Archive | Mining Conflict

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 →

PHILIPPINES OPINION: Is ‘responsible mining’ possible without strong regulations? – by Cecilia Olivet, Jaybee Garganera, Farah Sevilla and Joseph Purugganan ( – May 24, 2016)

In the last decade, the resource-rich country of the Philippines has bet heavily on the mining industry as a strategy for development, but this focus has come under growing scrutiny.

With 47 large-scale mines in operation and growing evidence of their social and environmental costs, all the presidential candidates in the May 2016’s election were forced to explain their position on, and their financial ties, to the extractive industry.

Most candidates, including newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte, argued for “responsible mining” and an end to “exploitative contracts.” Yet few candidates addressed whether a new Philippines administration could effectively enforce new regulations on a largely foreign-controlled mining industry. Continue Reading →

Colombian miners seek more government protection from armed groups (Reuters U.S. – May 12, 2016)

May 12 Colombia’s government needs to offer more protection to mining companies who are being threatened by leftist rebels and criminal gangs in control of illegal mines, the country’s mining association said on Thursday.

Illegal mining controlled by armed groups produces at least as much gold each year in the Andean country as licensed miners, who produced 59.2 million tonnes of the precious metal last year, according to industry and government estimates.

“Illegal mining has taken advantage of us,” Santiago Angel, the president of the Colombian Mining Association (ACM), said in a press conference in Bogota. “We reject the threats against various mining companies and their employees by illegal groups.” Continue Reading →

Battling India’s Sand Barons – by Sibi Arasu ( – May 11, 2016)

Environmental activist S. Mugilan confronts the sand-mining mafia in India’s Tamil Nadu state, even as other activists lose their lives attempting to save the state’s natural resources.

In November 2008, a gang of around 70 assailants attacked S. Mugilan and his nine comrades with kadaparais (crowbars) and aruvals (curved machetes). The attack took place at around three in the morning, as they were returning home from sticking posters up across the town of Namakkal in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

The posters called on state authorities to shut down a paper factory that had polluted 10,000 acres of land in the district— a factory owned by a well-connected functionary of a leading political party. Mugilan and others had organised numerous protests against the factory. Continue Reading →

[Kamloops Politicians] Eastern mining tour coming to an end – by James Peters (CFJC – May 3, 2016)

KAMLOOPS — Mayor Peter Milobar and Councillor Tina Lange are coming to the end of their Ontario and Quebec mining town tour. Councillor Denis Walsh has already returned to Kamloops.

Milobar and Lange are in Sudbury, Ontario today, after visiting Timmins, Ontario and Malartic and Val d’Or, Quebec. Milobar says the group has learned lessons.

“One thing that has resonated all the way through is that any remediation, or mitigation needs to be really spelled out. There needs to be procedures in place if those targets aren’t met, and even if those targets are being met but still creating an impact what is the phase two of those efforts,” said Milobar. Continue Reading →

Town supports mine in butterfly reserve (Mexico News Daily – May 3, 2016)

Plans to reopen Angangueo mine are moving ahead, says mayor

Plans to reopen a copper mine located within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve are moving forward, according to the mayor of Angangueo, who says the Michoacán state government is directly involved.

eonel Martínez Maya also denies that the reactivation of mining activities in the municipality would have a detrimental effect on the monarch butterflies or their habitat. The mine, owned by Grupo México, the largest mining conglomerate in the country, has been performing exploration and maintenance activities, he said.

Martínez Maya said the state government is committed to the mine’s reactivation: “A few days ago we had a meeting in [the state capital] Morelia with the Secretary of Economic Development and Government Secretariat staff, along with representatives of the Urban and Environment and Finance Secretariats, and of course, executives from the mining company.” Continue Reading →

The Blood Rubies of Montepuez [Mozambique]- by Estaio Valoi (Foreign Policy – May 3, 2016)

Some 40 percent of the world’s rubies lie in one mining concession in Mozambique, where a troubling pattern of violence and death contradicts the claim of “responsibly sourced.”

MONTEPUEZ, Mozambique — Mila Kunis embodies just the kind of woman that Gemfields, the world’s leading supplier of rare colored gemstones, wishes to entice: young, sensual, enigmatic — and affluent.

The 32-year-old Hollywood actress, best known for her roles in Black Swan and Oz the Great and Powerful, is the star of Gemfields’s promotional short film, showcasing jewelry made by top designers with stones mined at Montepuez, the world’s largest ruby concession and one of Gemfields’s latest acquisitions.

Located in northern Mozambique, Montepuez is thought to hold 40 percent of the world’s known supply of a precious stone that, since antiquity, has been associated with wealth and royalty. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Time for Taseko to do the right thing – by Joe Alphonse and Bernie Mack (Vancouver Sun – May 2, 2016)

Chief Joe Alphonse is Tribal Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government. Chief Bernie Mack is Chief of the Esdilagh First Nation.

The Information Circular released by Taseko Mines Ltd. (TML) on March 31st states, “Taseko has a very successful relationship with First Nations at Gibraltar”. We respectfully and strongly disagree with this statement and we need to set the record straight so shareholders are fully informed about TML management’s record in dealing with the Tsilhqot’in Nation. We can only describe this record as disrespectful.

