Archive | Mining Conflict and Opposition

OPINION: In the knot of reasons migrants are fleeing Central America, there seems to be a Canadian thread – by Denise Balkissoon (Globe and Mail – July 12, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Teresa Munoz is one of thousands of Central Americans searching for a better life in the United States. She’s not stuck in a cramped, unsanitary detention centre, but her immigration claim is mired in the Trump administration’s crackdown on asylum-seekers.

She’s from Guatemala, one of Central America’s “Northern Triangle” countries, along with Honduras and El Salvador. That’s where the majority of people apprehended at the Mexico-U.S. border are coming from. There are many complicated reasons they’re all leaving, including the violent aftershocks of decades-long civil wars and farmland droughts that are being worsened by climate change.

The situation can seem tragic but also impenetrable, a political tangle of causes and effects happening far away. But among the many miserable migration tales, Ms. Munoz’s story hits close to home: She says she fled because of threats and attacks following her activism against a mine owned by a Canadian company. Continue Reading →

Federal and tribal coalitions challenge Canadian mining – by Liz Weber (High Country News – July 8, 2019)

https://www.hcn.org

‘It’s about British Columbia being a really bad actor as an upstream neighbor that pollutes our water.’

The headwaters of the Stikine River begin in northern British Columbia and flow southwest in a long arching comma. The river carves through the landscape, unconcerned with international or tribal boundaries before crossing into the United States where it empties into the Eastern Passage near Wrangell, Alaska.

Yet the Stikine River is among America’s most endangered rivers, threatened by British Columbia’s upstream mining practices, according to American Rivers, a river basin advocacy group.

The river’s problems represent the decades-long struggle to put international regulations on the contaminants flowing downstream from B.C.’s open-pit hard rock and coal mines. Now, two separate coalitions of U.S. senators and tribal leaders are joining forces to once again demand action. Continue Reading →

Clean water or mining pollution for the nation’s favorite wilderness? – by Mike Dombeck (The Hill – July 8, 2019)

https://thehill.com/

When you picture wilderness, the first thing that comes to mind may be the shoreline of a clean, unpolluted lake. Which is reasonable given the protections we provide to national wilderness areas.

But that is likely to change if the Trump administration and Twin Metals Minnesota have their way. Twin Metals is a mining firm owned by Chilean conglomerate Antofagasta.

The aggressive push by the Trump administration to force approval of a sulfide-ore copper and nickel mine in northern Minnesota’s Superior National Forest will almost certainly pollute the waters of the nation’s third largest National Forest and vast Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The administration recently announced renewal of two mining leases for Twin Metals. Continue Reading →

India’s top court sides with indigenous people over illegal mining fallout – by Rina Chandran (Thomson Reuters Foundation – July 4, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

BANGKOK, July 4 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Indigenous people in an Indian state must be protected from illegal mining and the pollution it causes, the country’s top court ruled, providing a “historic” victory to tribal groups fighting for better rights over land and natural resources.

Indigenous people, who own much of the land in northeastern Meghalaya state, have full rights over the land and any resources on it, and only they can grant permission for mining after the correct permits are obtained, the Supreme Court ruled.

The state government had “entirely failed to stop illegal mining, which is the cause of degradation and pollution”, and must end illegal mining and rehabilitate the environment, it said on Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Taseko Mines seeking court injunction after First Nation members block work at Fish Lake – by Andrea Woo (Globe and Mail – July 4, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

A B.C. mining company is seeking a court injunction after its crew was blocked from beginning work this week on a controversial open-pit mine near Fish Lake, also known as Teztan Biny.

Brian Battison, vice-president of corporate affairs for Taseko Mines Ltd., said the company has no other choice but to pursue the authoritative option after members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation blockaded access to the site on Tuesday. “What else can you do but rely on the law?” Mr. Battison said Wednesday.

