Stephen Harper’s Illusions [including Castro’s thoughts about Canadian oilsands and miners] – by Fidel Castro (Cuban News Agency – April 8, 2012)

I think –and I do not intend to offend anyone- that this is how the Prime Minister of Canada is called. I deduced it from a statement published on “Holy Wednesday” by a spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry of that country. The United Nations Organization membership is made up by almost 200 States –allegedly independent States. They continuously change or are forced into change. Many of their representatives are honorable persons, friends of Cuba; but it is impossible to remember the specifics about each
and every one of them.

During the second half of the twentieth century, I had the privilege of living through years of intensive erudition and I realized that Canadians, located in the northernmost region of this hemisphere, were always respectful towards our country. They invested in areas of their interest and traded with Cuba, but they did not interfere in the internal affairs of our State.

The revolutionary process that began on January 1st, 1959, did not introduce any measure that affected their interests, which were taken into account by the Revolution in maintaining normal and constructive relations with the authorities of that country where a significant effort was being made in the interest of its own development. Thus, they were not accomplices of the economic blockade, the war and the mercenary invasion that the United States launched against Cuba.

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Fidel Castro blasts Harper over oilsands environmental impact [and Canadian miners] – by Mike Blanchfield ( – April 9, 2012)

Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro is criticizing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government for environmental damage caused by the extraction of crude from the Alberta oilsands.
The father of Cuba’s communist revolution of more than half a century ago offered the observation in a characteristically rambling new essay on the state of hemispheric affairs that was published over the weekend.
The ailing octogenarian handed the Cuban presidency to his brother, Raul, four years ago, but still periodically offers up his musings on the world in postings on his government’s website. “Stephen Harper’s Illusions” is his latest instalment.

In it, Castro claims that the United States — a country he loathes because of its economically crippling embargo — is forcing Canada to extract oil, which is causing irreparable damage to the environment.

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Ecuador Indians march against mining on their lands – by Gonzalo Solano (Globe and Mail – March 23, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

QUITO— The Associated Press – The lands of the Shuar Indians in the Ecuadoran Amazon are rich in wildlife such as tapirs, toucans and red howler monkeys. They also hold treasures more coveted by outsiders: rich deposits of copper and other minerals that the government is eager to cash in on.
Projects to build open-pit mines that would rip into their forest-covered hills have spawned a protest movement that sets leaders of the ethnic group against the country’s popular president, Rafael Correa, who says development is essential to the future of this nation’s 14 million people.
More than 1,000 indigenous protesters reached Ecuador’s capital on Thursday after a two-week, 700-kilometre march from the Amazon to oppose plans for large-scale mining projects on their lands.

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Brazil’s commodity curse – by Matthew Bristow And Juan Pablo (National Post – March 17, 2012)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Bloomberg News

RIO DE JANEIRO. In 2007, Brazilian geologists made the biggest oil find in the Americas in three decades. Buried more than eight kilometres below sea level, the discovery was estimated to raise the country’s crude reserves by 62%.

Brazil was already the world’s natural-resource powerhouse: its biggest exporter of coffee, sugar, orange juice and beef. The prospect of it becoming a major energy power as well prompted then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to declare amid a rush of patriotism that “God is Brazilian.”

Brazil has struggled for half a century to break its dependence on commodities, grappling with the socalled resource curse. Depending on how profits are managed, the new oil wealth could be a godsend that drives a new era of development or a burden that holds the nation back, said Alberto Ramos, a senior Latin America economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York.

“They can be Norway, or they can be many other countries where oil did not bring growth and development,” Mr. Ramos said in a telephone interview. “You’d better be smart and forward-looking about using it, otherwise it might hurt you.”

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FRASER INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE: New Brunswick trumps Alberta as world’s No. 1 spot for mining investment;

February 23, 2012

TORONTO–New Brunswick is the world’s most attractive jurisdiction for
mineral exploration and development in the view of the international mining industry, according to the Survey of Mining Companies: 2011/2012, released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.

“New Brunswick shot to the top of the rankings as miners lauded the province for its fair, transparent, and efficient legal system and consistency in the enforcement and interpretation of existing environmental regulations,” said Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute vice-president of international policy research and coordinator of the survey.

“Combine that with a competitive taxation regime and minimal uncertainty
around disputed land claims and New Brunswick has emerged as a superstar in the view of the global mining community.”

New Brunswick vaulted to first place from 23rd last year, unseating Alberta
at the top of the global rankings as that province fell to third overall.
Quebec, which enjoyed a three-year reign at No. 1 from 2007 to 2010,
continued to lose support among mining executives as it fell to fifth place
from fourth in 2011.

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Africa: The Back Story to Cida-Mining Partnerships – by Catherine Coumans (All – February 9, 2012)

Catherine Coumans is the research co-ordinator and Asia Pacific program co-ordinator for MiningWatch Canada. She is the author of Whose Development? Mining, Local Resistance, and Development Agendas.


