MiningWatch 20th
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Blog Entry

MiningWatch Canada Personnel

The MiningWatch Canada national office staff consists of a Canada Program Coordinator, a Communications Coordinator, an Outreach Coordinator, a Research Coordinator, a Latin America Program Coordinator, and a Resource Development and Administrative Coordinator.

Our newest addition, Communications Coordinator Valerie Croft works to make sure that our communications are as effective as possible in support of our campaigns and our partners' struggles. Val brings over a decade of experience accompanying communities resisting Canadian mining projects, amplifying their voices through strategic advocacy and communications campaigns. After living in Guatemala for several years, she returned to Canada in 2017 to work alongside grassroots and civil society organizations pushing for greater corporate accountability in Canada. With a background in journalism and political science, Val focuses on story-based strategy as a way to support community self-determination. She has a strong personal interest in urban agriculture and sharing food as a way to strengthen movements for social change.

Our Canada Program Coordinator Ugo Lapointe focusses on Canadian provincial and territorial mining policy development, review of individual mining projects through environmental assessments, and provides technical and logistical support to communities affected by mineral exploration and mining projects. He also conducts research about domestic mining issues, in particular waste management, the impacts of mining on aquatic ecosystems and mining and Indigenous rights.

Research Co-ordinator Catherine Coumans provides expert support for MiningWatch’s research and publications. She has written reports and academic articles on mining since conducting her Ph.D. research in the Philippines (1988-1990). Catherine also monitors national and international government and industry initiatives, supporting participation of MiningWatch members and partners in consultations and negotiations, and preparing and/or co-ordinating written briefs and submissions. Her community-level human rights work and work with Indigenous peoples affected by Canadian mining companies is focused on the Asia-Pacific region.

Latin America Program Coordinator Kirsten Francescone works with communities, organizations, and networks struggling with mining issues throughout Latin America. She brings a strong commitment to social justice and comes to us with many years of experience working with activists, networks, and decision-makers in Canada and internationally, including several years living in Bolivia. She is on maternity leave until March, 2022.

Viviana Herrera Vargas has joined our staff as Latin America Program Coordinator for one year, replacing Kirsten Francescone while she is on maternity leave. Viviana’s work has focused on the intersection of human rights and the extractive sector in Latin America. She has a master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Montreal, and spent three years in Bolivia working on the socio-environmental impacts of large-scale mega-dam projects on Indigenous and peasant communities and ecosystems in the Amazon. 

Outreach Coordinator Jamie Kneen leads MiningWatch’s social media and public engagement work as well as strategic research and communications. His responsibilities also include the organisation’s research and advocacy in Africa and, until recently, Latin America, as well as on uranium mining and environmental assessment policy and practice in Canada. With a degree in Biology (ecology) from McGill University, Jamie has been involved with environmental and resource management issues, including mining, and mostly related to indigenous land rights, for many years.

Resource Development and Administrative Coordinator Diana Martin leads the development and operations of MiningWatch's fundraising program. Her work includes coordinating relationships with individual and institutional donors and supporters, overseeing grant opportunities with current and prospective funders, providing financial management, and working with the Board of Directors’ fundraising and governance committees. She has worked in the non-profit sector since 2010 and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Val CroftUgo LapointeCatherine CoumansKirsten FrancesconeViviana Herrera V.Jamie KneenDiana Martin