Archive | Mining Conflict

Lawsuit against B.C. mining company should be heard in Guatemala: judge – Laura Kane (Canadian Press/Vancouver Sun – November 11, 2015)

VANCOUVER – Seven protesters hurt outside a Guatemalan mine owned by a company registered in British Columbia must file their lawsuit in the Central American country, a judge has ruled.

The men launched a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court against Tahoe Resources Inc. (TSX: THO) after security guards sprayed protesters with rubber bullets outside the Escobal Mine in 2013.

The Guatemalan citizens had argued the case should be heard in B.C. because they had no faith that their country’s legal system would hold the company accountable.

But Tahoe asked the court to decline jurisdiction and stay the lawsuit, and Justice Laura Gerow agreed with the company. Continue Reading →

OPINION PAGE: When Gold Isn’t Worth the Price – by Michael J. Kowalski (New York Times – November 6, 2015)

Michael J. Kowalski, the chief executive of Tiffany & Company from 1999 to 2015, is the chairman of its board.

THERE are few places in the world more beautiful than the landscape of salmon-rich rivers that flow into Bristol Bay, Alaska. I arrived there seven years ago not as a sportsman or ecotourist, as most visitors do, but as a chief executive fearful that the company I led would be seen as complicit in the destruction of this remarkable place.

My colleagues and I traveled to Bristol Bay in 2008 to encounter firsthand the land and people put in harm’s way by the proposed Pebble Mine. This vast open-pit gold and copper mine and its toxic waste would obliterate miles of pristine streams and thousands of wilderness acres that sustainthe world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, which supports thousands of jobs. All in pursuit of the gold from which Tiffany & Company made jewelry.

The conclusion we reached was inescapable: No amount of corporate profit or share price value could justify our participation, however indirectly, in the degradation of such indescribable beauty. Beyond pledging not to use gold produced by the Pebble Mine, we became vocal opponents of mine development there. Continue Reading →

Uranium mining in Northern Arizona has a controversial history – by Andy Alvarado (The Daily Wildcat – November 10, 2015)

Tensions are high at the Grand Canyon this year after a judge’s ruling in April that denied a request to stop new uranium mining at the canyon.

The neighboring Havasupai tribe and conservation groups like the Grand Canyon Trust work hard to put a permanent end to uranium mining at the canyon. The groups are weary of the potential dangers the mining poses to wildlife, the risks of contaminating freshwater springs, and the religious and cultural concerns of several tribes in the region.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has led the push to re-open uranium mines after the federal government ruled in 2012 to put a stop to mining in the area.

“So much of what’s happening today in the environmental movement is not about science. It’s not about quality of life. It’s not about clean air. Continue Reading →

[Australia] Conservation group challenges approval of Carmichael coalmine as ‘illegal’ – by Joshua Robertson (The Guardian – November 9, 2015)

Australian Conservation Foundation takes battle against Queensland mine to federal court, arguing Greg Hunt failed to consider the impact of climate pollution on the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian Conservation Foundation has launched what it described as a historic bid to have the federal government’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael coalmine declared illegal – but the action has prompted one Coalition senator to renew calls for a crackdown on so-called “green lawfare”.

The ACF on Monday lodged the challenge in the federal court in Brisbane, arguing the environment minister, Greg Hunt, failed to consider the impact of climate pollution from Australia’s largest proposed mine on the Great Barrier Reef.

ACF president Geoff Cousins compared the battle to stop the Carmichael mine to that surrounding the proposed Franklin Dam in Tasmania – the last time the ACF brought such a legal challenge. Continue Reading →

Can canoeing and mining coexist? Yes: Northland needs both mining and pristine nature – by Karl Everett (Duluth News Tribune – November 1, 2015)

Karl Everett of Duluth is a professional engineer, a geologist and a paddler. He has worked as a senior environmental manager; has consulted for mining and industrial clients; and has worked on many mining, metal and nonmetal projects.

We need mining for jobs and the economy in Minnesota. Mining continues to be one of the largest contributors to Northeastern Minnesota’s economy and directly employs thousands of men and women in high-paying jobs with medical benefits and supports additional people employed by vendors.

Part of the direct impact to the economy includes taxes and royalties paid by the mining industry toward Minnesota’s education.

Environmental management is a worldwide issue. After seeing pictures from Beijing during the Olympics, I think we are better at environmental management than most countries. Continue Reading →

Escalating Violence and Mining Encroachment Spark Protests in the Philippines – by Hilary Beaumont (Vice News – October 28, 2015)

Hundreds of sombre indigenous protesters marched through the dark streets of Manila Sunday nightafter travelling for days to the Philippine capital. They held banners and signs calling on the government to end the escalating violence and killings of Lumads in the mineral-rich southern Mindanao region.

