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By: David Chambers, Ph.D., P. Geop. This report assesses the tailings dam designs at four mines in B.C. in light of the recommendations of the Mount Polley Expert Panel to examine whether regulatory agencies are applying best available technology to reduce the risk of catastrophic tailings dam failures, and where they aren’t, if changes could be made to do so.
On May 16, 2018, MiningWatch Canada and OECD Watch issued a media release to draw attention to an attempt by the Government of Canada to cover up its mishandling of a complaint through Canada’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises . The Request for Review in question, titled “ Complaint against the Sakto Group, Ottawa” was filed with Canada’s NCP in January 2016 by the not-for-profit Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) of Switzerland. The complaint alleges that the Sakto Group, with corporations headquartered in Ottawa, breached disclosure requirements of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, a guide to responsible business conduct that is binding on Canada and other members of the OECD.
In January 2018, Acacia Mining released a draft Standard Operating Procedure for a new Community Grievance Process for the North Mara Gold Mine in Tarime, Tanzania. This review of Acacia/Barrick’s new draft Grievance Process is informed by field assessments carried out yearly at the North Mara mine by MiningWatch Canada in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Bill C-69 brings both promise and disappointment. Overall, however, it does not fulfil the government’s promise of restoring public confidence, and therefore also cannot fulfil the promise of facilitating good development projects. In some respects, it represents a failure of ambition, where a stronger commitment and stronger leadership are required to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In other respects, it is just a matter of design flaws and limitations of implementation. At this juncture, it may be too late to address the bigger structural problems, but Parliament has the opportunity to fix many of the Bill’s deficiencies.
On February 8, 2018, the federal government tabled Bill C-69, which introduces a proposed new Impact Assessment Act (IAA) to replace the current Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). Bill C-69 follows more than 18 months of consultation and discussion of Canada’s environmental assessment (EA) processes, and is claimed to fulfill the government’s commitment to introduce new, fair processes to ensure decisions are based on science and Indigenous knowledge, and win back public trust. How does the proposed new IAA measure up?
Over 40 organizations and individuals, including MiningWatch Canada, submitted comments and recommendations in response to the Proposed Prohibition of Asbestos and Asbestos Products Regulations and Proposed Amendment to the Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), 1999.
This report examines the Hunter Dickinson family of companies, their track records and current situations, and the implications for the prospects of Northern Dynasty Mining, the company promoting the controversial Pebble mine project in Alaska’s sensitive Bristol Bay. The report labels Northern Dynasty as a highly risky speculative investment, calling its risk levels “unprecedented even among other junior mining companies.”
As part of the OECD Peer Review of the Canadian National Contact Point on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, MiningWatch was asked to submit a general questionnaire, as well as to participate in a review of the Porgera Specific Instance (2011), in which we were a notifier. This questionnaire answers general questions. Under section B. (Specific Instances) we discuss the Porgera case in more detail. Finally, Appendix 1 provides further detail regarding specific concerns related to the Canadian NCPs handling of ten Specific Instance cases.
This is MiningWatch Canada’s submission in response to the federal government’s Discussion Paper on its reviews of environmental and regulatory processes, including the review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, the National Energy Board Act, the Fisheries Act , and the Navigation Protection Act. Our focus here is on the environmental assessment portion of the Discussion Paper; we refer readers to our submissions to the Parliamentary reviews of the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act for our comments on those reviews.
On August 14, 2017, Canada appeared before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to defend its record on protecting the rights of minority groups. EarthRights International , MiningWatch Canada, and the University of Toronto International Human Rights Program issued this report calling on the CERD to denounce Canada’s ongoing failure to prevent Canadian mining and petroleum companies violating human rights – and especially the rights of Indigenous peoples – abroad.
