Archive | Mining Conflict and Opposition

Both sides claim victory in complicated PolyMet court ruling – by Dan Kraker (Minnesota Public Radio News – April 28, 2021)

Both sides claimed victory Wednesday after the state Supreme Court issued a complex ruling over state permits for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

Environmental groups and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa were quick to celebrate the ruling, saying the decision “hits the reset button” on the proposal, which would be the first non-iron ore mining operation built in northern Minnesota.

In a 48-page ruling, the court upheld the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ reversal of the Department of Natural Resources’ decision to grant a critical “permit to mine.” The appeals court said the state agency failed to set a fixed term for the permit and it ordered the DNR to set an appropriate term. Continue Reading →

Philippines: Churches protest as government lifts mining ban (Independent Catholic News – April 21, 2021)

Ahead of Earth Day, Caritas Philippines, together with several bishops and their dioceses have expressed their concern at President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to lift a nine-year moratorium on new mining deals. They warn that the move could have a catastrophic effect on poor and marginalized communities.

Duterte signed an Executive Order on 14 April, lifting a nine-year moratorium on new mining deals imposed in 2012 by former President Benigno Aquino III, who called on government authorities to check and renegotiate contracts with mining firms in cases of environmental abuse. Aquino’s moratorium also provided a respite to the environment to regenerate its depleting flora and fauna.

The moratorium had been imposed while the government worked on legislation to boost the state’s share of mining revenues. Since 2018, the excise tax on minerals has doubled to 4%. The Philippines became the top supplier of nickel ore to China and a major producer of copper and gold after Indonesia banned exports of unprocessed ore. Continue Reading →

Arizona mining fight pits economy, EVs against conservation, culture – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – April 19, 2021)

Early last year, Darrin Lewis paid $800,000 for a hardware store in a tiny Arizona town where mining giant Rio Tinto Plc (RIO.L) hopes to build one of the world’s largest underground copper mines.

Rio buys materials from Lewis’s Superior Hardware & Lumber for its Resolution mine site, accounting for a third of the store’s sales and helping to keep it afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

But U.S. President Joe Biden put the mining project on hold last month in response to the concerns of Native Americans who say it will destroy sacred land and of environmentalists who worry it will gobble up water in a drought-stricken state. Continue Reading →

B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area – by Brenna Owen (Toronto Star/Canadian Press – April 17, 2021)

VANCOUVER – A mineral exploration company with provincial permits to work in Tahltan territory in northwestern British Columbia is treading on sacred grounds, an elected leader in the nation’s government says.

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, he said.

“The Sheslay area was a major village site in pre-contact times and even nowadays we have many elders who were born in the Sheslay area. Many of our ancestors are buried out there,” Day said in an interview. Continue Reading →

Opposition bill against coal mining in Rockies can proceed to legislature: committee – by Bob Weber (Canadian Press/Global News – April 13, 2021)

An Opposition bill that would preserve Alberta’s Rocky Mountains from open-pit coal mines could be debated in the legislature after a government-dominated committee on Tuesday gave unanimous consent for it to move forward.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley, the bill’s sponsor, immediately challenged government members to approve a motion to debate the bill next Monday instead of letting it die on the order paper.

“Are they just going through the motions or are they really prepared to do what it takes and stand up for and represent the views of their constituents?” Notley asked after a meeting of the committee that screens private members’ bills and decides which of them goes ahead. Continue Reading →

This land is sacred to the Apache, and they are fighting to save it – by Dana Hedgpeth (Washington Post – April 12, 2021)

Just as his Apache ancestors have done for centuries, Wendsler Nosie — the former chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe — led a traditional ceremony on a mountaintop at Oak Flat, about 60 miles east of Phoenix, overlooking a landscape of basins covered in tall grasses, boulders and jagged cliffs.

The tradition, called a sunrise ceremony, is a rite of passage for a teenage girl in which she goes through a series of rituals to recognize her transition to womanhood.

The girl had collected plants from Oak Flat that have the “spirit of Chic’chil Bildagoteel,” the name of the sacred spot in the Apache language. Plants from anywhere else cannot be used — they don’t have the spirit that resonates from Oak Flat. Continue Reading →

[Nickel/Cobalt Nodules] [Open Letter to Brands Calling for a Ban on Seafloor Minerals – by Deep Green Metals – April 1, 2021)


To: BMW, Volvo, Google and Samsung SDI

At DeepGreen, we agree that seafloor minerals development should be approached cautiously and with an exacting commitment to science-based impact analysis and environmental protection.

A precautionary approach has informed our strategy from the outset, including our mission to provide battery metals sourced from deep-ocean nodules that generate zero solid waste, no toxic tailings, and a fraction of the carbon emissions compared to land-based sources.

Such environmental benefits can be achieved only through collecting polymetallic nodules, 4,000 meters deep on the abyssal plain where the abundance of life is up to 1,500 times less than in the vibrant ecosystems on land from where battery metals are currently sourced. Continue Reading →

Alberta forms coal committee in response to intense public backlash – by Emma Graney (Globe and Mail – March 29, 2021)

A new Alberta committee will lead public consultations on how the province should manage coal development, the latest move to mollify public backlash against the government’s decision to quietly kill a 44-year-old coal and land protection policy.

Cancellation of the 1976 coal policy in May made it easier for companies to pursue mines in sensitive regions, but widespread public anger about its removal forced the government to backpedal. It reinstated the policy, cancelled 11 coal leases and promised to consult with Albertans to come up with a new coal mining plan.

