Mining in Canada is shrinking, and a wave of impassioned community opposition is partly to blame – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – June 8, 2019)

More people are banding together to block projects, which could have grave consequences for the economy

One minute John Perkins was seated near the back of a fire hall in rural Nova Scotia, listening to a discussion about drainage at gold mines, the next he was backing away from a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer with his hands up.

It took just a few minutes for the officer to wrestle Perkins, a 68-year-old retiree with a passion for photography, through a doorway, into handcuffs and out the building, amid a flurry of exclamations and questions from people sitting nearby.

As a result of the clash, a public meeting about dam tailings management — organized by Vancouver-based Atlantic Gold Corp. as part of its outreach to a community where it wants to build a mine — further inflamed a maelstrom of controversy about the mine as people walked out en masse and videos of the incident racked up tens of thousands of views in a matter of days.

Perkins was eventually released uncharged, and Atlantic Gold maintained that it had “the right” to decide who could attend.

The incident also underscored how the mining industry faces growing opposition from communities across Canada, which, on the surface, seems nicely positioned to tap into its natural resources due to its vast undeveloped land and long history of mining.

Yet the number of major projects under construction or planned for the next decade has dropped 28 per cent since 2014, with one big reason being that the industry has increasingly encountered better-organized opposition from people, even as mining has evolved into a more efficient, larger-scale and more or less safer enterprise.

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