Archive | Mining Conflict and Opposition

World-heritage park worries threaten to bog down Teck’s oil-sands plans – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – July 9, 2018)

Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd. is facing opposition to its proposed Frontier oil sands mining operation owing to the project’s potential impacts on a UNESCO world-heritage park where wildlife habitat is deteriorating because of development.

Teck is seeking an environmental permit for a 260,000-barrels-a-day operation along with tailings ponds and water withdrawals in a project that would be the most northerly oil sands mine, just 30 kilometres from the southern border of the sprawling Wood Buffalo National Park.

A joint federal-provincial review panel has scheduled hearings for September, but First Nations and environmental groups are urging it to delay the review until Ottawa can produce a reclamation plan for the park. Continue Reading →

As Arctic warms, reindeer herders tangle with new industries – by Gwladys Fouche and Alister Doyle (Reuters U.S. – July 9, 2018)

FINNMARK PLATEAU, Norway/OSLO (Reuters) – When he’s not out on the Arctic tundra with his 2,000 reindeer, his dog and Whitney Houston blasting through his headphones, Nils Mathis Sara is often busy explaining to people how a planned copper mine threatens his livelihood.

Along with other Sami herders and fishermen, the 60-year-old is in a standoff with the mine owners, Norwegian officials and many townspeople that is, after six years, coming to a head.

It is a litmus test for the Arctic, where climate change and technology are enabling mineral and energy extraction, shipping and tourism while threatening traditional ways of life and creating tensions among its four million inhabitants. Continue Reading →

The Pebble mine is going nowhere. Time for Northern Dynasty to admit it.- by Mary Ann K. Johnson, Brian Kraft and Norm Van Vactor (Anchorage Daily News – June 27, 2018)

Mary Ann K. Johnson is a lifelong subsistence user in Bristol Bay, and a board member for the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. Brian Kraft is a pilot and owner of two Bristol Bay sport-fishing lodges. Norm Van Vactor is a Dillingham resident and the CEO of Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation.

Alaskans have much in common with our neighbors in British Columbia. Our histories are tied closely to the use and development of renewable natural resources, which form the backbone of our economies, cultures and lifestyles. We understand the importance of wise stewardship of this natural wealth.

Our home in Bristol Bay is the source of nearly half the world’s wild sockeye salmon: a wild, sustainable food supply for families all over the world. It is the economic driver of our region, and a cultural linchpin. Our lives and businesses center around the monumental pulse of the 30 million-60 million wild salmon that return here, year after year. It’s like no place else on earth. Continue Reading →

A Canadian firm wants to start mining on Utah lands that used to be part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument – by Brian Maffly (Salt Lake Tribune – June 21, 2018)

A Canadian firm has announced its intention to mine copper and cobalt on public lands in Utah’s scenic Circle Cliffs east of Boulder, telling potential investors it has acquired what appear to be the first mining claims filed on lands removed from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The move set off alarms among environmental groups seeking the monument’s restoration, but it remains unlikely that Glacier Lake Resources’ plans will be realized anytime soon. The Bureau of Land Management will continue to manage these lands as a monument until a new management plan is in place.

“No one has validly changed the status of these lands. It’s still a national monument. It’s still closed to mining and any mineral exploration. Any claims like this are invalid,” said Nada Culver, senior counsel to The Wilderness Society. Continue Reading →

Editorial counterpoint: On mining, let’s follow facts and the law – by Anne Williamson (Minneapolis Star Tribune – June 19, 2018)

Anne Williamson is vice president of environment and sustainability for Twin Metals Minnesota.

The June 10 editorial “Mining near BWCA is risky business” expressed concern about recent information released by Twin Metals Minnesota regarding the underground copper-nickel mining project in northeastern Minnesota that the company is designing.

Twin Metals recognizes environmental protection and conservation as a core value. It’s only natural. After all, we live here, grew up here and have family here. And that is why we are designing a project proposal that will meet all state and federal environmental laws and protective standards.

