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As a preamble to our comments on the proposed amendments to the Metal Mining Liquid Effluent Regulation under the Fisheries Act, I would like to convey our appreciation for the many years of work that you and your colleagues in Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have invested in the review and modernization of this regulation. It has been a demanding exercise for the many parties involved, but I expect for none more than for you and your department. You are to be commended for having kept the process in forward motion, and for having now reached this important...
The CEN Mining Caucus and AQUAMIN Reference Group participants to the MMLER review process rooted their recommendations on how to modernize the MMLERs on principles that they outlined in comments to Environment Canada in 1999 (March 1999; June 1999). These principles have already been recognized as being key to protecting environmental and human health in precursor processes, such as AQUAMIN, and in the Whitehorse Mining Initiative.
Is it good enough to protect the health of Canadians, or our fish, wildlife, and water? Ten years ago, Environment Canada set out to strengthen and update the regulation for mine effluent. Pollution from mines can harm the environment generally, especially for the people and communities that depend on surface and ground water sources and on fish and wildlife for food. A review of the 1977 regulation was undertaken through a series of extensive consultations involving the mining industry, aboriginal and environmental organizations, and federal, provincial, and territorial government agencies. The new Metal Mining Effluent Regulation was released by Environment Canada on 28 July, 2001. ENGO participants in the process are satisfied with some aspects of the new regulation, but remain concerned that it doesn't go far enough to protect aquatic resources. These comments are a summary of comments expressed by some member groups (see list below) of the Mining Caucus of the Canadian Environmental Network.
Increasingly, international organisations such as the OECD, national policy makers and the public are engaging in a pressing debate about the need to promote more sustainable forms of production and consumption. This debate involves questions about the economic value of the environment and the most sustainable use of land and water. It raises questions about social sustainability, how economic activities impact the health and well-being of individuals and communities. This debate informs policy discussions about improving resource conservation, removing perverse subsidies that promote unsustainable economic practices, the role of subsidies in international trade, environmental tax shifting, and rethinking "distorting methods of calculating national wealth that largely dismiss resource wealth and ecological goods and services."
In 1977, the Metal Mining Liquid Effluent Regulations (MMLER) were promulgated under the Fisheries Act. In 1990, the Government of Canada announced its intention to update and strengthen the MMLER in its Green Plan, and the Aquatic Effects of Mining (AQUAMIN) process was established to review the aquatic effects of mining in Canada and make recommendations on improved regulations. In 1996, the results of a multi-stakeholder review of the Regulations were released in a report entitled "AQUAMIN: Assessment of the Aquatic Effects of Mining in Canada." A multi-stakeholder advisory process was...
The Curse of El Dorado has been made on behalf of SINTRAMINERCOL, the miners union in Colombia. It is an extremely powerful 35 minute video that captures the essence of what is happening in Colombia, the dispossession of the common people. The scene is the beautiful San Lucas mountain range in the south of Bolivar, where gold has been mined from pre- Conquest days. A new generation of miners, mostly peasants displaced by violence from other parts of the country, have settled in this remote area. Using hand tools, noxious chemicals and their own back breaking labour the worker-proprietors dig...
[Report by MiningWatch Canada and the Sierra Club of Canada] Unlike most developed countries, Canada has no national program to deal with contaminated sites. Abandoned mines and tailings ponds create toxic nightmares, contaminating rivers, lakes and surrounding lands. Local communities are left to deal with the toxic legacy, or, frequently, to cope and live with the contamination and its impacts on their health and the health of their children. Recent increases in imports of hazardous waste from our trading partners, paired with Canada's inability to deal with existing waste properly increase the urgency for developing an effective national program to deal with the problem.
No one was thinking about the small Mayan community of San Andrés Minas, in Honduras, when political and business “leaders” met in Québec City, April 2001, to discuss the FTAA - “Free” Trade Agreement of the Americas. No one considered the community devastation wrought by Greenstone, a Canadian gold mining company, when it forcibly relocated the community of San Andrés. No one gave second thought to the destruction of San Andres' one hundred year old church. Not one “elected” leader protested the deforestation of surrounding mountainsides. No one cared that Greenstone illegally discharged pollutants into the Lara River. Not a single business leader spoke up to denounce increasing respiratory and other illnesses.
by a social researcher living in Colombia On March 12, 2001 the President and Vice-President of the union local representing workers at the Drummond mine at La Loma, Cesar, Colombia, were murdered after several months of conflict between the union and the company. The interview below was conducted in early May with a member of the union executive of the El Paso Local of Sintramienergética, representing the workers at the La Loma coal mine, owned and operated by Drummond, an American mining company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. Sintramienergética also represents other workers...
People from Southeast Asia and the Pacific region came together in Manado, Indonesia from April 23-30, 2001, with others from the home countries of transnational mining companies, to discuss the issue of the ocean dumping of mine waste, known as Submarine Tailings Disposal. We believe that Submarine Tailings Disposal is dangerous to the marine environment and to communities that live in the affected areas. At this conference we heard about the environmental and social impacts of Submarine Tailings Disposal in many locations at Marinduque in the Philippines, at Minahasa and Batu Hijau in...