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Blog: The Inter American Human Rights Commission – an independent office of the Organization of American States – has added its voice to a growing list of human rights bodies calling on Canada to prevent mining abuses and hold Canadian companies and state agencies responsible to account.
“Despite Canada’s assurances that there is good policy, we continue at the commission to see a number of very, very serious human rights violations occurring in the region,” said Commissioner Rose-Marie Antoine for the Inter American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) in Washington this week. Alluding to complaints the IACHR has received about serious harms to the lives, lands, water, health, living environments and livelihoods of mining-affected communities in connection with the operations of Canadian mining operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, she continued, “You have policies like...
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.]
Mount Polley - Terrasaurus
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.
Skytruth - Mount Polley
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...
Hazeltine Creek after the spill (photo by Chris Blake)
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...
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"...
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.