Twin Metals also agrees with the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s call for “agencies to conduct a rigorous, technology-driven and independent analysis” of the proposal. Continue Reading →

Billboards Call Out Interior Secretary on Grand Canyon Uranium Mining – by Joseph Flaherty (Phoenix New Times – June 19, 2018)

Arizona sporting groups are targeting Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in a publicity campaign to head off a possible rollback of an Obama-era ban on new mining claims around the Grand Canyon.

On Monday, the Arizona Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited unveiled two Phoenix billboards that call on Zinke to save Grand Canyon from uranium mining, citing the industry’s hazards for water and wildlife.

The Trump administration has signaled that it may revisit the Interior Department’s 2012 moratorium on new mining claims, known as a mineral withdrawal, that protects over 1 million acres of public lands for 20 years. (Existing mining claims were not affected.) Ending the moratorium “just doesn’t pass the common-sense test,” said Scott Garlid, the conservation director for the AWF. Continue Reading →

[Australia Mining] Greenies behind ‘tofu curtain’ blamed for suffocating mining industry – by Chris Smith ( – June 14, 2018)

Mining bosses are taking aim at “Greenies”, saying their activism is preventing projects that can enhance Australia’s most successful industries. The mining industry is responsible for a $55-billion injection into Queensland’s economy and employs 40,000 people.

But coal and gas executives have joined forces to issue a warning, that Green activists hiding behind a “tofu curtain” are crippling their industry and its future. Chris Smith couldn’t agree more, slamming “far-lefties” for standing in the way of the nation’s progress.

He says the “tofu curtain” isn’t just plaguing Queensland but is evident right around the nation. “There’s a clear divide between the far-lefties that just want to save the environment no matter what… and us. Continue Reading →

Romania says Gabriel Resources $4.4bn lawsuit over halted project can’t be heard by arbitrators – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – June 14, 2018)

Gabriel Resources (TSX-V:GBU) lawsuit against Romania for $4.4 billion in alleged losses related to the company’s stalled Rosia Montana gold and silver project, suffered a setback this week as the country told international arbitrators they can’t hear the Canadian miner’s claim.

Romania’s government said a recent, ground-breaking court decision had slammed the door on certain investment arbitration cases involving European Union members, so Gabriel’s case can’t be solved that way any longer, legal news site reported, without elaborating further on the verdict.

Earlier this month, Gabriel Resources said it expected the hearing on the merits of its suit, filed last year at a World Bank’s tribunal, to take place in December 2019. The new development, however, may mean the company will have to wait longer than anticipated to find out whether Romania will pay the demanded figure or anything at all. Continue Reading →

A $10 billion China deal to mine bauxite in Ghana is facing fierce environmental pushback – by Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu (Quartz Africa – June 5, 2018)

Accra, Ghana – At 232 square kilometers, the Atewa Forest Reserve in Ghana’s Eastern Region is home to rare flora and fauna including two butterfly species not found anywhere else in the world – Mylothris atewa and Anthene helpsi – and a rediscovered West African White-naped Managbey monkey classified as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The reserve is also the source of three major rivers that serve five million people including residents of Accra, the capital. Local residents and environmental campaigners fear the ecosystem would be irreversibly decimated if plans for a multi-billion dollar deal with the Chinese Development Bank to mine bauxite in the forest goes on.
Bauxite is the ore of aluminum – which is used to make a variety of things including airplanes, cars, cooking utensils and some types of cement.

The $10 billion deal, agreed back in June 2017, Ghana will give up about 5% of its bauxite to China. China would then pay Ghana with a variety of infrastructure projects including expanding the rail network, building new roads and bridges.  Continue Reading →

Afghanistan’s Mineral Resources Fueling War and Insurgency -by Ahmad Shah Katawazai (Foreign Policy Journal – May 29, 2018)

Afghanistan’s rich mineral resources could prove to be the best substitutes for foreign aid and could decrease the country’s dependence on donor countries and foreign support. These resources, if properly managed, provide an opportunity for Afghanistan to write its own story of economic success.

With an estimated value of between one to three trillion dollars,[1] Afghanistan’s mineral resources have long held intriguing potential. But they also threaten to fuel conflict. In a country already plagued by rampant corruption, active insurgency, and lack of infrastructure and institutions, Afghanistan’s minerals represent yet another possible source of instability.