The Lumads, an indigenous group with traditional land in the Mindanao, say the government is sanctioning military and paramilitary operations on their land in order to displace them and allow mining companies, including those with Canadian, Australian and British interests, to enter the region.

In recent months, increased violence and murders of Lumads in the Mindanao region has forced thousands to evacuate communities and schools. On Aug. 18, five Lumads were killed, allegedly by government soldiers, according to Human Rights Watch, and on Sept. 1, three leaders of a Lumad community were allegedly killed by a paramilitary group. Bishop Modesto Villasanta told Filipino newspaper Sun Star that soldiers stood by and did nothing as the paramilitary murdered them. Continue Reading →

Odisha looks to revive bauxite mining in Niyamgiri hills – by Jatindra Dash and Krishna N. Das (Reuters India – October 28, 2015)

BHUBANESWAR/NEW DELHI – Odisha is seeking to revive a controversial plan to mine for bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills, a lushly forested area that the Dongria Kondh tribe considers sacred, a minister said on Wednesday.

The proposal, which sparked an angry response from green groups, comes nearly two years after local residents successfully blocked a request by London-listed Vedanta Resources (VED.L) to mine in the area.

“We want the revival of this mining project because some local peoples’ representatives have told us (to do so),” Odisha’s steel and mines minister, Prafulla Kumar Mallik, told Reuters.

“Besides, it’s required to ensure long-term bauxite supply to the struggling aluminium industry including Vedanta.”

Vedanta Ltd (VDAN.NS), controlled by metals mogul Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources, has set up a big alumina plant in Odisha betting on bauxite supplies from Niyamgiri. Continue Reading →

Pondering PolyMet, Dayton visits site of South Dakota mining disaster – by J. Patrick Coolican (Minneapolis Star Tribune – October 27, 2015)

Gov. Mark Dayton returned from seeing the environmental aftermath of the Gilt Edge Mine in South Dakota on Tuesday with strengthened resolve to guarantee environmental and financial safeguards for a mine proposed by PolyMet Mining Corp.

Dayton said all contingencies must be prepared for and be backed by company money in case something goes awry.

“If it does proceed, this emphasized the importance of doing it right with safeguards to make sure something like this doesn’t happen,” Dayton said upon returning. He added that the visit has made him no closer to a decision on the proposed Iron Range copper-nickel mine.

Dayton is visiting two mines this week on the counsel of opponents and supporters of the project to help guide his decision. Gilt Edge, a Superfund site that was once a former gold mine, has cost taxpayers more than $100 million in cleanup and is a model of what PolyMet opponents say could come to Minnesota. Continue Reading →

Venezuela warns Canada over mining activities in Guyana: ‘infringing on territorial sovereignty’ ( – October 28, 2015)

[The current president of Guyana is David Granger.]

Granger told Parliament that, in a move that shows no regard for diplomacy, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Ottawa, Canada had issued a warning letter to Guyana Goldfields Incorporated, informing that its operations are “infringing on the territorial sovereignty of Venezuela”.

Guyana Goldfields has a mining operation in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region.

The development comes a month after Granger and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro agreed to work to resolve the issues in the border dispute between the two neighbors.

“Venezuela’s claims are not only illegal; they are injurious to the economic development of Guyana. Venezuela, therefore, must desist from hindering our economic development in an obtrusive and obstructive manner that is tantamount to interference in our internal affairs. It must desist from threatening investors,” Granger said. Continue Reading →

Prominent Australians ask world leaders to consider ban on new coalmines – by Lenore Taylor (The Guardian – October 26, 2015)

Wallaby David Pocock and author Richard Flanagan among 61 signatories to open letter calling for the future of coal to be on the agenda at Paris climate talks

Sixty-one prominent Australians, from Wallaby David Pocock to the Anglican bishop of Canberra George Browning, have signed an open letter calling on world leaders to discuss a ban on new coalmines and coalmine expansions at the United Nations climate change meeting in Paris in December.

The signatories are backing a call by the president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, and other leaders of Pacific Island nations in the recent Suva Declaration on climate change from the Pacific Island Development Forum.

The message from the signatories, who also include nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty, former Australian of the year professor Fiona Stanley, author Richard Flanagan, former chair of the Australian Coal Association Ian Dunlop and former Reserve Bank governor and Climate Change Authority chair Bernie Fraser, Continue Reading →

Camp Concern: Activists reunite for anti-uranium mining protest 40 years later inside Kakadu – by Emilia Terzon and Lisa Pellegrino (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – October 26, 2015)

As uranium mining near Kakadu faces an uncertain future, activists calling themselves Camp Concern have reunited inside the Northern Territory park to mark 40 years on from the launch of an anti-mining protest.