The roadblock was set up roughly 80 kilometres from the site of the proposed New Prosperity copper and gold mine project, southwest of Williams Lake. When Taseko crews arrived on Tuesday, members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation told them they did not have access to the site. Continue Reading →

Police Swarm Gold Rush Mountain Amid Ecuador Emergency – by Stephan Kueffner (Bloomberg News – July 2, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Before dawn Tuesday, troops escorted more than 1,000 police officers to seize a remote mountain at the center of a gold rush at illegal mines in Ecuador’s northern Andes.

As many as 10,000 people flooded the remote region known as Buenos Aires over the last two years, to illegally mine gold owned by an Australian exploration company.

The area became the scene of crimes including human trafficking, sexual exploitation, extortion, money laundering and murder, as well as severe environmental damage, Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said at a news conference in Quito. Continue Reading →

First Nation expects reprieve will be brief after blocking mining company from its territorial lands to protect sacred B.C. lake – by Jesse Winter and Wanyee Li (Toronto Star – July 3, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

TL’ESQOX FIRST NATION—It was just after 6:30 a.m. and Cecil Grinder hadn’t slept. Standing next to a smouldering fire, he watched the trucks approaching from the east.

“I tried to get a few hours sleep, but I just couldn’t,” the Tl’etinqox First Nation councillor said, explaining that he was too nervous. Seventeen-year-old Syles Laceese joined him on the tarmac.

At the junction with Farwell Canyon Road, about 40 minutes outside of Williams Lake, B.C., a white pickup and a tractor-trailer towing a bulldozer slowed to a stop at Grinder’s command amid the rolling hills and cattle ranches of Tsilhqot’in traditional territory. Continue Reading →

British Columbia: Tsilhqot’in Nation plans peaceful action to protect two sacred lakes from mining – by Brenna Owen (CBC News/Canadian Press – July 2, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/

The Taseko Mines project west of Williams Lake was approved by the province in 2010

A First Nation in British Columbia’s western Interior says its members intend to peacefully take action to protect two lakes with cultural and spiritual significance from drilling by a mining company.

According to a release from the Tsilhqot’in Nation in Williams Lake, Taseko Mines Ltd. sent a notice on June 27 indicating it would begin using heavy equipment such as logging and road-clearing equipment starting Tuesday.

The company says the drilling and related activities are an attempt to prove the lakes will not be harmed by its so-called New Prosperity Project, a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine west of Williams Lake. Continue Reading →

Protesters oppose Minnesota mine at PolyMet AGM in Toronto (CBC News – June 26, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/

Groups say Canadian-owned copper-nickel mine is threat to water flowing into Lake Superior watershed

Human rights and environmental groups protested at the PolyMet annual general meeting Wednesday over a proposed copper-nickel mine recently approved in Minnesota, about 50 kilometres from the Canadian border.

Ottawa-based PolyMet has recently obtained final state permits to move ahead with construction of the NorthMet mining complex, which would have three new open pits, waste rock heaps, and a permanent tailings waste dump on a site in the St. Louis River watershed which drains into Lake Superior.

The activists are concerned over the risk of tailings spills which could harm a sensitive watershed, kill fish and affect Indigenous wild rice beds. Representatives from Amnesty International Canada are framing it as a rights issue, pointing to the Mount Polley mine disaster in B.C. when a dam failure sent toxic tailings into a watershed used by Indigenous people. Continue Reading →

Four Corners Could See Uranium Mining Revival This Summer – by Nate Hegyi (KUER.org – June 25, 2019)

https://www.kuer.org/

The Trump administration may soon push for more uranium mining in the Colorado Plateau, arguing the mineral is critical for national security. The potential move prompted criticism from Democrats during a hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on Tuesday.

“Arbitrarily classifying uranium as a critical mineral and declaring it a matter of national security is just a way for the Trump administration to speed up new mine permitting and prop up the declining uranium mining industry,” said subcommittee chairman Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.).

In 2017, 93% of the uranium used by U.S. nuclear reactors was imported from foreign countries. In 2018, the U.S. Interior Department listed the mineral as one of 35 commodities that were deemed essential for the economic and national safety of the U.S. Continue Reading →

Peru native groups use new legal strategy to push back on oil, mining plans – by Maria Cervantes (Reuters U.K. – June 27, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LIMA (Reuters) – Indigenous groups in Peru are turning to the courts with a new legal strategy for keeping mining and oil projects off their land, racking up victories that could make it harder for companies to secure permits in the major minerals producer.

