Archive | Mining Conflict

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 →

Wave of foreign lawsuits against local miners hits Canadian courts – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – April 19, 2016)

In the coming months, the BC Supreme Court is expected to decide whether a civil claim against a B.C. company with a mine in Eritrea can be heard in Canada. Three former Eritrean mine workers claim Nevsun Resources Ltd. (TSX:NSU) was complicit in the Eritrean government’s use of conscripted labour and other human rights abuses at the company’s Bisha mine.

Should the court decide the claim can be heard in Canada, it could have wider implications for Canadian mining companies operating in countries with less than sterling environmental and human rights records.

More than three-quarters of the world’s mining and exploration companies are based in Canada and operate in 100 countries, according to a McCarthy Tétrault report on mining and the courts. The Nevsun claim is one of three that have been launched against Canadian mining companies since 2014. Continue Reading →

In Latin America’s drug hotbeds, illegal gold is more valuable than cocaine, report says – by Marina Jimenez (Toronto Star – April 15, 2016)

In Peru and Colombia, the world’s top producers of cocaine, illegally mined gold is now a more valuable export than cocaine, according to a new study.

Organized criminal groups have moved into this sector, leaving workers vulnerable to labour exploitation, human trafficking and sexual offences, the study says.

“It is staggering when you go to these illegal mines and you see that the government is not responding and all the negative impacts on the environment and on the people,” said Livia Wagner, who wrote the report for the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, based in Switzerland. “Illegal mining funds criminal and terrorist groups, facilitates money laundering and corruption … and creates sex trafficking.” Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Organized Crime and Illegally Mined Gold in Latin America – by The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (April 2016)

Click here for full report:

Throughout history, man has venerated gold. Gold was the first of the three gifts of the Magi to Jesus. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, the values of world currencies were fixed in terms of gold (the Gold Standard). Olympic athletes vie for gold medals and the best footballer in the world is awarded the Ballon d’Or. An extremely well behaved child is ‘as good as gold’ and a generous person has ‘a heart of gold’.

It is only natural to think positively about gold, just as it is equally natural to think negatively about drugs. But, as the Global Initiative proves in its latest research report: Organized Crime and Illegally Mined Gold in Latin America, illegally mined gold is now more important to organized crime in some countries of Latin America than narcotics: Continue Reading →

Mexican Indigenous Protests Shine a Spotlight on the Damage Done by Canadian Mines – by Nathaniel Janowitz (Vice News – April 13, 2016)

Indigenous groups and small farmers from six Mexican states have been marching in the capital this week with a long list of demands. These range from policies to reactivate the rural economy to greater legal protection against massive infrastructure projects on their land.

The thousands of marchers — most of them wearing traditional clothes or cowboy hats and large belt buckles — have caused several days of traffic chaos. They have also set up a tent city around the interior ministry.

Francisco Jiménez, one of the main organizers of the protests, said the most immediate demand is for talks with Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong. Continue Reading →

Half of natural World Heritage sites at risk from industry: WWF – by Alister Doyle (Reuters U.S. – April 5, 2016)

OSLO – Industrial activity such as mining and logging threatens almost half of the world’s natural World Heritage sites, from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru, the WWF conservation group said on Wednesday.

It urged companies to obey U.N. appeals to declare all heritage sites “no go” areas for oil and gas exploration, mines, unsustainable timber production and over-fishing.

A total of 114 World Heritage sites out of 229 worldwide that are prized for nature or a mixture of nature and culture were under threat, according to the study by WWF and Dalberg Global Development Advisors, a U.S.-based consultancy. Continue Reading →

Illegal mining hits Congo gorilla population: conservationists – by Ed Stoddard (Reuters U.S. – April 6, 2016)

JOHANNESBURG – The world’s largest gorilla sub-species has seen its population fall 77 percent over the past two decades, a trend linked to illegal mining for coltan, a key mineral used in the production of cell phones and electronics, a new report has found.

Grauer’s gorilla, the planet’s biggest primate which can weigh up to 400 pounds (180 kgs), is found in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where minerals have been plundered for decades under the smokescreen of conflict and instability.

A report this week by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Fauna & Flora International found that its numbers had fallen to 3,800 from an estimated 17,000 in 1995. Continue Reading →

Mining companies need stronger oversight abroad: Liberal MP McKay – by Ian Bickis (CTV News – April 5, 2016)

The Canadian Press – CALGARY – Liberal MP John McKay is calling for stricter oversight of Canadian mining companies abroad as plaintiffs increasingly look to Canadian courts to seek justice.

He says the government needs to do more because Canadian companies operating internationally continue to be accused of violating local laws and human rights, despite overall improvements in the industry.

“These unwelcome instances keep on coming up,” McKay said in an interview after a New York Times front-page story over the weekend shone a spotlight on a Canadian mining company accused of serious crimes in Guatemala. Continue Reading →

Guatemalan Women’s Claims Put Focus on Canadian Firms’ Conduct Abroad – by Suzanne Daley (New York Times – April 2, 2016)

LOTE OCHO, Guatemala — Her husband was away in the fields, she said, when the truckloads of soldiers, police officers and mining security officials arrived. A half-dozen armed men swarmed into her one-room house, blocking her exit and helping themselves to the meal she had made for her children.

For a long time, the woman, Margarita Caal Caal, did not talk about what happened next that afternoon. None of the women in this tiny village high in the hills of eastern Guatemala did, not even to each other. But that day, Mrs. Caal said, the men who had come to evict her from land they said belonged to a Canadian mining company also took turns raping her. After that, they dragged her from her home and set it ablaze.

“The fear is not over,” she said recently, staring down at her hands while her daughter served coffee to visitors. “I still fear, all the time.” Continue Reading →

BLOOD DIAMOND: India has to choose between saving its tigers or becoming one of the largest diamond producers – by Manu Balachandran and Madhura Karnik (Quartz India – March 30, 2016)

India has a tough choice to make. Will it be a Rs20,520 crore ($3 billion) diamond mining project or one of the world’s most beautiful wild beasts and nearly 1,000 hectares of pristine forest with other exotic flora and fauna?

For close to a decade, this question has riled decision-makers in the country as they have weighed the pros and cons of letting Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining companies, look for diamonds under the Chhatarpur forests in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Now, India’s forest advisory committee—a statutory body in charge of environmental clearance—is deliberating the proposal to award the final clearance. Once the committee gives its final say, the environment ministry seldom rejects those recommendations. Continue Reading →

A Canadian mine threatens the ‘heart and soul’ of an Alaskan community – by Charles Mandel (National Observer – March 30, 2016)

Awestruck by the glacier-streaked mountains jutting from the ground and the powerful flowing Chilkat River slicing through the deep valley, Joe Ordonez moved to Haines, Alaska in 1987.

Now, 29 years later, Ordonez is fighting to preserve that same natural grandeur – which includes a world-renowned bald eagle preserve – from a proposed copper, zinc, silver and gold mine upstream.

“It’s a terrible location for a mine,” says Ordonez, who previously worked as a naturalist on cruise ships, work which took him from the Amazon to Antarctica, and who today operates a tour guide company in the region. “I’ve worked in all seven continents. I’ve seen the most amazing places in the world and here’s one of them right where I live in Haines, Alaska. It’s just not worth the risk. “ Continue Reading →