Lithium: The New Economic Dispute Promoted by the False Green Market

[Report available in Spanish only] The “Energy Transition” promoted by capitalists is a clear greenwashing attempt, and does not represent a significant departure from what the world already knows as an inseparable relationship to the mining extractivist model. The example of lithium in Mexico is a case in point.

Despite statements being made about world lithium shortages, and its unparalleled importance for the “energy transition”, world lithium production fell by nearly 20% in 2019, and in the same year, despite this fact, the slow growth of lithium demand only met 75% of the total supply. A slowing down in the sale of elec- tric vehicles (exacerbated by the removal of Chinese subsidies), as well as a reduction in the practice of stockpiling, among others, depressed production. Despite this, the primary sources of information for the industry, as well as the principle financial institutions, continue to insist that we are on the cusp of a lithium demand boom.


Analysis of the Quebrada Blanca Expansion Project Phase II

The Quebrada Blanca Phase II (QBP2) Expansion Project will require more than 4.7 billion dollars in capital investment and is financed by Japanese and Canadian  banks and finance corporations. The expansion project is an open-pit copper-molybdenum-silver mine which contemplates a life-of mine of over 25 years, with a capacity of 140,000 tonnes per day (tpd). Following construction the mine will be one of the largest mines in Chile and among the 20 largest mines in the world. It is being erected atop of the existing pit in the Tarapacá region – an area of Chile that is already saturated with large-scale mines.


Conference report: "Turning Down The Heat: Can We Mine Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis?"

In November 2019, MiningWatch Canada brought together almost 200 people — community and grassroots representatives, experts and academics, researchers and activists — to explore some of the thorny issues around the need for metals and materials for renewable energy and climate action. This is the report of that conference.


Ontario Must Assess the Impacts of Mines and Smelters Before They Are Built!

This report, written by Ontarians for a Just Accountable Mineral Strategy (OJAMS), commissioned by MiningWatch Canada and endorsed by Northwatch, Friends of the Attawapiskat River, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Greenpeace Canada, and Kebaowek First Nation, is being submitted to the Ontario government in response to  changes it made to the Environmental Assessment Act as part of the omnibus COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, Bill 197.


Canada’s National Contact Point: Long Overdue for an Overhaul

On October 7, 2020, MiningWatch submitted this brief to Global Affairs Canada with detailed recommendations for a complete overhaul of Canada’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines). This Canadian non-judicial body was set up to receive complaints filed by people from around the world who have been harmed by the activities of Canadian corporations that have breached the OECD Guidelines in their operations. The NCP's utter lack of effectiveness in handling these complaints has resulted in further deepening the harm suffered by those bringing the complaints.


Mine Waste in Canada: A Growing Liability

In June 2020, we were invited as one of the keynote speakers to a strategy session to “Re-imagine the National Orphaned and Abandoned Mine Initiative (NOAMI).” NOAMI is a multijurisdictional federal/provincial/territorial initiative which aims to provide guidance on best practices and policies to address the growing liability of mine waste sites to Canada’s Energy and Mines Minister Conference. We concluded that Canada needs a National Strategy & Action Plan with clear and ambitious goals to:

  1. Reduce mine waste generated
  2. End abandoned mine waste sites in Canada
  3. Strengthen financial assurance & enforce the polluters-pay principle
  4. Strengthen oversight of mine waste sites

Submission on United Nations Environment Assembly Resolution 4/19 on Mineral Resource Governance

On March 15, 2019, the United Nations Environment Assembly Resolution adopted resolution 4/19 on mineral resource governance. On September 16, 2020, MiningWatch Canada participated and presented in the North American consultation organized by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) on mineral resource governance. This brief represents MiningWatch’s written submission to this consultation and includes a critique of Mining Association of Canada’s voluntary Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) standard as well as the text of our presentation to the North American consultation.


Voices from the Ground: How the Global Mining Industry is Profiting from the COVID-19 Pandemic

This report provides in-depth cases to exemplify the four trends highlighted in the international open letter “Global Solidarity with Communities, Indigenous Peoples and Workers at risk from Mining Pandemic Profiteers”. These trends pose an immediate threat to the health and safety of communities and organizations that have been struggling to defend public health and their environments against the destruction and devastation of mining extractivism for decades, as well as to the safety of workers in the mining sector.