Through illegal mining, millions of dollars are funneled into the pockets of armed groups, insurgents, and strongmen, while only a tiny fraction of the wealth generated from these projects have benefitted the Afghan people.[2] Continue Reading →

Mexico violence hits Canadian silver miner’s operations (Reuters U.S. – May 28, 2018)

(Reuters) – Pan American Silver Corp (PAAS.TO) became the latest company to curtail operations in Mexico due to rising violence and crime, saying on Monday it has faced security incidents along the roads used to transport personnel and materials to its Dolores mine.

The Vancouver-headquartered company said it will maintain personnel at its open-pit Dolores silver mine in the border state of Chihuahua at levels necessary for site security and reduced operating activities.

“We have been monitoring the situation, and with the recent incidents that have occurred along the access roads, we have determined the prudent course of action is to suspend personnel movements to and from the mine until the roads are safe for our employees,” Michael Steinmann, the mining company’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. Continue Reading →

Northern Dynasty Sinks Along With First Quantum Alaska Deal – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – May 25, 2018)

Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. plummeted Friday after the collapse of a pact with First Quantum Minerals Ltd. to finance the controversial Pebble mining project in Alaska.

The two companies were unable to reach an agreement on a proposed deal disclosed in December, Northern Dynasty said Friday in a statement. The arrangement would have given a unit of First Quantum an option to earn a 50 percent interest in Pebble in return for $150 million paid over four years to fund permitting.

The project at one of the largest copper and gold deposits has been fraught for years. Effectively banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, shares of Northern Dynasty surged after Donald Trump’s election victory. Continue Reading →

Deadly protests land a blow to Indian resources magnate Agarwal’s ambitions – by Krishna N. Das and Promit Mukherjee (Reuters U.S. – May 23, 2018)

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal often talks about his dream to turn his London-listed company Vedanta Resources into a global resources giant. He has already bought stakes in big mining companies, such as Anglo American Plc, and says he plans to spend at least $1 billion on investments in Africa.

But in his home country, where he rose from a scrap dealer to a metals magnate, court-imposed fines, costly plant and mine shutdowns, and public protests against his businesses for allegedly polluting the environment, have held back his lofty ambitions and hurt the company’s valuation, according to bankers and analysts.

The struggle with opponents took a particularly ugly turn on Tuesday when police opened fire on protesters seeking to shut down Vedanta’s copper smelter in the southern Indian port city of Thoothukudi, killing 10. Two more people died on Wednesday, and the state government has transferred senior police and administrative officials from the city. Continue Reading →

Vedanta shares tumble after protesters killed – by Amy Kazmin and Neil Hume (Financial Times – May 23, 2018)

Eleven dead after Indian police open fire on crowd objecting to smelter expansion

Shares in Vedanta Resources slumped on Wednesday after police fired into a crowd of local residents protesting against the expansion of its Indian copper smelter.

The London-listed company, which is controlled by billionaire metals tycoon Anil Agarwal and has interests from oil to aluminium, fell 11.5 per cent to 746.8p as investors reacted to the news.

At least 11 people were killed, and scores injured, on Tuesday when Indian police in the southern state of Tamil Nadu shot into the crowd of protesters, objecting to the planned expansion of the Tuticorin smelter and demanding its permanent closure. The unrest continued on Wednesday, when another three people were shot and at least one killed. Continue Reading →

How Chinese mining in the Himalayas may create a new military flashpoint with India – by Stephen Chen (South China Morning Post – May 20, 2018)

China has begun large-scale mining operations on its side of the disputed border with India in the Himalayas, where a huge trove of gold, silver and other precious minerals – valued at nearly US$60 billion by Chinese state geologists – has been found.

Although mining has been going on in the world’s highest mountain range for thousands of years, the challenge of accessing the remote terrain and concerns about environmental damage had until now limited the extent of the activities.

The unprecedented scale of the new mines follows years of heavy investment by the Chinese government in roads and other infrastructure in the area. People familiar with the project say the mines are part of an ambitious plan by Beijing to reclaim South Tibet, a sizeable chunk of disputed territory currently under Indian control. Continue Reading →