Archive | Mining Conflict and Opposition

A Copper Mine vs. Sacred Apache Land: The Story in Words and Images – by Eliza Griswold (New York Times – November 17, 2020)

https://www.nytimes.com/

OAK FLAT: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West – by Lauren Redniss

Naelyn Pike, a skateboard aficionado and teenage Apache activist, arrived in Washington in 2013 to testify before Congress. When she passed through the metal detector in the Capitol, the tin jingles on her traditional dress set off the alarm.

She was speaking that day to a Senate subcommittee about the fate of Oak Flat, a vast plot of southeastern Arizona that is sacred to the San Carlos Apaches and lies above one of the largest known untapped veins of copper in the United States.

Since 2005, members of the San Carlos Apache tribe have been battling both a mining company and the federal government to keep the copper untouched. Not only would building the mine entail the collapse, or subsidence, of the tribe’s ceremonial land, but since the group’s spiritual identity is tied to that land, its members viewed the prospective demise of Oak Flat as a larger act of erasure and a violation of their religious freedom. Continue Reading →

Quebec Cree say top court’s decision a victory for Indigenous communities – by Susan Bell (CBC News Canada North – October 29, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

The Quebec Cree Nation government says the Supreme Court of Canada’s refusal to consider an appeal in connection with a $200 million lawsuit against the government of Quebec gives more power to Indigenous communities across Canada to stop resource projects in their tracks. It said it also strengthens the legal notion that social acceptability is an essential requirement for developers.

In a decision released Oct. 15, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Strateco Resources, which sued over Quebec’s 2013 decision to stop a uranium project near the Cree community of Mistissini that didn’t have local or Cree Nation government support.

Both the Quebec Superior Court and the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld the notion that the province was allowed to consider social acceptability in refusing to issue a permit to Strateco’s Matoush Project. Continue Reading →

$14 trillion investor coalition puts Australia’s miners on notice over Indigenous rights – by Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald – October 29, 2020)

https://www.smh.com.au/

A coalition of global investors managing a collective $14 trillion has written to Australia’s biggest mining companies describing Rio Tinto’s destruction of Aboriginal rock shelters as a wake-up call and demanding assurances about their relationships with First Nations peoples.

In a letter circulated on Thursday, the investor group which included America’s Fidelity, the Church of England Pensions Board and several top local super funds said their long-term investments meant they needed to have confidence in how miners obtained and maintained their “social licence” with the traditional custodians of their land on which they operated.

The push comes after traditional owners were left devastated and investors shocked and outraged at Rio Tinto’s ill-fated decision to blast through two culturally significant 46,000-year-old rock shelters at Western Australia’s Juukan Gorge to enlarge an iron ore mine. Continue Reading →

Shifting Iron Range politics may not be enough for Trump in Minnesota – by Briana Bierschbach (Minneapolis Star Tribune – October 18, 2020)

https://www.startribune.com/

The scene in the northern Minnesota mining town of Virginia fit perfectly into the Trump campaign’s story line.

On one side of the street, a group of Republicans were waving Trump flags and singing “God Bless the U.S.A.” Across the street at the local steelworkers’ union office, a smaller group stood masked and silent, looking on with Joe Biden signs.

One of the Trump supporters made a crack about the size of the Biden crowd. Rob Farnsworth, a Republican state House candidate and member of the Minnesota teachers’ union, extended an invitation. Continue Reading →

‘Deal with the disaster’: the girl from Bougainville who grew up to take on a mining giant – by Leanne Jorari and Ben Doherty (The Guardian – October 16, 2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/

For all of Theonila Roka Matbob’s three decades, the scar on her land that was once the world’s largest copper mine has cast a pall.

The Panguna mine in Bougainville, eastern Papua New Guinea, has not yielded a single ounce in her lifetime – forced shut the year before Matbob was born – but she grew up in the shadow of the violent civil war it provoked.

When she was just three years old, her father, John Roka, was murdered by the secessionist soldiers who had forced the mine to close. Spending years in a “care centre” run by the PNG defence force, she remembers a childhood dominated by an all-pervasive fear, where the sound of gunshots regularly rang out across the valley, where neighbours disappeared from their homes, their bodies later found slaughtered. Continue Reading →

Minnesota Supreme Court hears dispute over canceled PolyMet mine permits – by Jennifer Bjorhus (Minneapolis Star Tribune – October 13, 2020)

https://www.startribune.com/

The Minnesota Supreme Court will decide whether state regulators erred in issuing permits for PolyMet Mining Corp.’s copper-nickel mine without a special hearing, and could impose further review of the $1 billion project.

The state’s highest court became involved Tuesday in the landmark mine project near Hoyt Lakes — a new type of mine for the state — after an appellate court struck down three permits and sent them back to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for a contested case hearing.

The lower court reversed PolyMet’s permit to mine and two dam safety permits in January, partly on the grounds that the DNR did not hold the contested-case hearing to vet significant objections from environmentalists and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who live downstream from the planned mine. Continue Reading →

Goldmining having big impact on indigenous Amazon communities – by Dom Phillips (The Guardian – October 7, 2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/

A new report has exposed the scale and impact of mining on indigenous reserves in Amazon countries as gold prices soared during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 20% of indigenous lands are overlapped by mining concessions and illegal mining, it found, covering 450,000 sq km (174,000 sq miles) – and 31% of Amazon indigenous reserves are affected.

The report, released on Wednesday by the World Resources Institute, said indigenous people should be given more legal rights to manage and use their lands, and called for better environmental safeguards. Continue Reading →

Northern Dynasty eyes controversial Alaska mine as high gold prices encourage ecologically dicey projects – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – October 7, 2020)

https://financialpost.com/

Last week, Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. issued a press release that declared its Pebble Mine, located in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, as the “most significant” source of rhenium in the world.

