Blog Entry

Join MiningWatch at the World Social Forum!

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead

The World Social Forum is coming to Montreal August 9-12, with tens of thousands of people from around the world, hundreds of workshops, and dozens of major assemblies on all kinds of pressing issues, from climate changes to tax justice. Join us in the midst of the craziness to focus on predatory extractivism – the exploitation of nature for short-term profit without regard for the consequences – and what people around the world are doing to stop it, and to work together for a fair and just world.

We are hosting, sponsoring, and supporting a series of workshops, strategy sessions, and “convergence assemblies” as part of the stream “People and the Planet Before Profit! Moving away from Free Trade and Extractivism to Dismantle Corporate Power.” There's a downloadable programme for the whole stream here; but here are the sessions we are directly participating in:

People and the Planet Before Profit! 1st Strategy Session

August 9, 1:30-4:00pm, FIQ, 1234, avenue Papineau

The space “People and the Planet Before Profit !” provides an opportunity for groups and movements, that battle everywhere against extractivism and work for social justice, attack the architecture of Free Trade and Investment Agreements, challenge daily the power of corporations, and fight for climate justice, to come together to build momentum and strengthen the coordination of their front-line, direct, non violent, disturbing and anti-systemic actions to confront the neoliberal capitalist system. This First Strategy Session is a pre-FSM collective moment that aims at bringing together our visions and identifying potential streams of articulation and action so that our battles resonate, in all their diversity, towards real system change. The methodology for this first meeting will be developed collectively with all organisations that want to join the process, which includes a Second Strategy Session mid-WSF (see the program), and will culminate during an action-driven Convergence Assembly for social and climate justice.

Tailings Dam Spills in British Columbia and Brazil: Accidents or Environmental Crimes

Organized by York University’s Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC).

August 10, 9:00-11:30

Université du Québec à Montréal – Pavillon PK (Local PK-R610) 201, avenue du Président-Kennedy

In August 2015, the tailings dam at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine collapsed, resulting in a toxic spill of 24 million cubic metres of mine waste. In November 2015, an even bigger toxic spill occurred in Mariana, Brazil at the Samarco mine, a 50-50 joint venture of Brazil’s Vale and BHP. The toxic tsunami travelled the 800 km of the Rio Doce to the Atlantic. The tragedy took 19 lives, left 1200 homeless and thousands more with loss of land and livelihoods. It destroyed the Rio Doce watershed. In May, Brazilian federal prosecutors launched a US$ 58 billion lawsuit against Samarco/Vale/BHP and two state governments.

In a round-table discussion, people affected by these disasters from Mt. Polley and Mariana will compare the strikingly similar circumstances surrounding the two tragedies. Both mines were intensifying production to keep profit levels up in the post-boom markets. They were also cutting costs through lay-offs and reduced security measures. There were fewer inspections. Warnings that the tailing dam needed repairs went unheeded. Bigger dams and lower grade ores meant more mine waste, filling tailings dams beyond their engineered capacity. The mining companies in both countries were big contributors to the state/provincial political parties. Are these circumstances unique to Mt. Polley and Mariana or do they characterize a typical mine under the neoliberal world order. Industry experts themselves are noting the correlation between post-boom cycles and tailings pond incidents. Are there more “environmental crimes” like Mt. Polley and Mariana all over the globe just waiting to happen?

Chair: Judith Marshall, CERLAC


  • “Post-boom mining and the Likelihood of Future Tailings Dam Breaches – Ugo Lapointe, MiningWatch Canada
  • Tailings Dam Breach in Mt. Polley: The Struggle to Protect the Community, the Land and the Salmon –  Jacinda Mack, First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM), British Columbia
  • Tailings Dam Breach in Mariana: Defence of the Community, the Workers and the Land -  Leticia Oliveira, MAB (Movement of People Affected by Dams), Brazil
  • Mining Disasters and Public Policies in Brazil -  Beatriz Cerqueira, CUT (Central Única dos Trabalhadores), Brazil

Our Rivers and Mountains Are Not for Sale: Communities’ Struggle for Ecological Justice

Organized by Development and Peace.

August 10, 9:00-11:30am – Pavillon Hubert-Aquin (A), room A-M050, 400, Sainte-Catherine E.

All over the world, communities are resisting multinational mega projects and are proposing alternatives to protect their land.


  • Isaac Asume, Social Action, Nigeria
  • Leana Corea, Committee for the Defense and Development of the Flora and Fauna of the Gulf of Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF), Honduras
  • Lidy Nacpil, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
  • Padre Dario, Camboni Network/Justiça nos Trilhos, Brazil
  • Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada

A North-South Dialogue on Extractivism: Resistance and Alternatives

Organized by MiningWatch Canada and Kairos

August 11, 1:00-3:30pm – Université du Québec à Montréal – Pavillon A (Local A-2625) 400, rue Sainte-Catherine Est

Predatory extractivism — the exploitation of natural wealth for short-term profit without regard for its consequences — is being challenged ever more fiercely both intellectually and on the ground. Indigenous and popular movements, writers and thinkers in different parts of the world use different approaches and strategies, but the fundamental struggle for ecological, climate, and social justice is the same. This workshop will bring together reports from communities and activists on several continents, and weave them together as elements of a common struggle. It will then turn to the participants for reflections, stories, and ideas –– experiences and experiments in breaking with the consumer capitalist paradigm on a more local scale, as well as in broader movements supporting more sustainable traditions (eg. Indigenous and peasant) against predatory extractivism and working towards more sustainable development models.


