Corb Lund, Alberta’s unlikely activist, mounts final resistance against coal mining interests in the Rockies – by Jesse Snyder (National Post – October 26, 2021)

“It’s the goddamned drinking water,” says an exasperated Corb Lund, still in disbelief over a government decision last year to re-open the Rocky Mountains to coal mining interests, which opponents say could threaten critical water supplies in southern Alberta.

The country music star and sixth-generation Albertan became a key figure last year in the campaign to resist new development in Alberta’s foothills, after the provincial government in June 2020 rescinded a decades-old ban on open-pit mining along the region’s southern slopes.

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Canadian miners pursue prospects in war-torn Tigray – by Geoffrey York and Zecharias Zelalem (Globe and Mail – October 4, 2021)

With a devastating war still raging on, the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia has become a land of famine, massacres and brutal destruction. Its suffering has led to allegations of genocide, threats of sanctions and fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.

But some Canadian gold-mining companies see Tigray as something else: a potential bonanza. Their jostling for mineral rights has continued even as the war deepens, with the miners confident that the region holds billions of dollars in gold.

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Record number of environmental activists murdered – by Claire Marshall ( – September 12, 2021)

A record number of activists working to protect the environment and land rights were murdered last year, according to a report by a campaign group. 227 people were killed around the world in 2020, the highest number recorded for a second consecutive year, the report from Global Witness said.

Almost a third of the murders were reportedly linked to resource exploitation – logging, mining, large-scale agribusiness, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure.

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Serbs Protest Against Lithium Mining, Other Eco Problems – by Darko Vojinovic (U.S. News/Associated Press – September 11, 2021)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Several thousand people protested in Serbia on Saturday demanding a ban on planned lithium mining in the Balkan country as well as a resolution to scores of other environmental issues that made the region one of the most polluted in Europe.

The rally in downtown Belgrade was organized by about 30 ecological groups who recently gained popularity in Serbia amid widespread disillusionment with mainstream politicians and amid major pollution problems facing the region.

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Chile indigenous group asks regulators to suspend lithium miner SQM’s permits – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters – September 13, 2021)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Indigenous communities living around Chile’s Atacama salt flat have asked authorities to suspend lithium miner SQM’s operating permits or sharply reduce its operations until it submits an environmental compliance plan acceptable to regulators, according to a filing viewed by Reuters.

Chile’s SMA environmental regulator in 2016 charged SQM with overdrawing lithium-rich brine from the Salar de Atacama salt flat, prompting the company to develop a $25 million plan to bring its operations back into compliance. Authorities approved that plan in 2019 but reversed their decision in 2020, leaving the company to start again from scratch on a potentially tougher plan.

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Mining company ‘caught in the middle’ between Ginoogaming First Nation and Ontario – by Gary Rinne ( – September 7, 2021)

TORONTO — A Superior Court judge has extended an interim injunction against mineral exploration in the non-reserve portion of Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan, an area that Ginoogaming First Nation has described as a sacred and cultural part of its traditional territory.

Justice Susan Vella has ordered Ontario to engage in “meaningful consultation” with Ginoogaming, and to appear before her again in six months. The decision leaves the future of Greenstone businessman Michael Malouf’s mining claims up in the air. Malouf owns Quarternary Mining & Exploration Inc. and Hardrock Extension Inc.

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How his plan to open the Canadian Rockies to coal mining set Alberta’s Jason Kenney against country music stars – by Alex Boyd (Toronto Star – August 15, 2021)

Corb Lund is not enjoying this interview. The lanky Juno-winning musician, known for his playful lyrical takes on rural life on the Prairies, is calling while on his way home to southern Alberta after a stint in studio in Edmonton working on some new music.

But he hasn’t phoned to talk about his latest project, or even the one before it, an album released to critical acclaim in the middle of a pandemic.

Instead, he’s stolen time from his primary gig to talk about a side project that has recently rebranded him as an emerging, albeit reluctant, advocate: stopping a controversial plan to open up the Rocky Mountains to coal mining.

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Documentary shines a light on lithium mining and conflicts in Argentina – by Fermin Koop ( – August 3, 2021)

Years in the making, the film tells the story of the communities of Salinas Grandes, Jujuy province, who resist the arrival of mining companies for lithium extraction in Argentina

Clemente Flores lives in the El Moreno community in Salinas Grandes, Jujuy, Argentina, where indigenous communities are trying to prevent mining companies from extracting lithium. The amount of water needed to obtain the mineral, used to power electric car and phone batteries, would radically alter their way of life, Clemente argues.

In the name of lithium, a new documentary directed by Cristian Cartier and Martín Longo, tells the story of a conflict generated by lithium extraction. The film, which took more than five years to make, is available online for free until 9 August and is then scheduled for release in cinemas across Argentina.

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Lithium boom could be coming to Salton Sea area, and residents need to be included – by Mariela Loera (Desert Sun – August 4, 2021)

Mariela Loera is a policy advocate with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

Will the dream of renewable energy in the “Lithium Valley” around the Salton Sea be a nightmare for surrounding communities?

