Mining industry accused of spreading COVID-19 in remote communities by new report – by Gabriel Friedman (Brockville Recorder & Times – June 2, 2020)

A new report by an international coalition of non-profit groups have sharply criticized the mining industry for spreading the coronavirus into remote communities, both in Canada and abroad.

The report, titled ‘Voices on the Ground’ and published on Tuesday, accuses mining companies from all over the world of prioritizing profit over worker safety by continuing to operate during the pandemic, and failing to take adequate safety precautions after outbreaks were discovered, sometimes with fatal results.

“We said from the beginning that any mine operating at full capacity is presenting risks to workers,” said Kirsten Francescone, Latin American coordinator of MiningWatch Canada, one of the non-profit groups that authored the report.

Francescone added, “It’s not just workers at risk … it’s communities that have no access to any kind of medicare or resources, where people have pre-existing conditions. We’re talking about already vulnerable populations.”

The report said its authors reviewed over 500 news articles in multiple languages, as well as press releases and other ‘reports’. It stated its purpose was to give a snapshot of conditions on the ground at mines, not to provide analysis of metal markets or other financial aspects of the sector.

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