  • Gloria Chicaiza, Acción Ecológica, Ecuador
  • Jacinda Mack, FNWARM – First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining, British Columbia
  • Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada, Ottawa
  • John Dillon, Kairos, Toronto

IPCM Proposal for Canada Campaign to Stop Global Harm of Canadian Mining Operations

Organized by the International People's Conference on Mining – IPCM

August 11, 1:00-3:30pm – Université du Québec à Montréal – Pavillon DE (Local DE-2560), 1440, rue Sanguinet

Convergence assembly: Gendered Impacts: Indigenous Women and Resource Extraction

Organized by KAIROS.

August 11, 4:00-6:00pm – Université du Québec à Montréal – Pavillon SB (Local SB-M230), 141, avenue du Président-Kennedy

Indigenous women from Canada and the global south offer perspectives on resource extraction that are often not heard or understood when evaluating a project’s risks and benefits or when tracking the long term social and environmental impacts. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that women are differently and disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of resource extraction including environmental contamination, gendered based violence and other social, health and environmental impacts.

This Convergence Assembly is jointly organized by KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Pauktuutit: Inuit Women’s Association of Canada, Quebec Native Women (QNW), Accion Ecologica (Ecuador) and International Peoples Conference on Mining (IPCM) in the Philippines. This event will be an opportunity to hear directly from Indigenous women leaders from Canada, the Philippines and Latin America about impacts of resource extraction on their communities and to learn about their critical role in defending collective rights and the environment. The Assembly builds on our collective work and findings on these issues which have been summarized in a series of videos produced by KAIROS.

This Convergence Assembly will be an opportunity to:

  • highlight the voices and the work of Indigenous women on the issue of resource extraction and its impacts
  • deepen understanding of the key issues and the findings,
  • strengthen and broaden the network of Indigenous women and organizations who are working on these issues
  • propose collective strategies and actions based on work in the community and these discussions.

Indigenous women and representatives of Indigenous women leaders, partners in Canada, the Philippines and Ecuador, will highlight proposals for collective action based on their work with communities. Recognizing the vast experience and expertise at the WSF, participants in the Assembly will also be invited to react to the presentations, focusing on collective strategy and action.


  • Viviane Michel, president, Femmes Autochtones du Quebec
  • A representative of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
  • Gloria Chicaiza, Acción Ecológica
  • Beverly Longid, coordinator, Indigenous Peoples Movement of Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), International People's Conference on Mining, Philippines
  • Jennifer Henry, executive director, KAIROS
  • Alma Brooks, grandmother, Maliseet Grand Council, Wabanaki Confederacy

Campaign Training: Tax Justice & the Extractive Industries

Organized by the Global Alliance for Tax Justice.

August 12, 9:00-11:30am – Université du Québec à Montréal – Pavillon PK (Local PK-1350), 201, avenue du Président-Kennedy

Join Tax Justice & the Extractive Industries campaign trainings (offered in Spanish, French, English) bringing together people from south and north. Trainings will be held all morning, followed by an afternoon forum with all three language groups to discuss common messaging, strategies and opportunities for joint action at national, regional and global levels.

Conversation café/World café « Néocolonialisme, extractivisme, violences et criminalisation des luttes sociales »

Organized by the Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine – CDHAL

August 12, 1:00-3:30pm – Université du Québec à Montréal – Pavillon D (Local D-R200), 1430, rue Saint-Denis

The World Café is a friendly and intergenerational meeting space in which to remember, to collect and to share knowledge and experiences of popular, peasant and indigenous social struggles for the defence of communities and territories.

This participatory discussion, which will be focused on issues related to the impacts of extractive megaprojects, will contribute to a better understanding and collective appropriation of the struggles and resistance movements that took place in Quebec and Latin America by defenders of the Earth and life. This will also be an opportunity to challenge and deconstruct preconceived ideas about international solidarity.

Convergence Assembly: “People and the Planet Before Profit! Moving Away from Free Trade and Extractivism to Dismantle Corporate Power”

August 12, 4:00pm (location to be announced)

The Convergence Assembly “People and the Planet Before Profit! Moving Away from Free Trade and Extractivism to Dismantle Corporate Power” aims at fostering greater articulation between groups and movements that battle everywhere against extractivism claiming for social justice, defense of territories and respect of human rights, that lead the attack against the architecture of Free Trade and Investment Agreements and their impact on public services, decent jobs and food sovereignty, which challenge daily the power of corporations and the sole logic of profit over public interest, and that fight for climate action and a just transition.

There are also a series of important related events, organized by our friends, that we encourage people to check out:

August 10, 9:00-11:30am



August 11, 9:00-11:30am

  • Tax Justice & Human Rights Forum [Global Alliance for Tax Justice] Université du Québec à Montréal – Pavillon A (Local A-2405) 400, rue Sainte-Catherine Est


August 12, 9:00-11:30am


Program for the Montreal World Social Forum 2016: “PEOPLE AND THE PLANET BEFORE PROFIT! Moving away from Free Trade and Extractivism to Dismantle Corporate Power”