Old-growth area draws [mining/environmental] interest – by Laura Stricker (Sudbury Star – December 14, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

“As soon as they put the word balance on you, balance means
you’re going to get screwed … Balance means southern
Ontario rules, and let’s keep Northern Ontario pristine.
It’s hopeless. We’ve already lost so much of our land.”
(Gordon Salo, President Sudbury Prospectors and Developers

Environmentalists want to preserve it.  Miners and prospectors want to explore it. But members of both groups agree on one thing. The government isn’t doing enough to help them get what they want.

The provincial government wants to remove protections from an environmental jewel — an old-growth forest about 50 kilometres northeast of Sudbury — to open it up for further mining exploration.

Wolf Lake, a hiking and canoeing paradise in the Temagami region, has long been designated a forest reser ve by the government, which now wants to change 340 hectares around the area to be for “general use.” The Wolf Lake forest reserve was put into place in 1999, said Michael Gravelle, minister of natural resources.

“The definition of forest reserve is an area that permits mineral exploration and develo p m e nt, but doesn’t allow other industrial uses,” Gravelle said. “The intention of the forest reserve is that as mineral claims or tenure lapses … those areas can be added to protected areas.”

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NFB Film: The Hole Story – by Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie


The following is from the National Film Board of Canada Press Kit


“Don’t know much about mines? Not many people do. Mines don’t talk. Especially about their history.” Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie explore this history in their latest documentary, The Hole Story. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, the film continues in the same provocative vein as their earlier Forest Alert.

The history of mining in Canada is the story of astronomical profits made with utter disregard for the environment and human health. It’s also a corrupt and sometimes sinister story. For example, during the First World War, nickel from Sudbury was sold to the German army to make the bullets that ended up killing soldiers from Sudbury in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. In Cobalt, a town in Ontario that once had no garbage collection, people were dying of typhoid.

Meanwhile, the first Canadian mining magnates were growing filthy rich selling silver to England from the 40 mines surrounding the town.

Timmins has its own shameful mining story. In the woods,50 kilometres west of the railroad, prospectors quickly staked their claims before heading to the government office to register their hectares and take ownership of the subsoil.

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Temagami plan not a done deal as old-growth red pines at risk [from mining] – by Moira Welsh and Robert Benzie (Toronto Star – December 13, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

The plan to destroy old growth forest near Temagami is not a done deal, said the Minister of Natural Resources.

In the wake of a Star story about his ministry’s plans to remove protections for stands of 300-year-old red pine around Wolf Lake in northern Ontario, Minister Michael Gravelle said he will decide soon whether the area will be opened up for increased mining.

“I will be speaking with my officials soon about that,” Gravelle said. “There is no question that there is now an elevated interest in this issue,” he added, referring to the Star story.

The ministry wants to change the “forest reserve” designation for 340 hectares around Wolf Lake, located 50 kilometres from Temagami, to “general use,” which puts a greater focus on mining instead of forests and recreation.

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Peru declares emergency after talks fail on ending anti-mining protest – by Franklin Briceno (Toronto star – December 6, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

LIMA, PERU—President Ollanta Humala declared a 60-day state of emergency Sunday to quell increasingly violent protests over the country’s biggest investment, a highlands gold mine, by peasants who fear it will damage their water supply.

The emergency restricts civil liberties such as the right to assembly and allows arrests without warrants in four provinces of Cajamarca state that have been paralyzed for 11 days by protests against the $4.8-billion (U.S.) Conga gold-and-copper mining project. U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp. is the project’s majority owner.

Dozens have been injured in clashes between police and protesters, some of whom have vandalized Conga property. The general strike also shuttered schools and snarled transportation as protesters mounted roadblocks.

Humala said in a brief televised address Sunday night that protest leaders had shown no interest “in reaching minimal agreements to permit a return of social peace” after a day of talks in Cajamarca with Cabinet chief Salmon Lerner, who had been accompanied by military and police chiefs and was guarded by hundreds of heavily armed police.

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NEWS RELEASE: Global Witness leaves Kimberley Process, calls for diamond trade to be held accountable

5th December 2011


Global Witness today announced that it has left the Kimberley Process, the international certification scheme established to stop the trade in blood diamonds.

The Kimberley Process’s refusal to evolve and address the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny has rendered it increasingly outdated, said the group. Despite intensive efforts over many years by a coalition of NGOs, the scheme’s main flaws and loopholes have   not been fixed and most of the governments that run the scheme continue to show no interest in reform.

“Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes” said Charmian Gooch, a Founding Director of Global Witness.

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Hollywood’s Avatar Imitates Ontario Mining/Aboriginal Conflicts – by Juan Carlos Reyes

Juan Carlos Reyes is the organizer of the annual Learning Together conference and an aboriginal consultant with Efficiency.ca. He is passionate about human rights and works tirelessly to help improve the lives of Canadian aboriginal people. This column was originally published in May 2010.

There still may be a few among you who have yet to see James Cameron’s epic blockbuster Avatar.  My advice: Go see it! The movie offers an interesting vision of colonial mentality — something to which many Aboriginal people will relate. Here’s my take on it: White Americans travel to a distant planet to mine an invaluable mineral.

They hire researchers and scientists to placate the indigenous population (called the Na’vi) by socially infiltrating the community and attempting to convince them to move to more “suitable” locations. When the ruse fails, the mining company gets fed up and redefines the term “explosive climax.” The hero of the story, a white American military recruit, switches sides and helps lead the Na’vi to victory.

James Cameron has received a lot of heat over this movie. But I think that Avatar was developed brilliantly. Some reviews claim that Cameron’s idea was to portray the Black or Muslim or indigenous experience. Regardless of his motivation, the movie succeeds in its depiction of the way industrialized nations have “taken over” in many developing countries.

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