Brief: The Canadian government has created yet another poorly conceived tool to further the interests of Canadian mining companies operating abroad – the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development (CIIEID). In a presentation to the Mining Association of Canada in June 2013, former International Development Minister Julian Fantino promised industry representatives that the Institute “will be your biggest and best ambassador.”
This paper is a reflection on the Framework for Responsible Mining and examines key areas of concern and notes where the industry norms and expectations of civil society have evolved. The paper focuses on developments in social issues related to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, new initiatives associated with financial transparency, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The environmental components of the Framework that are revisited are waste management, biodiversity, energy and climate change, environmental assessment, mine closure, mercury and seabed mining.
Submission to the Government of Canada’s Review of Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian Extractive Sector
Published jointly with IndustriALL, CFMEU Australia, United Steelworkers, and Earthworks, this report examines the scope of the Responsible Jewellery Council's certification system and analyzes its components: its governance, membership, standards, auditing, and system for dealing with complaints, among others. It concludes that the certification system cannot provide consumers with meaningful reassurance about the ethical antecedents of the jewelry and minerals produced by its member companies.
Corruption, Murder and Canadian Mining in Mexico: The Case of Blackfire Exploration and the Canadian Embassy
Documents released from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) under an access to information request raise serious concerns about the conduct of the Canadian Embassy in Mexico. Throughout a conflict involving Blackfire Exploration’s mining activities in the municipality of Chicomuselo, Chiapas that saw an activist shot and ultimately triggered an RCMP investigation over corruption, it appears the Embassy provided instrumental and unconscionable support to the operations of a Canadian mining company in Mexico.
In 2006, a remote Ontario First Nation, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), said 'no' to a mining company, was sued for $10 billion, had its leaders found in contempt of court and jailed but eventually prevailed when, three years later, the Ontario government paid the company $5 million to go away. This 7-page e-book by KI's political advisor and former MiningWatch board member David Peerla tells how it all happened.
This report is a response to requests from community members, activists, and academics in Canada and abroad for information about how Canadian mining laws function. The document provides a non-technical overview of Canadian mining laws, selected ‘lessons learned’ and the outcomes of mining code reform projects. In order to keep the document accessible to a wide audience we have kept it brief but provide links to sources for more detailed information.
Presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on Bill C-38, the Budget Implementation Act
Jamie Kneen testified before a special subcommittee of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance looking specifially at section 3 of Bill C-38, the section of the budget implementation Act that repeals and replaces the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and makes serious changes to the Fisheries Act and numerous other environmental laws.
Cliffs Natural Resources is proposing to develop a large chromite deposit in a remote area of northern Ontario that has been dubbed the Ring of Fire. Recognising that chromium is a toxic metal that has never been mined in Canada, MiningWatch has conducted a literature review of environmental and human health issues associated with mining and processing the metal. The complete literature review and three summary fact sheets are available here.
Each year, mining companies dump more than 180 million tonnes of hazardous mine waste into rivers, lakes, and oceans worldwide, threatening vital bodies of water with toxic heavy metals and other chemicals poisonous to humans and wildlife, according to this report by Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada.
Environmental assessment law for a healthy, secure and sustainable Canada: a checklist for strong environmental laws
Canadians want strong environmental laws, and they deserve an environmental assessment process that delivers on core Canadian values related to the environment, democracy, and responsible development. This paper outlines our blueprint of what strong environmental assessment legislation must include, at a minimum, to protect those values and ensure wise decisions are made about proposed development through an effective, efficient, inclusive and robust decision making process. Strong environmental assessment (EA) laws should be based on and measured against the following key principles:
CIDA’s Partnership with Mining Companies Fails to Acknowledge and Address the Role of Mining in the Creation of Development Deficits
This brief was prepared for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development’s Study on the Role of the Private Sector in Achieving Canada’s International Development Interests.
Submissions to the House of Commons Environment Committee on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) 7-Year Review
MiningWatch made two submissions to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment regarding the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, when Jamie Kneen testified before the Committee on November 24, 2011, and as a supplementary written submission in response to the Standing Committee's abrupt announcement of the deadline for submissions and the end of hearings.
By James Wilkes. This study was done as a Masters thesis at Trent University and is posted here at the request of the author. Canadian environmental management involving Indigenous communities is at a crossroads. First Nation communities in regions holding mineral and other natural resources are coping with legal, economic and political pressures to comply with government and industry demands for resource extraction and exploitation.
Occupying Spaces Created by Conflict: Anthropologists, Development NGOs, Responsible Investment, and Mining
Regulators, investors, and communities are increasingly aware of the potential environmental and social harm associated with open-pit mining projects. Local-level conflict is now commonly associated with proposed and operating mines as community members struggle to protect economic and social values of importance to them, to assert the right to refuse a mine, or to advance claims on mining companies for damages. In response, mining companies seek partnerships to help them secure a so-called social licence to operate and manage risk to reputation.
This case study contends that Barrick Gold's Porgera Joint Venture Mine in Papua New Guinea is environmentally unsustainable and is severely undermining current food security, access to clean water, sustainable livelihood, and health, as well as the long-term development potential, of indigenous Ipili landowners living in the mine lease area. The mine is also eroding the sustainable development of surrounding Ipili and downstream communities. The mine is further implicated in serious human rights abuses.
Concerns with regard to the mandate and review procedure of the Office of the Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor for the Government of Canada
[Update, April 4, 2011: CSR Counsellor Marketa Evans has responded to our brief, occasioning a further response from MiningWatch expanding on some of the key issues.] The Office of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor’s mandate from the Government of Canada and its review process are similar to those of the Canadian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines and replicate many of the shortcomings of that voluntary non-judicial grievance mechanism. This brief outlines some of the main concerns.
Presentation: Canada is an important player in the global mining industry with important mineral holdings in Latin America. But the lack of an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework to hold our companies accountable for their operations abroad, means we are putting corporate rights over human rights. This presentation gives the example of Goldcorp's Marlin mine in Guatemala, with reference also to HudBay's Fénix nickel project.
Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade on the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement
Canada moves to support mining investment in Panama in the face of mounting human rights abuse by the Panamanian government and concerted opposition from Indigenous peoples, affected communities, and environmental groups. "The agreement as negotiated presents a very real risk of entrenching an ineffective and possibly irresponsible regulatory regime by protecting investments from tougher environmental or fiscal measures."