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Presentation: Through its acts and omissions, the Canadian government plays a central role in enabling Canadian mining companies in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as tolerating and contributing to the systematic rights violations taking place.
[ Update: As of November 6, 2014, the Government of the Northwest Territories accepted Dominion Diamonds' financial assurance for the Ekati mine. However, it came in the form of surety bonds - not, as is required in many jurisdictions, an irrevocable letter of credit - and therefore may not provide the same level of security.]
As we wait for the conclusion of the technical review and criminal investigations, information revealed by various media investigations and disclosures by the BC government show that there were a number of warnings and red flags raised about the Mount Polley mine's tailings impoundment in recent years. Whether the issues identified in the past are directly related to the spill or not, the BC government's response to them tells us a lot about how the supervision of mining sites works in BC.
Mr. Kevin McArthur, the CEO of Tahoe Resources who came out of retirement after leaving Goldcorp in 2008 to develop the Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala, has been summoned by a District Attorney’s office in Guatemala. He has been called to testify about the company’s tactics to put down opposition to the Escobal mine, such as through framing leaders on false or trumped up charges. We developed this cheat sheet, just in case Mr. McArthur's been busy and not paying close attention to dynamics on the ground around his company's only project.
It has been two months since the massive tailings spill occurred at the Mount Polley mine in the interior of British Columbia and we are all still trying to understand what its impact will be and how the mess will get cleaned up. This post provides an update on the spill, what is known about the impacts so far and an overview of the actions taken to address the spill, including company and BC government reactions. The information for this post was gleaned from media reports, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) Mount Polley Incident Page and the Imperial Metals website , supplemented with...
Imperial MetalsCanadaBritish ColumbiaWaste Rock and TailingsEnvironmentImpact on CommunitiesToxics/NPRIWater and fisheries
On August 5, approximately 10 billion litres of wastewater and 5 billion litres of solid tailings waste escaped the impoundment at Imperial Metals ’ Mount Polley mine in the interior of British Columbia. The creek that received the brunt of the flow was completely obliterated, some of the waste backed up into Polley Lake and some the wastes and debris from the torrent continued downstream into Quesnel Lake. A local state of emergency was called and a precautionary ban was put on using surface and groundwater in the area. The following is our effort to synthesize the many reports and...
Imperial MetalsBritish ColumbiaWaste Rock and TailingsEnvironmentGoldImpact on CommunitiesToxics/NPRIWater and fisheries
On July 17 MiningWatch received a response from mining company HudBay to our July 10, 2014, news release and brief: Canadian Mining Watchdog Warns Arizonans of HudBay Minerals’ Poor Track Record on Pollution and Human Rights . In its letter ( available here ) HudBay provides additional contextual information regarding the concerns we raise about its Manitoba operations and disputes the facts we presented about the violence at the company's former operation in Guatemala. We find HudBay's version of events in Guatemala to be unsubstantiated. Hudbay's story of "extraordinary restraint"...
HudBay MineralsCanadaManitobaGuatemalaEnvironmentFree Entry/Land AccessImpact on CommunitiesIndigenous RightsToxics/NPRI
Last week the Minister of the Environment, Leona Aglukkaq bent to the desire of BC to go it alone on the environmental assessment of another major resource development project – in this case, the proposed Ruddock Creek Lead and Zinc Mine.
Late last week the Supreme Court of Canada released another important Aboriginal rights decision regarding the Grassy Narrows case. Like the Tsilhqot'in decision a few weeks back the Grassy case was prompted by the threats and impacts of extensive commercial logging on traditional indigenous territories. Grassy Narrows was joined in the action by Wabauskang First Nation which has experienced logging as well as extensive mining developments in their traditional territory.
There was no doubt that the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement would be rushed through the Senate and receive Royal Assent before parliament recessed in June. Five years ago, however, – before then-Honduran President Mel Zelaya’s back door was shot open and he was flown to Costa Rica in his pyjamas in a military-backed coup – such a trade pact was not so sure.