Camp Concern was an anti-uranium mining protest camp that started with five people on October 26, 1975, on land now encompassed by the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.

The camp ended up witnessing hundreds of participants, before being disbanded after four years. The Ranger Uranium Mine was controversially completed in 1980.

Camp Concern founding member Hip Strider was among those who returned to the original protest site at the weekend. “We’re having a gathering to celebrate,” Mr Strider said. Continue Reading →

The Taliban Is Capturing Afghanistan’s $1 Trillion in Mining Wealth – by Eltaf Najafizada (Bloomberg News – October 21, 2015)

Taliban fighters aren’t just making gains on the battlefield: They’re also bleeding away a revenue source that is crucial for Afghanistan to pay for its military without U.S. help.

The Afghan government will earn about $30 million in 2015 from its mineral sector for the third straight year, far short of a previous projection of $1.5 billion, according to Mines and Petroleum Minister Daud Shah Saba. That’s also a quarter of what smugglers — mostly linked to the Taliban and local warlords — earn annually selling rubies and emeralds, he said.

“Unfortunately we have failed to well manage and well control our mining sector,” Saba said in an interview. “With the current fragile and messy situation, it’s really hard to say when Afghanistan should expect any profits from it.”

Afghanistan’s struggles to generate cash signal that it could be decades before Kabul’s leaders wean themselves off funds from the U.S. and its allies. U.S. President Barack Obama last week decided to keep 5,500 troops in the country indefinitely after 2016, underscoring the Taliban’s strength after 14 years of war. Continue Reading →

Commentary: Pebble tries to hide disaster-in-waiting behind attacks on EPA, mine critics – by Alannah Hurley (Alaska Dispatch News – October 19, 2015)

Alannah Hurley is a lifelong Bristol Bay resident and executive director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. UTBB is a tribal consortium representing 14 tribes (over 80 percent of the total population of Bristol Bay) working to protect the Bristol Bay watershed that sustains the Yup’ik, Denai’na and Alutiq way of life.

If you read their press releases recently, you would get the impression that the Pebble Limited Partnership is having a very good bit of luck. That’s because a bought-and-paid for “independent” report by former Defense Secretary William Cohen stated that the company was treated “unfairly” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the people of Bristol Bay.

With all due respect to Mr. Cohen, who is neither a scientist nor a legal expert, a review of Pebble’s hand-selected documents and a flyover will not come close to really evaluating Bristol Bay or how its people feel about the potential development of a colossal open-pit mine in their backyard. Rather, Mr. Cohen’s “report” is simply the latest in a long line of Pebble-backed propaganda — with the mining company playing the role of innocent victim, and Bristol Bay’s residents the villains.

The report argues a traditional mining review process should have been undertaken in Bristol Bay. Continue Reading →

[Minnesota] Gov. Dayton traveling to view best and worst of mining – by Josephine Marcotty (Minneapolis Star Tribune – October 15, 2015)

His visits to Michigan and South Dakota are preparation for PolyMet decision.

Gov. Mark Dayton plans to visit two mines in other states — examples of good and bad environmental outcomes — as he prepares to decide whether Minnesota should move forward with a controversial project proposed by PolyMet Mining Corp. on the Iron Range.

The $650 million open-pit operation would be Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine. It promises to bring some 300 to 350 jobs to northeastern Minnesota, but it also would bring unprecedented environmental risks to a region known for beautiful lakes and forests.

A 10-year environmental review of the project is due for completion in November, and shortly after that PolyMet is expected to apply for a permit to start construction. Dayton has called it “the most momentous, difficult and controversial decision I will make as governor.”

That’s why he is taking the unusual step of examining mines in other states on Oct. 27 and Oct. 30. Continue Reading →

Supreme Court rejects Rio Tinto’s efforts to dismiss Innu class-action lawsuit – by Ross Marowits (Canadian Press/Vancouver Province – October 15, 2015)

MONTREAL – The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to end a class action lawsuit filed by two Innu communities against the Iron Ore Co. of Canada and the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway Co.

The country’s highest court dismissed with costs their appeal of a Quebec Court of Appeal ruling. No reasons were provided Thursday as is customary when the court makes such a decision.

The Innu First Nations of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam (Uashaunnuat) and Matimekush-Lac John claim the IOC, which is majority owned by Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), has violated their rights for nearly 60 years and are seeking $900 million in compensation.

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.

They also say a 578-kilometre railway between Schefferville and Sept-Iles has opened up their territory to “numerous other destructive development projects.” Continue Reading →