Rhenium, one of the rarest elements in the earth’s crust, is prized in military and industrial applications for its high melting point yet remained unheard of to most investors until U.S. President Donald Trump included it on a list of critical elements in 2017 whose permitting should be prioritized and streamlined.

Advertising the Pebble Mine as a significant source of rhenium marks the latest strategy by Northern Dynasty to advance its long delayed, highly controversial, project — a polymetallic deposit that contains copper, gold, molybdenum, rhenium and various other metals. Continue Reading →

Attawapiskat First Nation Seeks For DeBeers to Clean Up their Mess (NetNewsLedger.com – September 28, 2020)

http://www.netnewsledger.com/

ATTAWAPISKAT FN – DeBeers Canada (DBC) is seeking Ontario Government approval for a third landfill waste site to be built and filled up at the Victor Mine Site, located in a vulnerable James Bay wetlands area, and in a place of critical importance to Attawapiskat.

The Victor Mine is now in the closure phase, where decommissioning and remediation are supposed to leave the landscape in a clean and safe state.

The mine operated from 2005 to 2019 and with an annual production rate is 2.7 million tonnes a year, or about 600,000 carats a year in diamond grade. Continue Reading →

Pebble Partnership CEO resigns over leaked tape – by Editor (Mining.com – September 23, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Northern Dynasty Minerals (TSX: NDM, NYSE: NAK) announced Wednesday that Tom Collier, CEO of its US-based subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership, has submitted his resignation in light of comments made about elected and regulatory officials in Alaska in private conversations videotaped by an environmental activist group.

The announcement comes as doubts about the proposed Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum mine have steadily risen over recent months.

In September, short seller J Capital Research accused Northern Dynasty management of “gaslighting investors” and said the mine plan “is on its face absurd.” Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto promised to respect indigenous people. It has a chance to in the U.S. – by Lauren Redniss (Washington Post – September 22, 2020)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

Earlier this month, the Anglo-Australian mining conglomerate Rio Tinto announced its chief executive, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, and two other top executives would step down as the company reckons with its decision last May to bulldoze ancient rock shelters in Australia’s Juukan Gorge to gain access to iron ore.

For the Indigenous Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, the rock shelters were sacred sites. Archaeologists have found evidence of 46,000 years of human presence at the gorge.

In June, Rio Tinto issued an apology. But pressure from Indigenous groups and Rio Tinto’s shareholders pushed the company to take a stronger stand. Continue Reading →

Special report: Pebble Mine, the people’s story spanning more than two decades – by Sandy Szwarc (Must Read Alaska – September 19, 2020)

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Pebble Mine is just weeks away from clearing the last hurdle to a federal permit − after nearly two decades of scientific, engineering and environmental studies, and wading through the permitting process.

It reached this point despite well-organized and massively-funded opposition from Outside special interests that have done everything in their power to block the permit. Across the country, many believe that those behind the opposition are grassroots environmentalists, unbiased experts, local fishermen, and Native American Indians.

But virtually none of them are who they appear to be. Attempting to mislead the public with huge media campaigns repeating the same scary sounding claims and misinformation, and efforts to stop the mine permit with an army of lawyers, their goals have nothing to do with the mine itself or saving the environment. Continue Reading →

Mining petition to be aired, should government stand – by Michael Swan (The Catholic Register – September 20, 2020)

https://www.catholicregister.org/

If the Liberal government stands past the Sept. 23 throne speech, Martin Blanchet’s seven-year battle to get somebody with authority to look into how Canadian mining companies and others treat workers, communities and the environment in poor countries will finally get an airing in the House of Commons.

More than 6,000 people have signed a petition Blanchet launched over the summer through the Parliamentary online petition system. The petition calls for stronger investigatory powers for the Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise and Blanchet’s MP, Edmonton-Strathcona MP and NDP deputy house leader Heather McPherson, is anxious to present it in the House of Commons.

In addition to the petition, McPherson is preparing her own private members’ bill to strengthen the new system for monitoring overseas operations of Canadian companies. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Coal mining in Alberta must be carefully assessed before allowing expansion – by Bill Trafford (Calgary Herald – September 11, 2020)

https://calgaryherald.com/

Bill Trafford is president of the Livingstone Landowners’ Group., which represents landowners and supporters of the Livingstone-Porcupine area in southwest Alberta.

In his piece in the Calgary Herald on Aug. 26, Robin Campbell, president of the Coal Association of Canada, asks that the true facts about coal mining become known. Unfortunately, in his article, Mr. Campbell ignores multiple inconvenient truths.

He writes as if the Vista decision was the only coal mine that Ottawa decided to review. More accurately, there will now be reviews of two proposed mines, one in Alberta and one in B.C. Continue Reading →

‘A sacred spot’: why goldmining threatens Nova Scotia’s ‘wildest’ river – by Zack Metcalfe (The Guardian – August 31, 2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/

The extractive industries have their sights set on Nova Scotia as a literal goldmine, and decades of conservation efforts – as well the future of a beloved river – hang in the balance.

Three years after Atlantic Gold opened a goldmine north-east of Halifax, the mining company intends to open three more across Nova Scotia. One of the mines has been proposed alongside the St Mary’s River, Nova Scotia’s longest single waterway – and in the opinions of many, its wildest, supporting both endangered species and ecosystems.

This, the so-called Cochrane Hill goldmine, has become the focal point of mounting public opposition to goldmining in Nova Scotia. Continue Reading →