Archive | Mining Conflict and Opposition

On an island coveted by miners, villagers prepare to raise a ruckus – by Ian Morse ( – September 13, 2019)

ROKO-ROKO, Indonesia — Residents of this village on the island of Wawonii look like they’re preparing for a battle. Men with chainsaws guard four jerry-rigged huts they’ve built to protect their land against a mining company owned by one of Indonesia’s wealthiest families.

Just four months earlier, locals were celebrating the government’s promise to expel firms like this one. In March, Lukman Abunawas, the deputy governor of Southeast Sulawesi province, faced an angry crowd outside his office in Kendari, the provincial capital, and announced that the government would revoke 15 land concessions for industrial-scale mining in Wawonii.

It was the culmination of a series of increasingly brutal protests against the mining plans that saw thousands of farmers and fishermen pour into the coastal city, riding boats across the narrow channel separating Wawonii from the Sulawesi mainland to join the demonstrations. Continue Reading →

Should we mine copper and nickel in Minnesota … to help defeat climate change? – by Walker Orenstein (Minn Post – September 11, 2019)

Just as steel made from Minnesota’s iron ore powered the U.S. military to victory during World War II, supporters of copper-nickel mining in the state say the industry could help defeat another global challenge: the climate crisis.

Demand is on the rise for renewable energy and electric cars that rely on copper, nickel, cobalt and other metals. And as the world continues to transition away from fossil fuels, the need for those minerals will only continue to grow.

In August, Gov. Tim Walz told MinnPost the state should allow mining if it expects to reach a carbon-free future. “There’s 5.5 tons of copper in every megawatt of solar, and it comes from somewhere,” he said. Continue Reading →

Taseko Mines barred from work in Tsilhqot’in traditional territory until Indigenous rights case is heard – by Ainslie Cruickshank (Toronto Star – September 6, 2019)

VANCOUVER—The Supreme Court of British Columbia has granted an Indigenous nation a temporary respite from the threat of extensive mine exploration on its traditional lands.

Justice Sharon Matthews issued an injunction order Friday to prevent Vancouver-based Taseko Mines Limited from doing any work until the court rules whether the provincial permit for a drilling program infringes on Tsilhqot’in Indigenous rights.

“At the end of the day, this was our last hope,” said Jimmy Lulua, chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations, one of the six Tsilhqot’in Nation communities. Continue Reading →

Cameroon Villagers Say Chinese Miners Are Ruining Local Environment – by Moki Edwin Kindzeka (Voice of America – September 5, 2019)

MEIGANGA, CAMEROON – Villagers near Meiganga, a town in northern Cameroon, are protesting against Chinese gold miners for allegedly ruining their land. The villagers say they are poorer than before the Chinese arrived, with their farms and forests now destroyed.

Area cattle ranchers and farmers say that if nothing is done to save them from Chinese miners, famine may strike their locality soon.

Their spokesman, rancher Mamoudu Poro, 54, says the miners destroy farms and do not bother to cover holes and trenches they dig on roads and ranches before leaving. He says they want the Chinese to build the roads they destroyed and fill the trenches they dug, give them electricity and at least a school and a market before leaving. Continue Reading →


Rapid City – With the Oglala Sioux Tribe set to argue Aug. 28-30 for its kind of protection of cultural resources from unprecedented uranium mining in the southern Black Hills, the tribal government and local groups urged members of the public to attend proceedings here and participate in a simultaneous outdoor cultural event to raise awareness about the issue.

A panel of administrative judges from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) is supposed to be in town on these dates to hear from the tribe, the commission staff and intervenors in the case, which is focusing on the “reasonableness” of their divergent approaches to surveying tribal cultural, religious, and historical properties at the proposed 10,000-acre Dewey-Burdock in situ leach mine and mill.

“NRC staff is attempting to escape its obligation to consider cultural resources at the site, saying it is so expensive and they shouldn’t have to do a cultural survey,” the tribe’s lawyer Jeffrey Parsons told the Native Sun News Today. “The tribe is fighting back.” Continue Reading →

Security weighing on mining in Mexico’s Guerrero state ( – August 29, 2019)

Security concerns are continuing to weigh on mining investment in Mexico’s Guerrero state, despite decreasing violence.

Trouble surged in recent years as rival drug cartels fought for dominance in the state, which is a major supplier of heroin to the US, as well as Mexico’s third biggest gold producer.

While violence has subsided – the authorities registered 946 intentional homicides in the state in January-July, down from 1,343 in the same period last year – the lack of security continues to pose problems for the mining industry, contributing to a mine suspension and undermining exploration spending. Continue Reading →

In a Turkish forest, resistance grows to a Canadian company’s gold-mining project – by Nick Ashdown and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – August 27, 2019)

In the heavily forested Ida Mountains of northwestern Turkey, a bus carrying protesters snakes along the winding roads to its next stop in the fight against the planned construction of a gold mine by a Canadian company.

They were among some 5,000 people protesting earlier this month against Alamos Gold’s nearby mining site and now, a couple of days later, they are heading toward a small campsite where a few dozen activists have stayed behind to keep a vigil. A lively 61-year-old from the nearby city of Canakkale is too riled up to take a seat being offered by the younger passengers.

“We went out to protest because we are against gold mines using cyanide. We went to protect our forest, water and animals living in these mountains. We want to live, we don’t want to get cancer,” the retiree said. Continue Reading →

Gina Lopez, Who Led Crackdown on Mines in the Philippines, Dies at 65 – by Jason Gutierrez (New York Times – August 19, 2019)

MANILA — Gina Lopez, a former environmental activist who introduced a broad crackdown on Philippine mining companies after she was appointed the country’s environmental secretary in 2016, died Monday at age 65.