Predicting the Impacts of Mining Deep Sea Polymetallic Nodules in the Pacific Ocean: A Review of Scientific Literature

This review, from the Deep Sea Mining campaign in collaboration with MiningWatch Canada, represents an analysis of literature addressing the predicted and potential impacts of mining deep sea nodules in the Southwest, Central, and Northeast Pacific. More than 250 scientific and other articles were examined to explore what is known — and what remains unknown — about the risks of nodule mining to Pacific Ocean habitats, species, ecosystems and the people who rely on them. The report details scientifically established risks, including those related to the lack of knowledge surrounding this emerging industry.


Critique of the Government of Canada’s 2014 “Enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy: To Strengthen Canada’s Extractive Sector Abroad”

This brief was prepared for the five-year review of Canada’s 2014 “Enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy: To Strengthen Canada’s Extractive Sector Abroad (CSR Strategy).” The strategy does not ensure that the Government of Canada, through its departments, missions, and agencies upholds its obligation to protect human rights, nor does it ensure that Canadian extractive companies operating overseas respect human rights.


Metal Extraction in a Low Carbon Economy: Projected Trends in Metal Demand and Policy Options for Demand Reduction

This investigation explores the extent to which the Canadian mining sector will experience extraction demand pressures in the context of climate change and projected growth in low carbon energy. Surveying current literature on sustainable mining practices, this report aims to summarize the current state of knowledge on how low carbon energy technologies may drive changes in metals and mineral demand, and policy options that may be used to minimize resource extraction pressures and impacts on mining communities in Canada. It was prepared by Andrew Linton for the Smart Prosperity Initiative as a contribution to our international conference "Turning Down the Heat: Can We Mine our Way Out of the Climate Crisis?".


Submission to British Columbia: Groups Urge Government To Do More on Mines Act’s Enforcement & Compliance

The BC Mining Law Reform network urges the BC Government to do more on the proposed amendments to the Mines Act's enforcement and compliance regime: "While the proposed amendments do represent a step forward from over a decade of negligence in compliance and enforcement of the B.C. mining sector, they still fall short of what is truly required to protect BC’s environment and communities from ongoing mining risks and impacts." 


Submission to British Columbia Government re: Reviewable Projects Regulation

As part of the coordinated effort to reform British Columbia's mining laws, we filed this submission on the Reviewable Projects Regulation Intentions Paper as part of the new B.C. Environmental Assessment Act, along with the Northern Confluence Initiative, Fair Mining Collaborative, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, Wildsight, and the Wilderness Committee.


Why the Rush? Seabed Mining in the Pacific Ocean

This report, from the Deep Sea Mining campaign in collaboration with MiningWatch Canada and London Mining Network, looks at companies that are driving a speculative rush for seabed minerals in an unholy alliance with the very UN body charged with regulating them, the International Seabed Authority (ISA). The report exposes blatant corporate capture of the United Nations-mandated International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the manipulation of Pacific regional decision-making processes by deep sea mining companies and their backers. It calls for a moratorium on the development of deep sea mining (DSM) regulations and on the issuing of exploration and exploitation licences in international and national waters. 


Notes for UN Special Rapporteur on Hazardous Substances and Wastes

Canadian mining multinationals are causing toxic impacts on surface and ground water and on marine ecosystems in overseas countries where they operate, in part through mine waste disposal practices that are effectively illegal in Canada. This brief focusses on impacts through practices that are effectively banned in Canada through protective provisions in the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations (MDMER) that prohibit unrestricted release of tailings into fish bearing waters.


Comments on the Discussion Papers on the Proposed Project List and the Proposed Information Requirements and Time Management Regulations

MiningWatch Canada submitted these comments on the Discussion Paper on the Proposed Project List and the Discussion Paper on the Proposed Information Requirements and Time Management Regulations under the proposed Impact Assessment Act, Part 1 of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts that were published on May 1, 2019.

We conclude that: