Archive | Mining Conflict and Opposition

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 →

MINING THE HEART OF THE CONTINENT – by Randal Macnair ( – February 18, 2021)


The Rocky Mountains are one of the most iconic and biologically significant mountain ranges in the world. Stretching almost 5,000 kilometres from northern British Columbia to the arid reaches of the US Southwest, these spectacular mountains support a vast array of species and provide an essential corridor to maintain genetic diversity for grizzly bears throughout the continent.

Near the geographic centre of the Rockies is the region often referred to as the Crown of the Continent, an ecosystem that straddles international and provincial borders. So significant is this region that part of it has been declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve.

In this heart of the Rockies a story of two divergent approaches to resource extraction is taking place. The players are the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta and this story has a twist. The people of Alberta are saying enough is enough while British Columbia is full speed ahead. Continue Reading →

Mary River mine at a standstill as hunters’ blockades enter 5th day – by Dustin Patar (Nunatsiaq News – February 8, 2021)


A blockade of the Mary River iron mine continued into its fifth day, as a group of hunters opposed to the mine’s expansion demanded they be recognized as an Inuit association and be paid a portion of the royalties the mine generates.

“We would like to see actual negotiations with the most impacted communities and have us involved right away,” said Naymen Inuarak, one of the hunters currently at the Mary River mine site, in an interview via satellite phone. “We’ve been ignored way too long.”

Late last Thursday, a group of seven hunters from Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet arrived at the mine site and shut down the airstrip and road that leads to Milne Inlet, in protest of the mine’s Phase 2 expansion. Continue Reading →

Majority of Albertans opposed to expanded coal mining operations: poll – by Mark Villani (CTV News Calgary – February 8, 2021)

CALGARY — A new survey suggests that a significant number of Albertans are opposed to the provincial government’s move to allow expanded coal mining operations in the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

The latest poll, released Monday by public relations firm ThinkHQ, suggests that more than three-quarters of Albertans are aware of the issue.

Among the 1,140 people surveyed from Feb. 2 to Feb. 6, nearly seven-in-ten (69 per cent) oppose expanded development of the formerly protected areas of the province. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Continue Reading →

Proposal to Ban Big Mines Is Put to a Vote in Southern Ecuador – by Stephan Kueffner (Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg – February 4, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Ecuador’s fledgling mining industry faces another test on Sunday when voters in the third-largest city will decide whether to ban major projects within municipal limits.

Alongside the country’s presidential and legislative elections, residents of Cuenca in the southern Andes mountains will be asked if they want large-scale mining within the drainage basins of five rivers.

While there are no big mines operating in the area yet, the referendum threatens to derail more than 40 concessions seeking to tap gold, silver and copper reserves. Continue Reading →

First Nations launch legal challenge to coal mining on Alberta’s Eastern Slopes – by Olivia Condon (Calgary Herald – February 4, 2021)

Siksika First Nation is launching a legal challenge against the province’s decision to rescind its coal policy, effectively allowing open-pit coal mining in the Rockies.

The coal policy, launched in 1976, aimed to protect parts of the Rocky Mountains from open-pit mining and designated the area, from Jasper to Waterton National Parks, into four categories.

Categories 1 and 2 restricted open pit mining, whereas categories 3 and 4 allowed it. Continue Reading →

Alberta promises close watch on new mines but cuts oversight of coal-polluted rivers – by Bob Weber (CTV News Edmonton – February 1, 2021)

Canadian Press – EDMONTON — Alberta government documents show repeated cuts to environmental monitoring despite contaminants in some waterways that exceed thresholds that are supposed to trigger increased scrutiny.

The province’s 2019 five-year monitoring plan shows stations on two rivers and a creek polluted with selenium from coal mines were mothballed. That was despite more than two decades of readings that Alberta Environment guidelines suggest should have led to closer attention.