Mining companies’ branding of themselves as bringers of development needs to be critically examined against the burgeoning ‘resource curse’ literature that links mining to deepening national impoverishment in mining-dependent developing countries

The Canadian International Development Agency’s funding of Corporate Social Responsibility projects mostly near mine sites is intended to help Canadian mining companies compete for access to lucrative ore bodies in developing countries in the face of increasing local opposition to mining.

As I write this, thousands of Cajamarcans in Peru are protesting Newmont Mining Corp.’s proposed Conga mine that will destroy four lakes they depend on for their water supplies and livelihoods.

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The Devastating Costs of the Amazon Gold Rush – by Donovan Webster (Smithsonian Magazine – February, 2012)

This article is from:

Spurred by rising global demand for the metal, miners are destroying invaluable rainforest in Peru’s Amazon basin

It’s a few hours before dawn in the Peruvian rainforest, and five bare light bulbs hang from a wire above a 40-foot-deep pit. Gold miners, operating illegally, have worked in this chasm since 11 a.m. yesterday. Standing waist-deep in muddy water, they chew coca leaves to stave off exhaustion and hunger.

In the pit a minivan-size gasoline engine, set on a wooden cargo pallet, powers a pump, which siphons water from a nearby river. A man holding a flexible ribbed-plastic hose aims the water jet at the walls, tearing away chunks of earth and enlarging the pit every minute until it’s now about the size of six football fields laid side by side. The engine also drives an industrial vacuum pump. Another hose suctions the gold-fleck-laced soil torn loose by the water cannon.

At first light, workers hefting huge Stihl chain saws roar into action, cutting down trees that may be 1,200 years old. Red macaws and brilliant-feathered toucans take off, heading deeper into the rainforest. The chain saw crews also set fires, making way for more pits.

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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Mining Movie – 1948)

This information is from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia:

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a 1948 American film written and directed by John Huston, a feature film adaptation of B. Traven’s 1927 novel of the same name, in which two impecunious Americans Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) during the 1920s in Mexico join with an old-timer, Howard (Walter Huston, the director’s father), to prospect for gold. The old-timer accurately predicts trouble, but is willing to go anyway.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was one of the first Hollywood films to be filmed almost entirely on location outside the United States (in the state of Durango and street scenes in Tampico, Mexico), although the night scenes were filmed back in the studio. The film is quite faithful to the novel. In 1990, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

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NEWS RELEASE: McEwen Mining: US Gold and Minera Andes Business Combination Completed

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Jan. 24, 2012) – McEwen Mining Inc. (“McEwen Mining”) is pleased to announce that the previously announced business combination (the “Combination”), pursuant to which US Gold Corporation acquired Minera Andes Inc. and was renamed McEwen Mining, has been successfully completed and closed today. The Combination was carried out by way of a plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (Alberta), which was approved by the shareholders of both US Gold and Minera Andes on January 19, 2012 and the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta on January 20, 2012.

Shares of McEwen Mining will commence trading on the NYSE and the TSX, subject to final exchange approvals, under the symbol “MUX” on Friday January 27, 2012. Holders of Minera Andes shares will receive 0.45 of an exchangeable share of McEwen Mining – Minera Andes Acquisition Corp. for each one (1) Minera Andes share held. These exchangeable shares of McEwen Mining – Minera Andes Acquisition Corp., will also start trading on the TSX on January 27, 2012 under the symbol “MAQ”. The exchangeable shares of McEwen Mining – Minera Andes Acquisition Corp. are convertible on a one-for-one basis at any time into shares of McEwen Mining. McEwen Mining will have an aggregate of 267,084,203 shares of common stock outstanding and issuable upon the exchange of exchangeable shares.

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Canadian mining company denies link to shooting death of protester in Mexico – by Peter O’Neil (National Post – Janurary 26, 2012)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

OTTAWA — Vancouver-based mining company Fortuna Silver says it has nothing to do with the shooting death of a protester in a town near the company’s mine site in Mexico.

Police have arrested the alleged shooter implicated in the death of Bernardo Mendez Vazquez, who was shot last week during a protest that news reports have linked to opposition to the gold and silver mine.

The shooting took place in the town of San Jose del Progreso, where the mine is the chief employer. The town and mine in the southwestern state of Oaxaca have been the sites of past conflicts involving groups who say the mine is an environmental threat to the arid region’s scarce water supply.

But Fortuna Silver president Jorge Ganoza said “misinformation” is behind media reports tying his company to the violence, which also left another protester with a leg wound.

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Pan American Silver buys Minefinders Corp. – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – January 24, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

VANCOUVER – Pan American Silver Corp. plans to create a silver-producing powerhouse with the proposed $1.5-billion acquisition of Mexico-focused Minefinders Corp. But investors weren’t impressed, driving down Pan American shares 10 per cent on Monday.

Pan American is offering cash or shares – or both – for fellow Vancouver-based company Minefinders, owner of the Dolores silver and gold mine in northern Mexico and the nearby La Bolsa property set to begin production later this year.

The deal will create a combined company valued at $4-billion and double Pan American’s silver production to 50 million ounces by 2015, with eight mines across Latin America. Still, Pan American shareholders showed concern about the dilution of their shares as a result of the transaction.