This is a report of MiningWatch Canada's human rights field assessment of Acacia Mining/Barrick Gold's North Mara mine in northwest Tanzania, conducted by staff member Catherine Coumans. This was the fourth consecutive year Coumans had conducted human rights field assessments around the mine interviewing over a 100 victims and family members of victims of excess use of force, including sexual violence, by mine security and police guarding the mine.
Members of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights visited Ottawa as part of their May 23-June 1 mission to Canada . This is part of what they heard. The UN Guiding Principles advise that: “To make it possible for grievances to be addressed early and remediated directly, business enterprises should establish or participate in effective operational-level grievance mechanisms for individuals and communities who may be adversely impacted.” The Guiding Principles provide Effectiveness Criteria for these operational-level grievance mechanisms). Research conducted over several
This document was prepared to help members of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights prepare for their May 23-June 1 mission to Canada . It proposes discussion in six areas: Access to remedy (non-judicial) – Issues related to access to non-judicial remedy as it pertains to Canada’s mining sector’s activities overseas, in particular in regard to: inadequacies of state-based non-judicial mechanisms; flawed use of Operational-Level Grievance Mechanisms. Access to remedy (judicial) – Issues related to access to legal remedy as it pertains to Canada’s mining sector’s
MiningWatch Canada is very concerned about Mount Polley Mining Corporation’s (MPMC's) application for a long-term permit to discharge not-fully treated mine waste water into Quesnel Lake. We recommend that the BC Ministry of Environment (MOE): 1. reject this permit application and require MPMC to propose…
Submission to the Expert Panel Reviewing Environmental Assessment Processes Based on our work, we would like to focus on four areas within the collective recommendations of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Caucus, the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee (MIAC), and the EA Reform Summit. The need to extend assessment beyond biophysical impacts to look at sustainability more inclusively and holistically, including economic, social, and cultural aspects that are currently excluded – or applied as decision-making criteria without having been subject to review and public scrutiny; this has
This submission focuses on the critical relationship between the protection of navigable waterways and protection of the environment, specifically through the environmental assessment of projects and activities that may harm those waterways. The Navigation Protection Act should be amended to turn it back into the Navigable Waters Protection Act , with the full scope of application of that Act, but with clear direction on the appropriate level of scrutiny for projects and activities of different types, magnitudes, and durations.
The Fisheries Act is a keystone law in Canada’s legislative framework for protecting the environment and allowing the pursuit of sustainable development. Far beyond simply regulating fisheries, it can, and should, protect all aspects of aquatic habitat. In so doing, because water is so fundamental to all ecological cycles as well as human survival and well-being, the Fisheries Act provides a crucial link to everything from environmental assessment to protecting human health. We would submit that changes to the Fisheries Act need to be made in three key areas: 1. Restore the strong prohibition
An Assessment of Canada’s National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises “ Canada Is Back” But Still Far Behind , reviews how complaints of serious harm linked to Canadian mining projects have been handled by the country’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines. The office aims to resolve disputes through “facilitated dialogue,” which requires companies’ voluntary participation. The Canadian government relies on the NCP as a central component of its Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy and describes it as a “robust and proven dispute resolution
MiningWatch was invited to present to the Federal Standing Committee on Natural Resources (Gov. of Canada) as part of their study on “The Future of Canada’s Oil and Gas, Mining and Nuclear Sectors”. In our presentation, we emphasized our concerns with the growing environmental and financial liability of tailings sites across Canada. We made three key recommendations to eliminate this growing liability: 1) Develop a national strategy to reduce the mining of primary metals, 2) establish substantial and mandatory financial securities for site clean-up and mining spills, and 3) use regulations,
This is a how-to guide for resisting mining and other extractive operations. It provides strategies and tactics for preventing extraction, and for reducing damage if extraction is already underway. It guides community leaders in organizing and taking action locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, to resist the devastating assault of extractive operations. This is a greatly expanded version, in two volumes, of the first edition published in 2009. The guide can be downloaded and printed, or used online. The URLs and email addresses are active and can be opened by clicking on them.

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