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.


Post-Mount Polley: Tailings Dam Safety in British Columbia

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.


Barrick Consultant Delivers Biased Report on Inequitable Remedy Mechanism for Rape Victims

In 2015, Barrick Gold hired consulting firm Enodo Rights to carry out a review of the company's controversial remedy mechanism for victims of rape by mine personnel at the Porgera Joint Venture mine in Papua New Guinea. MiningWatch Canada has researched and exposed sexual violence and other forms of excessive use of force by Porgera mine security and police guarding the mine for a decade. Our work on these issues started years before Barrick acknowledged any abuses by mine security and continued through Barrick’s implementation of a flawed remedy mechanism for rape victims. This review critiques Enodo Rights’ report and provides an independent assessment of key failures of Barrick’s remedy framework and its implementation at the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea.


In the National Interest? Criminalization of Land and Environment Defenders in the Americas

Here in Canada and throughout the Americas, many governments have embraced resource extraction as the key sector to fuel economic growth, neglecting other sectors – or even at their expense. This is creating unprecedented demand for land and other resources, such as water and energy. Increasingly, when Indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples, farmers, environmentalists, journalists, and other concerned citizens speak out against this model for economic growth, particular projects and/or their impacts, they become the targets of threats, accusations, and smears that attempt to label and punish them as enemies of the state, opponents of development, delinquents, criminals, and terrorists. In the worst cases, this leads to physical violence and murder.


Unearthing Canadian Complicity: Excellon Resources, the Canadian Embassy and the Violation of Land and Labour Rights in Durango, Mexico

This report, based on internal documents obtained from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), concludes that Canadian diplomats in Mexico were complicit in Toronto-based Excellon Resources Inc.’s efforts to avoid redressing a violated land use contract and poor working conditions, and supported repression against a peaceful protest. The report, from MiningWatch Canada and the United Steelworkers, is based on a careful review of nearly 250 pages obtained from DFATD during a period of heightened conflict and repression from July to November 2012.