TML has operated the 44-year old Gibraltar Mine — Canada’s second largest open pit copper mine — since 1999. Esdilagh, a member of Tsilhqot’in Nation, is the closest Aboriginal community to Gibraltar Mine; its reserve lands almost directly adjoin the mine site.

For years, the Tsilhqot’in Nation and Esdilagh have urged the management of TML to enter into a meaningful Impact Benefit Agreement with Esdilagh, so there is a share in the benefits from the mining operation and not just the decades of negative impacts. Continue Reading →

Timmins Urban mine pit draws interest from BC – by Alan S. Hale (Timmins Daily Press – May 2, 2016)

TIMMINS – The mayor of Kamloops, along with a delegation of councillors from that B.C. community, were in Timmins this past weekend to meet with their counterparts at the local city hall and to take a tour of the Hollinger open pit mine on Saturday.

The City of Kamloops is currently considering whether or not to approve a proposal from KGHM for a new copper and gold mine located 1.7 kilometres outside of their city. The mayor and councillors came to Timmins so they could see how the city deals with having an active gold mine right next to its downtown.

Timmins Mayor Steve Black said he and the local council were happy to meet with the delegation from Kamloops and to help them arrange a tour of the Hollinger facility with Goldcorp.Representatives from both municipalities met on Saturday for a few hours to discuss the ups and downs of being a community with an active mining operation so close by. Continue Reading →

Dominic Cardy calls for ‘clarity’ on Aboriginal veto – by Alan White (CBC News New Brunswick – April 22, 2016)

New Democratic Party Leader Dominic Cardy is urging the federal Liberal government to make a decision quickly about the proposed Sisson mine project in New Brunswick.

A new study by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency found not enough has been done to offset the “significant” impact the 12.5 sq.-km mine would have on four Maliseet communities that have traditionally used the area northwest of Fredericton for hunting, fishing and gathering resources.

The chiefs of five First Nations and the chief of the Wolastoq Grand Council have all called for the Sisson mine proposal to be rejected by the federal government. An environmental assessment process is taking place and a decision is expected this summer. Continue Reading →

Conga Mine in Peru Halted By Water Concerns, Civic Opposition – by Brett Walton (Circle of Blue – April 21, 2016)

Newmont Mining, the world’s second-largest gold producer, announced in a U.S. financial filing that it is abandoning a $US 4.8 billion copper and gold mine in Peru “for the foreseeable future.”

“Newmont will not proceed with the full development of Conga without social acceptance, solid project economics and potentially another partner to help defray costs and risk; it is currently difficult to predict when or whether such events may occur,” the company wrote in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on February 17. “Under the current social and political environment, the company does not anticipate being able to develop Conga for the foreseeable future.”

While Newmont’s decision is partly in response to souring market conditions — the price of copper is down more than 50 percent since a 2011 peak — the withdrawal from Conga is also a recognition that environmental concerns pose a serious financial risk to business. The mine was strongly opposed by Andes farmers because four natural lakes would have been drained and replaced by manmade reservoirs. Continue Reading →

Mining group latest to sue government over sage-grouse land use plans (Elko Daily – April 20, 2016)

ELKO – The American Exploration & Mining Association has joined in the fight over federal land use plans and sage-grouse.

The group filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to overturn the Sage-Grouse Great Basin and Rocky Mountain Records of Decision and underlying land use plan amendments in seven western states. The lawsuit is against the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and several federal employees.

AEMA becomes the latest to challenge the plans following lawsuits lodged by the states of Idaho, Utah, nine Nevada counties, the Wyoming Coalition of Local Governments, ranchers, miners and various industry groups. Elko and Eureka counties, a few mining companies, and the Nevada Attorney General were among the first groups to file. Continue Reading →

Stéphane Dion urged to protect Honduran villagers from Canadian mining company – by Mike Blanchfield (CBC News Politics – April 20, 2016)

The Canadian Press – A Canadian human rights delegation urged Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion’s office Wednesday to come to the aid of Honduran villagers they say are being exploited by a Canadian mining company.

The group — including First Nations women leaders, the organization MiningWatch Canada, lawyers and activists — visited Honduras this past week and want to draw attention to the plight of villagers in Azacualpa.

The group says in a brief presented to Dion’s office that the operations of Toronto-based Aura Minerals are affecting the health of villagers by exposing them to cyanide leaching and from its open-pit gold mine. Continue Reading →

Mining taps deep reserves of rage in Peru – by Andres Schipani (Financial Times – April 20, 2016)

Cocachacra, Peru – In a corner of southern Peru the land is so barren that Nasa uses it as a stand-in for Mars to see if potatoes can be grown on that lifeless planet. But the desert of red dirt gives way to the green Tambo river valley, where farmers live off an abundance of onions, rice and sugar cane.

Some locals are taking up arms to protect this oasis. Last year, three were killed and hundreds wounded in violent clashes over the $1.4bn Tía María copper and gold mine, owned by Southern Copper, which is perched by the valley. Black-clad anti-riot police are now stationed there.

“Whoever is the next president will have to deal with mining conflicts because neither companies nor governments respect communities,” says Jesús Cornejo, head of the water users’ association in the nearby town of Cocachacra, which is peppered with green flags reading: “Yes to farming, no to the mine.” Continue Reading →