Native communities from the Peruvian Amazon and the Andes have filed at least eight lawsuits against the government since passage of the so-called “prior consultation” law in 2011, which gives them the right to weigh in on official decisions that could affect them, according to judicial documents.

The law, based on an international pact Peru signed in 1993, aimed to grant overdue rights to indigenous people and prevent deadly clashes over mining and energy projects. Continue Reading →

A photo of a dead fisherman left many questions for a Swiss-Russian mine in Guatemala – by Marion Guégan and Cécile Schilis-Gallego (Toronto Star – June 22, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

A group of fishermen from an Indigenous community in Guatemala demanded to know more about the environmental impact of a ferronickel mine established on their ancestral land. One of them was killed, and a local reporter was criminalized for covering the story.

Forbidden Stories, an international consortium of 40 journalists publishing in 30 media organizations around the world, joined forces to continue the reporter’s work. This is part of the “Green Blood” series, a project pursuing stories of journalists who have been threatened, jailed or killed while investigating environmental issues.

If it were not for a journalist taking pictures that day, some might claim that it is unclear how Carlos Maaz’s last moments unfolded. There was a cloud of tear gas, the chaos of an improvised protest, the echo of bullets and rocks flying through the crowd. Continue Reading →

Green Blood: The Guatemalans who pay the price for the west’s need for nickel – by Juliette Garside (The Guardian – June 19, 2019)

https://www.theguardian.com/

The road to Guatemala’s biggest nickel mine is barely visible through a cloud of red dust, churned up by the 25-tonne trucks that thunder past loaded with ore.

From the choking haze a cyclist emerges, weaving between the lorries. On his back he carries a bundle of firewood. Goggles protect his eyes, a bandana covers his nose and mouth.

Manuel Choc, a grandfather with greying hair, lives in the settlement of El Paraíso, almost opposite the gates of the Fenix mine. Each bundle sells for 10 quetzals (£1). It is a precarious living. Continue Reading →

Reporters investigated abuse and corruption at a Barrick gold mine in Tanzania. They faced threats and censorship – by Marion Guégan and Cécile Schilis-Gallego (Toronto Star – June 19, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

In Tanzania, reporters trying to investigate violence, environmental damage and other wrongdoing connected to a gold mine in the north of the country are trapped between the silence of a mining giant and the lies of a repressive government.

At least a dozen reporters — local and international — who wrote about the mine have been censored or threatened. Forbidden Stories, an international consortium of 40 journalists publishing in 30 media organizations around the world, unveiled the shameful history of gold leaving the North Mara gold mine to end up in coveted high tech phones and computers.

This is part of the “Green Blood” series, a project pursuing stories of journalists who have been threatened, jailed or killed while investigating environmental issues.

“Truly innovative products leave their mark on the world instead of the planet,” Apple proudly claims on its website. “We are building a better world for future generations,” says Canon’s CEO. Nokia’s “technology improves lives.” Continue Reading →

Virginia ban on uranium mining upheld by U.S. Supreme Court – by Andrew Chung (Reuters U.S. – June 17, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The largest-known U.S. uranium deposit will remain firmly under ground after the Supreme Court on Monday upheld Virginia’s ban on mining the radioactive metal, rebuffing a challenge backed by President Donald Trump’s administration to the 1982 moratorium.

In a 6-3 decision that underscored states’ rights, the justices affirmed a lower court’s ruling that threw out a lawsuit by Virginia Uranium Inc and other owners of the massive deposit valued by the company at $6 billion on private land in southern Virginia.

The company, seeking to exploit the deposit, contested Virginia’s power to enact the ban, saying the policy should have been preempted by federal law governing nuclear energy. Virginia Uranium is a subsidiary of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Virginia Energy Resources. Continue Reading →