Her death, from multiple organ failure, was confirmed by the ABS-CBN Foundation, a social development group in which she was the longtime chair.

The outspoken Lopez landed the job of acting environment secretary when President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in 2016. And she wasted no time in going after major mining companies that she said had flagrantly violated the country’s environmental laws. Continue Reading →

Local View Column: Let’s have honest conversations about copper-nickel mining – by Dean DeBeltz (Duluth News Tribune – August 16, 2019)

Dean DeBeltz is director of operations and safety for Twin Metals Minnesota. He is based in Ely.

As people gather for the Wild Waters Music Fest in Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park today, there will be much conversation about what needs to be done to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

As Twin Metals Minnesota’s proposed mine plan moves through the regulatory process, those of us who work in mining will be an important part of those conversations — not only because we, too, care deeply about the Boundary Waters but because we are committed to the health of the communities of Northeastern Minnesota, where our common future lives.

The Iron Range we know today was built on both mining and the wilderness. The forests of northern Minnesota have been home to mines and logging operations, outfitters and outdoor adventurers continuously for more than 130 years. Continue Reading →

Thunder Bay: Opponents to copper mine in Northern Minnesota hope to rally support in Fort Frances, Ont. – by Jeff Walters (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 14, 2019)

A proposed copper mine in Northern Minnesota will get some attention Wednesday evening at a public meeting in Fort Frances, Ont. The Coalition to Save the Boundary Waters hopes to get some support from Canadians, and wants people in Fort Frances to speak with government to try and have Canadian politicians oppose the mine south of the border.

“This type of mining in sulfide bearing ore inevitably leads to the degredation of water quality,” said Becky Rom, the Chair of the coalition. “And yet, what we have here are interconnected waters, and our water quality is extremely good.”

Rom said water discharged from the mine would lead to the Boundary Waters, and through Quetico Provincial Park before reaching Rainy Lake and Rainy River, which include Canadian and U.S. waters. Continue Reading →

Arizona copper mine ruling expected to have national impact (San Francisco Chronicle – August 13, 2019)

Associated Press – TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A federal court ruling against a planned Arizona mining project is expected to have national repercussions if upheld by higher courts, experts said.

The mining industry has decried the ruling against the proposed $1.9 billion Rosemont Mine, The Arizona Daily Star reported .

The U.S. Forest Service’s approval of plans for the new copper mine in southeastern Arizona was overruled July 31 by U.S. District Court Judge James Soto. Conservation and tribal groups praised the ruling, saying it recognized the Forest Service’s failure to protect public land and resources. Continue Reading →

‘It’s our problem’: Brazilian drama brings Amazon rainforest battle to screen – by Anna Jean Kaiser (The Guardian – July 13, 2019)

Aruanas aims to make the environment an ‘everyday topic’ at a time when politics is dominated by the interests of agribusiness

Deep in the Brazilian Amazon, an environmental activist meets with a journalist who warns that a mining company is responsible for a looming environmental disaster. “People are already getting sick,” he warns, before promising to bring her documentary proof the next day.

But in the jungle, someone is watching. Driving to their next meeting, the activist hears a phone ringing in the back of her car. She opens the trunk – and finds the journalist’s dead body.

The gruesome discovery is the opening act of the latest blockbuster series from Brazil’s telenovela powerhouse TV Globo: Aruanas. The series focuses on environmental journalists and activists in the country’s vast, forested interior, where 57 environmental defenders were killed in 2017. Continue Reading →

After protests, Alamos CEO defends Turkish mine project against misinformation’ – by Tuvan Gumrukcu (Reuters Canada – August 7, 2019)

ANKARA (Reuters) – Canada-based Alamos Gold has defended its environmental record at a mining project in western Turkey against a wave of protests, saying it had paid for future reforestation at the site and denying cyanide would leak into the surrounding area.

Thousands of Turks and opposition lawmakers protested on Monday in the Canakkale province against expected pollution from the mine, saying Alamos had cut down more trees than it had declared and would use cyanide, contaminating water in the region.

In an interview in Ankara, Alamos CEO John McCluskey said protests against the project near the town of Kirazli were based on politically-motivated misinformation. Continue Reading →

Ecuador’s crackdown on wildcatting at Australian mogul’s mining lease faces backlash – by Alexandra Valencia and Luc Cohen (Reuters U.S. – August 6, 2019)

BUENOS AIRES, Ecuador (Reuters) – Ecuador’s market-friendly President Lenin Moreno is cracking down on illegal gold miners, who are increasingly encroaching on formal mines, but keeping them away from an Australian billionaire’s concession for good may prove a tall order.

Moreno last month sent 4,000 troops and police to clear thousands of miners from a gold and copper mining concession belonging to Hancock Prospecting, controlled by Gina Rinehart, Australia’s wealthiest person.

Now, with the area under a 60-day state of emergency and military and police guarding nearby Buenos Aires parish, authorities say illegal mining, also known as wildcatting, at the Imba-2 concession has stopped. Continue Reading →

‘Don’t come if you like gold’: Turks march against planned gold mine – by Birsen Altayli (Reuters U.S. – August 2019)

KIRAZLI, Turkey (Reuters) – Thousands of Turks including opposition lawmakers staged a peaceful and unusually large protest on the outskirts of a small western town on Monday against what they say will be pollution from a foreign-owned gold mine project.

Public opposition to the site owned by Dogu Biga Mining, the Turkish subsidiary of Canada-based Alamos Gold Inc, mounted after the firm allegedly cut down four times the number of trees than it declared in an environmental impact report.

Near the town of Kirazli in Turkey’s Canakkale province, a few dozen environmentalists have slept in tents since July 26 as part of what they call a “Watch for Water and Conscience”. Continue Reading →