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Why the heavens of Peru are a hell of a place to seek a fortune – by Jennifer Wells (Toronto Star – December 10, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

LA RINCONADA, PERU—Stepping from a brothel into morning in Rinconada, a suppurating wound of excrement and garbage and fuel exhaust.

Rough night. No heat. No running water. Ergo: no toilet. The wooden floors and cracker-thin walls of the bordello had served as efficient sound vectors for the heavy boots of the importuning miners, orchestral hosts to their loud and meaty door-banging fists. The only detail missing was the jangle of brass spurs.

The floors of the “hotel” rooms — bordellos offer the only lodging in town — had been doused in germ-killing gasoline, the fumes infusing the atmosphere with acrid, lung-invading top-notes. Thus the head: woozy, thick-feeling. Can barely breathe, not that breathing in this fetid atmosphere holds much appeal.

A metre in the distance, a stream of effluent bisects the packed mud path that serves as a primary artery through town. There are no paved roads. Panfuls of slop are heaved into the street.

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Peru declares emergency after talks fail on ending anti-mining protest – by Franklin Briceno (Toronto star – December 6, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

LIMA, PERU—President Ollanta Humala declared a 60-day state of emergency Sunday to quell increasingly violent protests over the country’s biggest investment, a highlands gold mine, by peasants who fear it will damage their water supply.

The emergency restricts civil liberties such as the right to assembly and allows arrests without warrants in four provinces of Cajamarca state that have been paralyzed for 11 days by protests against the $4.8-billion (U.S.) Conga gold-and-copper mining project. U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp. is the project’s majority owner.

Dozens have been injured in clashes between police and protesters, some of whom have vandalized Conga property. The general strike also shuttered schools and snarled transportation as protesters mounted roadblocks.

Humala said in a brief televised address Sunday night that protest leaders had shown no interest “in reaching minimal agreements to permit a return of social peace” after a day of talks in Cajamarca with Cabinet chief Salmon Lerner, who had been accompanied by military and police chiefs and was guarded by hundreds of heavily armed police.

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Fate of Vale, Petrobras CEOs [Roger Agnelli, Jose Sergio Gabrielli] Hinges on [Brazil] Politics – by Brian Ellsworth and Guillermo Parra-Bernal

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. This article was originally published in the Financial Post on January 25, 2011.

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva harshly criticized Agnelli for slashing
investment and firing 2,000 workers after the 2008 financial crisis. Vale raised
capital spending again following heavy government pressure.

RIO DE JANEIRO — Markets dictate that corporate managers who create the most value for shareholders keep their jobs. But for Brazil’s two biggest companies, state-controlled oil firm Petrobras and mining giant Vale, the reality may shape up to be exactly the opposite.

Roger Agnelli, who over a decade helped transform Vale into the world’s leading iron ore producer, is under fire for not creating enough jobs in Brazil and rumors are swirling that President Dilma Rousseff could lobby for his ouster.

In contrast, Jose Sergio Gabrielli may stay on as Petrobras CEO despite a US$38-billion tumble in market value last year sparked by a plan that boosted government control over the company despite complaints from private shareholders.

Although Brazil is still a hot destination for emerging market investments, the apparently diverging fate of the two chief executives is a reminder that political interference is still a risk in Latin America’s largest economy.

As Brazil flexes its economic muscles and boosts its global influence, investors fear its companies could be vulnerable to government pressure to lead economic development efforts at the expense of private shareholders.

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Canada and Sudbury are Very Important to Vale – by Vale CEO Roger Agnelli

Roger Agnelli - CEO ValeThe end of the strike that lasted nearly a year at Vale’s operations in Ontario, Canada, is very significant for our company, as we have overcome yet another challenge. Besides making our Canadian employees’ pension and variable pay regime more similar to the successful system already in place in other countries, the deal removes restrictions and interference in managing the company, thereby aligning our operational efficiency in Canada with our practices elsewhere.

“We are talking about returning management power to supervisors, for example, enabling them to do their work at the operational level in a more appropriate manner in order to achieve their objectives and ensure the safety of their team members, assuming responsibility for management and pursuing innovation,” said Vale’s CEO, Roger Agnelli, in an exclusive interview with Vale News (July 16, 2010). Read the full interview below.

“Canada is important for Vale and Vale is important for Canada. Our partnership is for the long term.” – Roger Agnelli

1) What are the main changes resulting from the approved collective agreement in Ontario?

The most important points that we agreed to are a defined contribution pension plan for new employees, variable pay based on performance and the removal of restrictions and interference in managing the company. In these three areas, we have simply aligned Sudbury and Port Colborne with the successful system that exists in other countries where we operate.

This issue about interference in management is very important, not only for me, as CEO, or for the executive director. We are talking about returning management power to supervisors, for example, enabling them to do their work at the operational level in a more appropriate manner in order to achieve their objectives and ensure the safety and efficiency of their team members. And we are also talking about further developing a meritocratic system. With this new variable pay plan, employees will be rewarded for the results they produce rather than just changes in the nickel price.

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