Regional grants program announced

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead

MiningWatch Canada has initiated a small regional grants program. The goal of the program is to strengthen the capacity of people in communities affected by mining activities to assert their needs and rights. We will fund travel and exchange between community leaders and education and advocacy activities. Maximum grants are $1500. Grant applications are due January 31 and September 30 annually. The applicant must be a grassroots organization with limited funds that relies on volunteers for the majority of its work and has demonstrated the capacity to accomplish the project. We have provided funding to three projects since it started:

Minding the Mines in Northern Ontario

Sponsored by NorthWatch, this two-day workshop in November provided a starting point for citizen participation in mine monitoring and approval processes. The project introduced citizens to opportunities under provincial and federal legislation to build capacity and understanding at a local level, similar to the citizen capacity that has developed in the area of forest management planning, where the public participate in a very regular and ongoing fashion in the approvals process.

The panel, plenary and workshop sessions included:

  • developing a map of workshop participants' mining related concerns
  • information sharing around particular mine-related environmental concerns
  • a panel of experts on health, safety and workplace perspectives
  • a panel of experts on the regulatory approval processes for mineral exploration and mine development, mine operations and water quality monitoring, mine closure and remediation
  • a panel of experts on new and innovative remediation techniques and approaches

Millenium Tribute to the Uranium Ore Carriers of Denendeh

We contributed $1500 to EleRae for this important multi-media presentation about the Dene people who worked in the Eldorado uranium mines at Port Radium during the Second World War, many of them carrying on their backs the ore that would create the atom bombs to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most of them later died of radiation poisoning.

The exhibit is accompanied by a variety of activities during its showing in Yellowknife. Cindy Kenny Gilday is the exhibit's creator, and it is supported by the Dene Leadership Council. We have also been providing some support in trying to get funding support to bring the exhibit to different venues, including the Museum of Civilisation in Ottawa.

Community Mine Monitoring Program

This project of the Yukon Conservation Society aims to provide training for community members of the Yukon and northern British Columbia to learn practical hands-on skills for monitoring impacts caused by mines in the "backyard of their communities." We are helping to pay for the costs of field sampling and laboratory analysis.