Please see update at the end of this release.
(Ottawa) In June, Canadian-based transnational mining company HudBay Minerals reached an agreement to take over Augusta Resources and its controversial Rosemont open-pit copper mine project near Tucson. The newcomer to Arizona is no stranger to controversy. MiningWatch Canada – an Ottawa-based watchdog group – reports that HudBay has a troubling track record of contamination and human rights abuses in the Canadian province of Manitoba and the Central American country of Guatemala.
HudBay has deeper pockets and greater technical depth than Augusta, which it hopes will give it an edge in advancing the Rosemont project. There remain, however, many significant regulatory and legal hurdles the company still has to overcome. During the process the company will likely point to its portfolio of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) programs and commitments including participation in the Mining Association of Canada’s “Towards Sustainable Mining” initiative as evidence of its corporate character and trustworthiness.
MiningWatch program coordinator Ramsey Hart comments, “Lawmakers, administrators, conservation groups, and citizens of Arizona should not be lulled into a false sense of security by HudBay’s CSR spin. Despite their claims, the company’s actions on the ground in Manitoba and Guatemala show a profound disrespect for the environments and communities where it operates.”
HudBay Minerals is currently being sued for negligence in Canadian courts in connection with violent crimes at its former nickel project in eastern Guatemala, including the murder of an Indigenous Mayan land rights activist by mine security guards. In Manitoba, the company has failed to adequately consult Indigenous communities; operated a dirty smelter that was Canada’s largest point source of mercury and other toxic emissions until it closed in 2010; and failed to adequately rehabilitate closed mine sites.
MiningWatch Canada is the only national independent organization with an exclusive focus on the Canadian mining sector. In monitors activities and advocates for better practices for mining in Canada and in Canadian mining companies’ international activities.
Further details about HudBay’s troubled track record are provided in the attached brief.
Ramsey Hart, Canada Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 298-4745, [email protected]
Update: July 24, 2010 - HudBay has responded to this press release and brief in a letter to MiningWatch. This letter provides additional contextual information about the operations in Manitoba and a different version of the events that occurred in Guatemala. We provide a further response to this letter here.