The area contains huge amounts of lithium, and demand for electric cars — which use lithium-ion batteries — is booming. So we are at a vital moment to meaningfully engage residents and ensure that future decisions and actions not only prevent harm but also benefit local communities.

Early community involvement before the work to extract the lithium begins in earnest will enable preventative action that considers the existing circumstances of surrounding communities and ensures no further harm, which is essential for equitable progress and true climate resilience.

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Will This Court Case End the Mining Industry’s 150-Year Dominance of the West? – by Elizabeth Royte (Mother Jones – August 2, 2021)

One legal loophole might change everything.

Early one May morning, I escaped Tucson’s unrelenting grid and drove south through Pima County on Arizona’s state Route 83, into the heart of the Madrean Sky Islands, an almost mythical landscape of shadowy, isolated peaks where several biological zones overlap.

The blue-gray Whetstone Mountains marked the distant eastern horizon, the Patagonias loomed to the south, and to the immediate west rose the camelback ridgeline of the Santa Ritas. There, oaks and junipers stippled upper elevations, and rolling swells of grass blanketed low slopes.

A haven for wildlife and a balm for those seeking respite in nature, this region contains some of the rarest intact ecosystems and the highest-quality streams among the deserts of the Southwest, providing habitat for ocelots, jaguars, and a dozen other endangered species.

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How ‘blood mineral’ traders in Rwanda are helping fund Congo rebels – and undermining global supply chains – by Geoffrey York and Judi Rever (Globe and Mail – August 4, 2021)

New evidence from a United Nations report and a high-profile investor arbitration case is casting a spotlight on Rwanda’s role in sophisticated smuggling networks that extract gold and coltan from Congolese conflict zones and funnel the strategically important minerals illicitly into the global supply chain for consumer products such as cellphones, computers and jewellery.

The smuggling is also fuelling military and human-rights abuses in Central Africa, while damaging the region’s corporate-supported efforts to regulate the minerals trade, the evidence suggests.

Experts have been aware of the smuggling for many years, but fresh details from UN researchers and filings in the case have revealed how these networks are flourishing in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), even as governments claim to be cleaning up the underground trade.

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Vancouver-based miner’s deep sea mining request may force moratorium from international authority – by Gwynne Dyer (London Free Press – August 1, 2021)

A month ago, it seemed to be just another tale of ruthless miners and desperate poor people conspiring to wreck the environment while distant regulators failed to get a grip. But it turns out to be more complicated than that, and rather more hopeful.

The mining company is DeepGreen, and the poor people are the 11,500 inhabitants of Nauru, a tiny independent island in the Western Pacific.

The regulators are the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the UN agency that governs the seabed in areas beyond the reach of national laws (i.e. most of the planet).

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Coal firm appeals rejection of Grassy Mountain open-pit mine – by Ian Vandaelle (BNN Bloomberg – July 19, 2021)

The company behind a proposal to build a massive open-pit coal mine along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains is appealing a regulatory decision that halted the development last month.

Australia-based Benga Mining Limited said Monday it launched a legal appeal process to dispute the rejection of the Grassy Mountain steelmaking coal mine by a joint provincial-federal review panel, taking issue with a number of the panel’s findings.

Benga Chief Executive Officer John Wallington said in a release the company disagreed with the Joint Review Panel (JRP) and Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) methodology and conclusion, including Benga’s view that the regulators did not properly take into account First Nations’ support for the project.

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Who should pay when projects fail after Indigenous rights claims? – by Shiri Pasternak (Globe and Mail – July 14, 2021)

Shiri Pasternak is a professor of criminology at Toronto’s X University. She has changed this affiliation in solidarity with Indigenous faculty because of the legacy of the institution’s namesake in the residential school system.

In early July, Foxgate Developments Inc. announced that it was shutting down construction at the 1492 Land Back Lane camp on reclaimed Six Nations land in Ontario. The site of the proposed housing subdivision called McKenzie Meadows had been permanently occupied by community members since last summer.

But unfinished business remains. Foxgate wants someone to pay for their losses – specifically, $200-million in damages from the Ontario and federal governments, the Ontario Provincial Police, and others for neglecting to remove the occupation.

They also want governments to affirm that title to the lands is legally held by Foxgate and not subject to a land claim by the Six Nations.

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Legal battle brewing in northern Ontario over the protection of Indigenous sacred areas, mining rights – by Logan Turner (CBC News Thunder Bay – July 3, 2021)

Province, prospectors argue First Nation didn’t fully participate in consultations

As the mining industry heats up in northwestern Ontario, a First Nation in Treaty 9 territory has applied for an injunction to stop mineral exploration and protect a sacred area within their traditional territory.

It’s a case that some say would set a precedent in Canada, establishing the inherent and treaty right of First Nations to protect sacred areas.

Ginoogaming First Nation considers Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan, an area of land roughly 360 square kilometres in size located about 300 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, its “breadbasket, its church, its heartland, its graveyard and its hospital,” according to documents filed by their lawyers.

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