OECD Peer Review of the Canadian National Contact Point on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

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.


A New Mineral Resources Act for the Northwest Territories

In response to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT)'s request for public input for the development of a new Mineral Resources Act (MRA), MiningWatch Canada submitted key recommendations that would help better protect northern communities and the environment, while also increasing the long-term benefits from the extraction of non-renewable minerals. These recommendations also aim to reduce mining-related conflicts and increase predictability for all of those involved in, or affected by, the sector. We divide our recommendations in three sections:


Comments on the Government of Canada Discussion Paper on the Review of Environmental and Regulatory Processes

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.


Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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.


Anger Boils Over at North Mara Mine – Barrick/Acacia Leave Human Rights Abuses Unaddressed

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.


Submission to BC Ministry of Environment re: Mount Polley Permit Application for Long Term Water Discharge into Quesnel Lake

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 Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities on its Study of the Navigation Protection Act

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.


Submission to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans on its Review of Changes to the Fisheries Act

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.


“Canada Is Back” But Still Far Behind

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 mechanism.” The report concludes that the NCP, established in 2000 to advance responsible multinational business conduct, is failing to prevent or remedy human rights abuse by Canadian companies operating overseas.


The Future of Canada’s Mining Sector - Submission To Federal Standing Committee on Natural Resources

MiningWatch was invited to present to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources as part of its 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, policies and fiscal incentives to encourage certain practices and technologies while banning or penalizing others (eg. asbestos). We also insisted on 4) the need to respect and affirm the inherent, constitutional and international rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Guest Publication

Protecting Your Community from Mining and Other Extractive Industries

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.


Report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

The Canadian government is not upholding its obligations to protect women against human rights abuses, according to this report by EarthRights International (ERI), MiningWatch Canada, and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre Human Rights Clinic at the University of Ottawa. The report, submitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), charges that Canada has been supporting and financing mining companies involved in discrimination, rape, and violence against women in their operations abroad, when it should be holding those companies accountable for the abuse.


Submission for BC's Mining Code Review

In the context of the ongoing review of BC’s Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines (the Code), MiningWatch Canada respectfully reiterates its recommendations set forth on day one of this review: “that the review needs to be broad enough to address the full range of necessary changes in mining policies and regulations in British-Columbia,” including, but not limited to:


Joint Comments to US SEC re Mining Disclosure Proposed Rule

MiningWatch Canada has joined 22 other groups in submitting these comments to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission's draft disclosure requirements. These comments cover two areas of interest affecting the financial viability of mining projects: technical disclosures of mineral reserves and estimates, and social and environmental risks associated with new mine projects and mine expansions. Generally, we are supportive of the technical disclosure requirements we believe represent a major step forward in the accuracy and level of detail during the exploration and investment phase of a mining project.


Submission to Canada’s International Assistance Review

In this submission to the Canadian government’s review of its official development assistance policy, we make a number of recommendations, starting with "Global Affairs Canada should reconsider its stated intention to “better align” Canadian diplomacy, trade and international assistance. In recent years, as Canadian official development assistance was shackled to Canadian trade and economic diplomacy, it became subservient to corporate interests – frequently those of mining companies – at the cost of the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples and affected communities."


Mining in a State of Impunity: Coerced Negotiations and Forced Displacement by Aura Minerals in Western Honduras

This report outlines the continuing struggle of the Honduran community of Azacualpa to defend the integrity of the town, including a 200-year old cemetery, against the expansion of a Canadian-owned open-pit gold mine. The report, published by MiningWatch Canada and the Honduras Solidarity Network, documents how the Canadian mining companies that have operated the San Andrés mine in western Honduras have continually violated the affected communities land rights and communally-held land tenure for the last 18 years.


Report - Mining, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Conflict: OceanaGold and the El Dorado Foundation in El Salvador

This report documents the current activities of the El Dorado Foundation in El Salvador and the dangers they pose. The Foundation was originally established by Pacific Rim Mining in 2005, and is now operated by its successor company, OceanaGold. Its sole purpose appears to be to help the company obtain a permit for a disputed gold mining project in the department of Cabañas in northeastern El Salvador.