The only station still operating is on the McLeod River about 200 kilometres downstream of the old Cheviot mine. The United Conservative government has pointed to “strict regulatory standards” in an increasingly heated debate over its plan to increase coal mining in the Rocky Mountains. Continue Reading →

Indigenous opposition to Arctic mine expansion could halt development – by Naill McGee (Globe and Mail – February 1, 2021)

A proposed iron ore mine expansion by Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation is raising environmental red flags among Inuit groups, hamlets, and subsistence hunters and trappers, potentially putting the brakes on one of the biggest industrial developments ever envisaged in the Canadian Arctic.

Privately held Baffinland hopes to double its production of iron ore at its Baffin Island mine in Nunavut to 12 million tonnes a year, from six million tonnes.

The Oakville, Ont.-based miner also wants to build a railroad that would transport ore from its Mary River mine in the Qikiqtani region of North Baffin to Milne Port, about 100 kilometres away. Continue Reading →

Opposition rises to Canadian mining plan that poses risk across US border – by Cara McKenna (The Guardian – January 29, 2021)

An international coalition of over 200 Indigenous groups, businesses and environmentalists have announced opposition to a Canadian mining plan that could have far-reaching impacts in the US.

Imperial Metals has applied to the British Columbia government for a five-year exploratory permit to drill for gold around the source waters of the Skagit River, near the US border.

The opponents on both sides of the border argue that if gold exploration and, eventually, mining are permitted in the Skagit headwaters, which flow into Puget Sound in Washington state, pollution could harm local communities and the North Cascades national park. Continue Reading →

Alberta faces backlash after move to scrap coal policy, ease restrictions on mining – by Emma Graney and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 25, 2021)

A 44-year-old coal and land protection policy – quietly killed by the Alberta government on the Friday afternoon before a long weekend last May – has led to a court challenge and a public backlash so strong the government has cancelled recently issued land leases for coal mining.

At the heart of the discontent is the United Conservative government’s decision to tear up the stringent 1976 Coal Policy, and the potential for more open-pit mining in the fragile land and crucial Alberta watersheds flanked by the Rocky Mountains.

The policy, introduced under Peter Lougheed, laid out how and where coal development could go ahead in the province. It banned open-pit mines over a large area by using land classifications, with completely or highly protected areas deemed categories 1 or 2. Continue Reading →

Outcry as Trump officials to transfer sacred Native American land to miners – by Annette McGivney (The Guardian – January 16, 2021)

As one of its last acts, the Trump administration has set in motion the transfer of sacred Native American lands to a pair of Anglo-Australian mining conglomerates.

The 2,422-acre Arizona parcel called Oak Flat is of enormous significance to the Western Apache and is now on track for destruction by what is slated to be one of the largest copper mining operations in the United States.

Steps for the controversial land transfer from the US government, which owns the land, to the miners were completed on Friday morning, when a final environmental assessment was published. The government must soon transfer title to the land. Continue Reading →

Alberta monolith comes with message to save Rocky Mountains from open-pit coal mining – by Colette Derworiz (CBC News Calagary/Canadian Press – January 15, 2021)

A towering stainless steel monolith set up along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta comes with a message.

The three-metre-tall structure, which reflects its surroundings, is one of many that have been found around the world in recent months. Monoliths have been discovered on a California trail, a Utah desert and at sites across Canada.

Many have popped up without explanation, but the woman who built the one in southern Alberta says she wanted to draw attention to the threats the area is facing as the province moves to open a vast stretch of the mountains to open-pit coal mining. Continue Reading →

Alaska to appeal Corps’ Pebble decision – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – January 11, 2021)

Alaska officials say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers neglected to follow its own guidance when setting mitigations measures for Pebble and the state is appealing Army Corps’ decision to deny federal permits required to develop a mine at the world-class metals deposit on state lands in Southwest Alaska.

“The flawed decision by the Alaska District creates a dangerous precedent that will undoubtedly harm Alaska’s future and, any potential project can fall victim to the same questionable standards,” said Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

“We have to prevent a federal agency, in this instance, the Alaska District of the Army Corps of Engineers, from using the regulatory process to effectively prevent the state from fulfilling a constitutional mandate to develop its natural resources.” Continue Reading →