Archive | Mining Conflict and Opposition

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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). Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: Green groups against renewable energy (Las Vegas Review-Journal – June 8, 2021)

It’s become apparent that radical environmentalists aren’t just waging war on fossil fuels, they’re against virtually any energy development at all. This deserves more attention, particularly given the rush by Democrats in Nevada and other states to impose renewable mandates.

Last week, the Biden administration announced it would seek to protect Tiehm’s buckwheat, a wildflower found only in a remote area of western Nevada, under the Endangered Species Act.

The decision came after the Center for Biological Diversity threatened the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management with legal action. Continue Reading →

Where mining meets rainforest: the battle for Tasmania’s Tarkine – by Adam Morton (The Guardian – June 5, 2021)

Four days before the Morrison government was due to decide the future of a mining development in the takayna/Tarkine, 77-year-old Frits Harmsen planted a camping chair in front of trucks on an unsealed road snaking through Australia’s largest temperate rainforest.

Harmsen, a former French horn player with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, was part of a small band of Bob Brown-endorsed protesters who on Friday began a 19th day attempting to block work by MMG, a majority Chinese-owned minerals company, in Tasmania’s remote north-west.

Up the road, the mining giant was attempting to carry out drilling and other testing for what it hopes will become a much larger project – a new pipeline and waste storage facility near the town of Rosebery. Continue Reading →

Ginoogaming First Nation gold mine lawsuit charts new legal ground – by David P. Ball ( – June 2, 2021)

A First Nation is taking the Ontario government and gold explorers to court to prevent mining activity on 260 square kilometres of the Nation’s territory.

On Tuesday, Ginoogaming First Nation went to the Ontario Superior Court seeking an injunction against mining activities until the Nation can argue its full legal rights.

At stake is a sacred area of land in Ginoogaming territories known as Wiisinin Zaahgi’igan, which roughly translates to English as “the place where you get food.” But the Nation says it is much more than that. Continue Reading →

Northern Sask. First Nation erects security checkpoint in response to uranium exploration and COVID-19 (CBC News Saskatchewan – May 31, 2021)

The Clearwater River Dene Nation (CRDN) in northern Saskatchewan has erected a security checkpoint on a highway that runs through its land in response to uranium mining exploration in the area and worries about the spread of COVID-19.

In a news release issued Monday, Clearwater Chief Teddy Clarke said the Saskatchewan government has repeatedly approved mining exploration without any meaningful consultation with local trappers, elders or community leaders.

“The Government of Saskatchewan ran roughshod over the rights of the Dene People in this region for decades. Continue Reading →

Northwestern Ontario First Nation seeks to stop mineral exploration on ‘sacred’ space – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – May 31, 2021)

Ginoogaming First Nation seeks protection for 100-square-mile area

A northwestern Ontario First Nation is seeking a court injunction to stop mineral exploration in a 100-square-mile area it wants set aside as a protected space for spiritual practices.

Ginoogaming First Nation will appear in Superior Court in Toronto on June 1 to stop prospector Michael Malouf from working in an area it considers a “sacred and cultural keystone area” within the community’s traditional territory.

Michael Malouf is president of Quaternary Mining & Exploration Company. Ginoogaming is next to the town of Longlac, 300 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. Continue Reading →

This Arctic mine is a warning the world must heed – by Laura Paddison (Wired Magazine – May 26, 2021)

Eric Ootoovak remembers a time when the icy waters north of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic were teeming with narwhals. The mythical-looking sea creatures are woven into the culture of Inuit hunters like Ootoovak, who have caught these marine mammals for millennia, eating their meat, blubber and skin, which are packed with vitamins Inuit rely on to get through the long, dark winters.

“The narwhals used to be abundant, by the thousands, and we don’t see that today,” says Ootoovak, the chair of the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, based in the Inuit hamlet of Pond Inlet on northern Baffin Island.

Things changed when the huge Mary River open pit iron ore mine started operations on Baffin Island in 2014, bringing dust, trucks and ships. Narwhal numbers dropped off, says Ootoovak, along with fish and seals. Continue Reading →

Centerra Gold accuses former director of conspiring to steal Kumtor mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 21, 2021)

Centerra Gold Inc. has launched a lawsuit aimed at ejecting the new external manager of the recently nationalized Kumtor mine in the Kyrgyz Republic, alleging that he conspired to steal the asset from under the nose of the Canadian gold company while he was a director.

In the suit filed in the Ontario Superior Court on Thursday, Centerra alleges former board member, Tengiz Bolturuk, worked in secret with Canadian and U.S. law firms, and the Kyrgyzstani government to orchestrate an expropriation of the giant gold mine. “He had given his word to the President of the Republic that they would take back the Kumtor mine,” the suit said.

Mr. Bolturuk, a dual Kyrgyzstani and Canadian citizen, was a director of Toronto-based Centerra up until a few days ago. He joined the board in December as a representative of the Kyrgyzstani government, Centerra’s biggest shareholder, but resigned on May 17 after Kyrgyzstan seized control of Kumtor. Continue Reading →

Centerra moves to block Kyrgyzstan government from selling shares after Kumtor mine nationalized – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 19, 2021)

Centerra Gold Inc. is trying to stop the Kyrgyzstan government from selling shares in the company, after the former Soviet Republic nationalized a giant mine operated by the Canadian firm.

After close to two decades of turbulence between Kyrgyzstan and Centerra, the landlocked central Asian state seized control of the Kumtor mine on the weekend, citing safety violations by the Toronto-based miner. As the largest of Centerra’s three gold mines, Kumtor accounts for more than half of its output.

Centerra on Sunday launched an arbitration suit against the Kyrgyz Republic, a legal maneuver that could take years to play out. Late Monday, the company took more immediate action, saying any attempt by the Kyrgyz government to sell its shares would violate an earlier investment agreement. Continue Reading →