scale gold mining, which is what two companies wanted to do just over the border from Yellowstone National Park. Environmental groups feared that the resource-extraction-friendly Trump administration would OK the projects. It did not, and now Paradise Valley’s experience looks like a model for successful land conservation in the Trump era. Continue Reading →

Leaders, Groups, and Unions Upset with Comments About Miners in Magazine Article (ABC Eyewitness News – October 13, 2017)

Union leaders, DFL officials, and environmental groups are upset after two well-known advocates were quoted with some disdainful comments about miners in a piece to be published in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

Becky Rom and Reid Carron are leaders in the Save the Boundary Waters Campaign. They are quoted by many news media about the issue of potential precious metals mining in the region.

In the latest article, written by Reid Forgrave for the New York Times Magazine, they comment on the mining community. Rom said, “Danny Forsman drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and doesn’t know this world exists.” Continue Reading →

Grasberg mine’s riches still a distant glitter for Papuan communities – by Hans Nicholas Jong (Mongabay – October 13, 2017)

High hopes that the world’s biggest gold mine will finally bring meaningful benefit to the community for which it has for decades been a source of contention have been deflated as negotiations hit a wall.

Freeport McMoRan Inc. (FCX) and the Indonesian government are currently hashing out the details of a long-term agreement for an extension of the company’s contract to operate the giant Grasberg gold and copper mine in Papua province, due to expire in 2021.

Freeport announced in August that it had agreed to divest a 51 percent stake in its Indonesian subsidiary, PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), in which it currently holds a 90.64 percent stake, following sustained pressure by the government to reform a mining sector long seen as not doing enough to benefit local communities or contribute to the national economy. Continue Reading →

In Northern Minnesota, Two Economies Square Off: Mining vs. Wilderness – by Reid Forgrave (New York Times – October 12, 2017)

Proposed mines near the Boundary Waters have become the latest front in the fight over who gets to profit from America’s natural resources.

Minnesota is home to some of the world’s most ancient rocks, as old as 3.5 billion years. Earth has been around for only 4.5 billion years. About 2.7 billion years ago, basalt lava flowed underwater near what’s now the state’s border with Canada; the lava hardened, and the creep of geologic time turned it into a bedrock of greenstone and granite.

On top of it, a layer of sedimentary rock rich in iron ore formed nearly two million years ago, when the region was ocean floor. Then a billion years ago, Earth’s crust cracked open, producing a 50-mile-wide fissure stretching from Lake Superior to Kansas. For the next 100 million years, lava bubbled up into what geologists call the Midcontinent Rift, forming a mineral deposit filled with copper and nickel.

Settlers first made their way to the area in 1865 in a fruitless search for gold. What they did find was iron ore, and lots of it. Rails were laid for iron-ore transport, and the town of Ely was founded a few years later, in 1888. Continue Reading →

INTERVIEW: How an Activist Minister in Philippines Took on the Mining Barons – by Fred Pearce (YaleEnvironment360 – October 5, 2017)

In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Gina Lopez, who served as the Philippines’ environment chief, talks about her embattled, short-lived tenure and explains why it’s so difficult to rein in the country’s powerful and environmentally destructive mining industry.

Gina Lopez is the scion of a wealthy Filipino family that owns the nation’s largest media conglomerate. Yet despite her privileged background, she has followed an unconventional path — living in an Indian ashram, working anonymously as a missionary in Africa for 11 years, and ultimately becoming an environmental activist in her native land.

That work, especially her campaign against the Philippines’ corrupt and highly destructive mining industry, brought her to the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte, a controversial figure best known for ordering the extrajudicial killings of drug dealers when he was mayor of Davao City. In June 2016, Duterte appointed Lopez as Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources. Continue Reading →

More opposition to Berkeley’s uranium mine in Spain – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – September 28, 2017)

Nuclear energy experts from a variety of countries expressed their support this week to the actions carried out by Stop Uranio, a social platform that opposes Berkeley Minera España’s plans to open a mine in the Spanish town of Retortillo.

Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaigner, Raquel Montón, said that Spain doesn’t need nuclear plants or mines because the country is on a promising path towards developing sustainable sources of clean energy.

According to EFE news agency, Greenpeace and other organizations such as WWF, worry about the impacts nuclear debris might have on both the environment and the local population. Continue Reading →

Canadian miner’s plan incite protest in Irish town – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – September 27, 2017)

Anti-mining activists from Cookstown, Northern Ireland, were escorted out of a hotel by police after they tried to enter an invite-only conference where they thought representatives from Dalradian Resources (TSX:DNA) (LON:DALR) would be in attendance.

The protesters belong to a group called Greencastle Community Voices and, together with another local organization called Save Our Sperrins, they oppose Toronto-based Dalradian’s plans to build a gold mine at Curraghinalt, in County Tyrone, due to its potential environmental impact.

Dubbed “The Future Search,” the event the activists broke into is being held this week under the sponsorship of four different local governments, which spurred the activists’ fury. They say that there was a lack of transparency in releasing both the guest list and a detailed account of how the district councils involved are spending the £40,000 destined to cover the costs of the meeting. Continue Reading →

Tucson lawsuit seeks to protect jaguars from Rosemont Mine – by Curt Prendergast (Arizona Daily Star – September 25, 2017)

A Tucson environmental group sued two federal agencies Monday in an effort to protect the habitat of jaguars in Southern Arizona from the proposed Rosemont Mine.

The Center for Biological Diversity asked a federal judge to rule the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated federal law in their analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains.

The center alleges Fish and Wildlife violated the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act by issuing new regulations defining damage to habitat and by revising the critical habitat designation for the jaguar, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson. Continue Reading →

[Alaska mining] Actor Leonardo DiCaprio donates $80,000 to Southeast group (Juneau Empire – September 23, 2017)

You might call it a titanic contribution. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, founded in 1998 by the eponymous screen actor, announced an $80,000 grant to the Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC) on Tuesday. The money will help the group in its efforts to protect Southeast waters from Canadian mining projects they believe are threatening their indigenous way of life.

The donation was made as part of a $20 million philanthropic effort, according to Hollywood Reporter. DiCaprio announced the portfolio of grants at a climate change conference at Yale University.

SEITC is comprised of 16 federally-recognized tribes and is based out of Kasaan, Alaska. In a Friday phone conversation, Chairman Frederick Otilius Olsen, Jr. said the money will help the group protect the environment from industrialization rapidly occurring across the border from Southeast Alaska. Continue Reading →

Ajax mine: too close for comfort in Kamloops? – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – September 19, 2017)

Copper-gold mine is just two kilometres from the city limits

“I’m not against mining, but…” That line from a recent letter to the editor in Kamloops This Week pretty much sums up the tone of discussion around the Ajax copper-gold mine – a discussion that has been going on in Kamloops since 2011.

It’s a discussion that promises to get more heated in the coming weeks, now that the mine project is in the public comment period of a joint provincial-federal environmental review.

According to KGHM International Ltd., the Polish company that would develop the mine, Ajax would cost $1 billion to build, create 1,800 short-term jobs over a two-and-a-half-year construction period and 500 permanent jobs once the mine is in operation, and generate an annual payroll of $60 million. Continue Reading →

ARCHIVES: The Murders In The Mine – by Katherine Laidlaw (Up – September 18, 2012)

Eighteen months on the picket line. Thirty-eight kilos of explosives. Nine men dead. 20 years passed.

It’s the story that made world news and changed a mining town forever. The Giant Mine strike stands as one of the longest and bloodiest in Canadian history, punctuated by one of the worst mass murders the country has ever seen. For those who lived through September 18, 1992, the scars have never healed. Here are their stories …

On May 22, 1992, a company called Royal Oak Mines Inc. locked out its workforce at Giant Mine in Yellowknife. The union, the local 4 chapter of the Canadian Association of Smelter and Allied Workers, and management couldn’t reach a settlement. Before the strike, it was a good, if finite, time to be a gold miner.