The first official steps in that process began Monday with the announcement of the new, independent committee. A survey for Albertans to share their thoughts is also online until April 19. The government says it will work directly with Indigenous leaders and communities to hear their perspectives. Continue Reading →

No-fly zone in Zamfara: The intrigues and intricacies – by Etim Etim (Guardian Nigeria – March 18, 2021)

One of the nation’s biggest crime thrillers is unfolding in the Northwestern state of Zamfara, but nobody seems to be paying attention. The plot is not only dangerous, but it is at the root of the banditry and sacking of villages in that part of the country.

The cast includes the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj Gen Babagana Mungonu (rtd); the state governor, Mr Bello Muhammed (Matawalle Maradun), and the House of Assembly.

Behind the scenes and pulling the strings are some illegal gold miners from China, who can easily pass for the executive producers of the plot. Like all such high-stakes, the hapless citizens, in this case, the poor people of Zamfara are paying dearly. Continue Reading →

Entire villages would be wiped out if natural disaster hit dam on PNG mine, critics say – by Lyanne Togiba and Ben Doherty (The Guardian – March 14, 2021)

A proposed dam to hold billions of tonnes of mine waste near the head of Papua New Guinea’s longest river is a potential environmental disaster that could wipe out entire villages if there was a natural disaster, government officials, environmental advocacy groups and villagers living along the river say.

The Frieda River gold and copper mine – slated for development by Chinese state-owned, Australian-based miner PanAust for northern New Guinea island – would be the largest mine in PNG’s history, and one of the biggest in the world.

Part of the mine’s proposal would be a 12,000ha reservoir built to hold more than 4.6bn tonnes of waste rock and mine tailings. The reservoir would hold 9.6bn cubic metres of water – twice the size of Sydney harbour – and the embankment built to hold it would be 187 metres high. Continue Reading →

Alberta environment minister’s constituents concerned over coal-mining – by Bob Weber (CBC News Edmonton – March 10, 2021)

Canadian Press – A municipal council in Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon’s constituency is the latest in a growing number of communities expressing concern about the province’s plan to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.

Clearwater County, which includes the town of Rocky Mountain House and about half the people Nixon represents in the legislature, voted unanimously Tuesday to send a letter to the United Conservative government.

Reeve Cammie Laird said the letter thanks the government for reinstating protections for the Rockies from surface coal mines and for reconsidering its decision not to hold public consultations. But it warns local people are worried. Continue Reading →

Ripples from Juukan: WA traditional owners back Arizona tribe fighting Rio Tinto – by Hamish Hastie (Sydney Morning Herald – March 8, 2021)

The Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people have thrown their support behind a North American first nations tribe locked in a battle with a Rio Tinto-owned copper miner.

San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona have fought Resolution Copper’s plans to build one of the world’s biggest copper mines on sacred land known as Oak Flat for a decade, but regulators have supported the land swap necessary for the mine to go ahead.

Resolution Copper is a joint subsidiary of Australian miners BHP and Rio Tinto, with the latter company drawing international condemnation in May 2020 after destroying the Juukan Gorge rock shelters to expand its Brockman 4 mine. The rock shelters contained evidence of 46,000 years of human habitation. Continue Reading →

Groups ask for pause to Ring of Fire work until plans in place for clean water, peatlands – by Carl Meyer (National Observer – March 2, 2021)

A coalition of Indigenous and environmental organizations is calling on the Canadian and Ontario governments to impose an “immediate moratorium” on all mineral exploration or impact assessment work related to the Ring of Fire region.

A dozen organizations, including the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and the Omushkegowuk Women’s Water Council (OWWC), have penned an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and provincial leaders asking for the pause.

Ontario’s Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines believes the Ring of Fire region in the province’s north has valuable deposits of several minerals, including chromite, which can be used to make stainless steel. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has labelled it a “multibillion-dollar opportunity.” Continue Reading →

Pond Inlet MLA says territory is ‘muted’ on controversial Nunavut mine expansion – by Beth Brown (CBC News North – February 23, 2021)

The MLA for Pond Inlet is criticizing the Nunavut government for taking a back seat in negotiations for the Mary River mine expansion.

In the legislature Monday, David Qamaniq urged the territory to be more vocal about the expansion that, if approved, would see production double from six to 12 million tonnes a year at the iron ore mine on north Baffin Island.

“My constituents are wondering why the territorial government seems to be able and willing to impose restrictions on caribou hunting in this region to protect the health of the species, but does not seem able or willing to impose restrictions on the mining company to protect our land, water and wildlife,” Qamaniq said during question period. Continue Reading →

Southern Ecuador’s Cuenca bans large-scale mining – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – February 19, 2021)

Residents of the Southern Ecuador’s city of Cuenca have voted in favour of banning future large-scale mining activities in five nearby watershed zones – an area that stretches over 3,100 square km (1,197 square miles) and is home to more than 580,000 people.

The poll results represents a win for Cuenca, in the province of Azuay, which hosts several mining assets, including Chinese-owned Junefield’s Rio Blanco gold project, SolGold’s (LON, TSX:SOLG) Sharug and Canada’s INV Metals’ (TSX-V: INV) Loma Larga gold-silver-copper project.

The city, the country’s third largest, pushed last year for the referendum on whether or not communities could decide the fate of mining projects in the area. Continue Reading →