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News Release

NGOs Shine Spotlight on Mining Industry Abuses: Call for An End to Business As Usual in the Mining Sector - New Website, Report

Source: 
CEE Bankwatch * Committee for the Struggle Against Gold Mining * Friends of the Earth * Mineral Policy Center * Mineral Policy Institute * MiningWatch Canada

CEE Bankwatch * Committee for the Struggle Against Gold Mining * Friends of the Earth * Mineral Policy Center * Mineral Policy Institute * MiningWatch Canada

(Bali and Washington D.C.) Today a network of community groups and non-governmental organizations (known as the "global mining campaign") launched a new website — "The Mining News" (www.globalminingcampaign.org/theminingnews.html) to chronicle the human rights, social and environmental abuses that result from modern mining practices including forced relocation, mining without community consent, the pollution of rivers with raw mining waste, and the destruction of landscapes and livelihoods. Along with the new website/newsletter, a new report "Digging Deep: Is Modern Mining Sustainable?", provides ten up-close close studies of specific mine impacts and the network also offers a way forward in a report entitled "Digging for Change: Towards a Responsible Minerals Future." The website and report were released today, in Bali, Indonesia, at the 4th and final preparatory meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg (September 2002).

The website/newsletter is designed to be a vehicle for community-based voices to chronicle the impacts of mining and their efforts to hold the industry accountable. In one case-study, in Tambogrande, Peru, the community is fighting to prevent relocation and potential destruction of agricultural resources that would result from a large open-pit gold mine. In another, Tabubil, Papua New Guinea, the community is faced with the impact of current mining practices, the destruction of a river and vast forested areas with mine pollution. And in Montana, at the Zortman-Landusky mine tribal communities are faced with the aftermath of modern mining, polluted water, massive waste dumps, and a mining company that has gone bankrupts, leaving tens of millions of dollars in unfunded cleanup costs.

Each case study is written from the perspective of the local community or local or regional NGO.

"We are releasing this report at Prepcom IV, because its time for governments to act, industry pledges simply will not be enough. Today we call on governments to make a commitment to guarantee fundamental human, indigenous and environmental rights, and to put an end to practices that allow the mining industry, today, to externalize risks and costs to governments and society" said Geoff Evans of the Mineral Policy Institute in Sydney, Australia.

"Two weeks ago, despite years of research and meetings, millions of dollars spent, and a 500-page report with chapters full of analysis and recommendations, mining industry leaders at a 'sustainability' conference in Toronto, failed to act," said Stephen D'Esposito, President of Mineral Policy Center. "Today, we call on governments to act for them. Tomorrow, we will begin a process of calling on investors, purchasers and consumers to create pressure and incentives for responsible action," he continued.

"Today, frustrated by industry inaction, communities across the world began taking matters into their own hands," said Maria Kadoglou of the Greek group Committee for the Struggle Against Gold Mining. "The mining industry often tells communities what they want to hear, before mining begins. Until industry practices what it preaches, and then some, communities will fight mines."

The global mining campaign is a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community based organizations and activists from around the world that work together through collaborative initiatives and individual actions to hold mining companies accountable for their performance on human rights, cultural rights, economic, and social issues.

For more information: Stephen d'Esposito, MPC, 202-887-1872x203