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:


Extraction Casino: Mining companies gambling with Latin American lives and sovereignty through supranational arbitration

During the last couple of decades—and particularly during the last ten years—mining companies have filed dozens of claims against Latin American countries before international arbitration panels, demanding compensation for court decisions, public policies and other government measures that they claim reduce the value of their investments. In a majority of these cases, the communities most affected by the mining projects have been actively organizing to defend their territories and natural resources.


Submission to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources (ENEV) on Bill C-69

This is MiningWatch Canada’s submission regarding 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. Our focus is on Part 1, theImpact Assessment Act (IAA). We make the same essential arguments as we did to the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, but our recommendations are specific to the bill as amended by the House of Commons and the opportunities that the Senate now has to improve it.


State Duty to Protect Human Rights: How Canada’s Embassy Staff and Trade Commissioners Are Not Fulfilling Their Duty

This presentation was made by Catherine Coumans, Ph.D. at the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability Symposium Taking Responsibility: Canada, Business, and Human Rights held in Ottawa on April 30, 2019.

Canada has a state duty to protect human rights.

Since at least 2002, UN bodies have repeatedly and explicitly emphasized that Canada’s duty to protect extends to Canada’s obligation to protect against human rights abuses caused, or contributed to, by Canadian corporations operating overseas.   


Primer on Mine Water Pollution in Canada:  Are Waters & Fish Habitat Protected?

Following the alarming findings from the Commissioner on Environment and Sustainable Development released on April 2, 2019, MiningWatch Canada urges the federal Environment Minister to take immediate actions to beef up inspections and enforcement of the Fisheries Act to protect waters and fish from the 255 active mine sites, as well as from the thousands exploration sites and abandoned sites across the country.


Submission to the United Nations Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries

This submission is made in support of an investigation and forthcoming report by the United Nations Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries (the Working Group)  that examines the relationship between private military and security companies and extractive industry companies from a human rights perspective. Following communications with the Working Group, this submission covers issues related to excess use of force by private mine security and by police who participate in securing mines through memorandums of understanding between mine proponents and police agencies of the states hosting the mines. The sections below follow organizational and informational guidelines provided by the Working Group. 


OceanaGold in the Philippines: Ten Violations that Should Prompt Its Removal

OceanaGold Corporation, an Australian-Canadian company, is one of dozens of transnational mining companies in the Philippines that have been reaping profits by mining gold, silver, copper, and other minerals. Its underground Didipio gold and copper mine in the Northern Luzon province of Nueva Vizcaya started open-pit commercial production in 2013. It continues to operate despite a suspension order issued on February 14, 2017 by then-Philippine Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Gina Lopez.