The average worker at Giant was pulling in $77,000 a year, and those clocking overtime were making more than $100,000. But the strike got dirty quickly as rumours swirled of Royal Oak CEO Peggy Witte’s intent to break the union. One thing she did break was an unwritten labour rule in Canada: you don’t bring in replacement workers. No mining company had done that in 45 years. Nevada-born Witte flew them in by helicopter the next day. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Proposed Pebble Mine a non-starter for Alaska – by Joe Chythlook (Vancouver Sun – September 13, 2017)

Joe Chythlook is chairman of the board of the Anchorage-based Bristol Bay Native Corporation.

By now, Alaskans have come to the unfortunate realization that the proposed Pebble Mine — a potentially massive gold and copper mine owned by a Vancouver company — is not dead.

A new administration in Washington, D.C. that is taking a vastly different approach to resource management is giving fresh life to a proposal to build a mine in an ecologically sensitive and economically important area of the state.

For many in the Bristol Bay region in southwest Alaska, timing of the Pebble Limited Partnership’s recent settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ironic. It came just before the start of commercial fishing season — a season in which a near-record 59 million fish passed through Bristol Bay, waters that supply nearly half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon harvest. Continue Reading →

Authorities: Gold miners at a bar bragged about slaughtering members of a reclusive Brazilian tribe – by Cleve R. Wootson Jr. (Washington Post – September 11, 2017)

The outside world might never have heard about the suspected massacre if not for some barroom boasting by a group of miners fresh from working an illegal gig in the Amazon jungle. The garimpeiros had bragged that they’d come across members of a reclusive, uncontacted Amazonian tribe near Brazil’s border with Peru and Colombia, authorities say.

The tribe members were greater in number — there were as many as 10 — but the gold miners said they’d gotten the better of them and killed the entire lot, said Carla de Lello Lorenzi, communications officer for Survival International in Brazil, relaying information from reports the group had received.

The miners cut the tribe members’ bodies so that they wouldn’t float, Lorenzi said, then dropped them into the Jandiatuba River. The miners had collected tools and jewelry from the indigenous dead, corroborating their story. Continue Reading →

‘We’ll have final say on any mining,’ warn Panguna landowners – by Fabian Hakalits (Asia Pacific Report – August 30, 2017)

Panguna landowners will determine any reopening of the controversial mine on Bougainville, says a local leader. Philip Miriori, chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Land Owners Association (SMLOLA) in Panguna, Philip Miriori, has told EMTV News that all parties and talks would go through them.

This was because the people in the Special Mining Lease area were greatly affected by the mine’s impacts when it was operating in the 1980s before the 10-year Bougainville civil war. “We do not want the past to repeat itself but it must be a reminder to us now to get a better deal for the SMLOLA members and the rest of Bougainville,” he said.

Miriori said the past had gone, and history should not be repeated in Bougainville. He claimed meetings had been conducted with resolutions and agreements passed which the SMLOLA were not a party to. Continue Reading →

Brazil to redo Amazon mining decree after criticism – by Jake Spring (Reuters U.S. – August 28, 2017)

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s government will revise a decree that opened up a vast mineral reserve in the Amazon rainforest to mining, ministers told journalists on Monday, responding to overwhelming criticism from lawmakers and activists.

Mining and Energy Minister Fernando Coelho Filho said the government would rescind its prior decree and issue a new one that still abolishes the mineral reserve but specifies existing protections for parts of the area that will remain in place.

The changes, as described, will be largely superficial, spelling out protections that would have remained in place anyway, and Coelho Filho largely repeated remarks he made on from Friday defending the move to allow mining. Continue Reading →