Blog Entries

Friday, August 8, 2014

On August 5, approximately 10 billion litres of wastewater and 5 billion litres of solid tailings waste escaped the impoundment at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine in the interior of British Columbia. This is our effort to synthesize the many reports and commentaries that have come out during the first four days following the spill, and to answer some of the questions we’ve been getting from media and the public.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Last week the Minister of the Environment, Leona Aglukkaq bent to the desire of BC to go it alone on the environmental assessment of another major resource development project – in this case, the proposed Ruddock Creek Lead and Zinc Mine.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Late last week the Supreme Court of Canada released another important Aboriginal rights decision regarding the Grassy Narrows case. Like the Tsilhqot'in decision a few weeks back the Grassy case was prompted by the threats and impacts of extensive commercial logging on traditional indigenous territories. Grassy Narrows was joined in the action by Wabauskang First Nation which has experienced logging as well as extensive mining developments in their traditional territory.

Monday, July 14, 2014

There was no doubt that the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement would be rushed through the Senate and receive Royal Assent before parliament recessed in June. Five years ago, however, – before then-Honduran President Mel Zelaya’s back door was shot open and he was flown to Costa Rica in his pyjamas in a military-backed coup – such a trade pact was not so sure.

Monday, July 7, 2014

(Updated) Last week, Guatemalan authorities informed two Peace Brigades International (PBI) volunteers that their temporary residence permits were cancelled and that they had ten days to leave the country. Both volunteers witnessed a violent eviction on May 23rd at 'La Puya' - just north of Guatemala City-, where US-based Kappes, Cassidy & Associates and Vancouver-based Radius Gold are trying to develop the El Tambor mine project.

Monday, July 7, 2014

On June 26, the Supreme Court of Canada released a much-anticipated decision in the Roger William Case, officially cited as Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia. The core issue in the case is the extent and nature of “Aboriginal title,” or, loosely put, “ownership” over a traditional territory.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

By act and by omission, the Canadian state has been found guilty for its role in human rights violations in Latin America as a result of its efforts to spur, sponsor, and protect Canadian mining investments abroad, along with five Canadian mining companies.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The federal government is engaged in a review of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy for the international operations of the Canadian extractive sector. As part of this review, MiningWatch was invited to participate in a civil society roundtable consultation hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), as well as in an in-depth interview by the Department’s Office of Audit, Evaluation and Inspection; both meetings were in December 2013.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On May 14th, Development and Peace and other members of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) came together with supporters on Parliament Hill to call for the creation of an impartial and independent Ombudsman to hear complaints from people who have been harmed by the activities of Canadian extractive companies operating internationally. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Like moths to a flame, Ontario’s political leaders have been circling the potential mining developments known as the Ring of Fire during the 2014 election campaign. Advancing development in the area received ink in the Liberal, NDP, and PC platforms and was a focal point of yesterday's northern leaders debate.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Canadian Business Magazine illustration by Owen Freeman

Last week saw a sensational headline in Canadian Business Magazine: The slaves of Eritrea: Canadian mining company Nevsun has been accused of using forced labour to build a mine in Eritrea. How could something like that happen in the modern business world? The news wasn’t so much the allegations, now a couple of years old, that contractors at Nevsun Resources’ Bisha gold-copper mine in Eritrea had used forced labour, under inhumane conditions. It was that the Canadian government’s response to those allegations, exposed through an Access to Information request, was to worry about the company’s public reputation – not any actual abuse of workers.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blog Entry: On Thursday, April 9th, the negotiating team for the Ejido Carrizalillo in Guerrero, Mexico, published a response to Goldcorp’s Vice President for Mexican Operations, Horacio Bruna. The team chastises the company directors in Mexico for treating them with disrespect and their proposal with contempt.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Goldcorp’s announcement Wednesday that it suspended operations at its Los Filos mine is a belated and misleading admission. The mine did not stop operating on the company's volition.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Even before former guerrilla commander Salvador Sánchez Cerén is inaugurated as President of El Salvador, his administration is saddled with an unnecessary $301-million liability -- a lawsuit over El Salvador's refusal to allow an environmentally perilous gold mine to be built.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Communiqué: Mexican organizations and communities have issued a searing public statement to the heads of state of Canada, the US and Mexico who will meet in Toluca, Mexico on February 19th. The declaration expresses opposition to the free trade framework and related policies that further entrench the interests of extractive industry, while communities continue to suffer the harms of their operations without redress or respect for their right to self-determination.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

At MiningWatch we live and breathe news about mining. But what’s good news for companies and their investors may be bad news for affected communities and anyone concerned about issues like human rights, the environment, economic justice, government accountability…(the list is long). We have to give ourselves a slap up the head every once in a while and face the fact that mining controversies are not yet household issues.

Monday, January 27, 2014

How is it that when community leaders are wrongfully targeted in the aftermath of violence connected with Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine they spend months in jail, while the company’s former head of security who faces criminal charges for his alleged role in the violence last April is first given house arrest and then allowed to avoid prison by arguing that he is sick?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The December 6 commentary in the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business by David Parkinson (Ring of Fire could get burned by heavy-handed tax regime - subscription required) rightly draws attention to the low tax rate applied to mining in Ontario. However, Parkinson is entirely off the mark in concluding that we ought not follow Quebec’s example of implementing modest increases in our tax rates because Quebec has scared away exploration companies.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Since the mid-2000s the global mining industry, led by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) in London, has been engaged in a re-branding exercise: marketing itself to the world as a vehicle for development, against overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Friday, November 29, 2013

In the days and weeks ahead, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake are going to be standing up to the Quebec government over the Ministry of Natural Resource's intransigent refusal to respect past commitments to cooperate with the community in the management of the forests within the community's traditional territory.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Communities affected by First Quantum Minerals’ massive Sentinel copper mine project in Northwest Zambia have been resisting the project for more than three years.

Friday, November 29, 2013

In our June newsletter, we wrote about the ongoing abuse of the human rights of victims of rape by security guards at Barrick Gold’s Porgera Joint Venture mine in Papua New Guinea (95% owned, operated by Barrick).

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor (CSR Counsellor) was announced with much government fanfare in October 2009 as a central “pillar” in the government’s “CSR strategy” for Canada’s extractive sector. The CSR Counsellor was to provide remedy for people who had been harmed by the overseas operations of Canadian extractive companies by mediating disputes.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The 149th Session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington DC this Friday will hear from delegates from Colombia, Honduras, Peru, Chile and Brazil about the negative impacts of Canadian mining activities in the region, highlighting the Canadian government’s role.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest blog by Kevin O’Reilly, Alternatives North, Yellowknife: The Giant Mine operated at the edge of the city of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, from 1948 to 2004. As the gold-bearing ore was processed, the mine generated a toxic by-product, arsenic trioxide – a proven non-threshold carcinogen. For the first three years of operations, the arsenic trioxide went straight up the stack and then came down on the surrounding land and water, killing at least one Dene child and local milk cows. The family of the dead child received $750 as compensation.

Friday, October 18, 2013

In the Philippines, the island province of Marinduque is known as a cautionary tale about the ravages of irresponsible mining. It took Canadian mining giant Placer Dome a couple of decades to wreak environmental destruction on major coral reefs in Calancan Bay and to severely contaminate the Mogpog and Boac Rivers with toxic mine waste – none of which has ever been cleaned up. The ongoing environmental impacts are only part of the story.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

News that the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has been spying on Brazil’s Mines Ministry starts to expose the extent to which the Canadian government is willing to go in the corporate interest. The scandal in Brazil is consistent with what Canadian authorities have been doing at home and through the diplomatic corps around the world, but goes a step further. It demonstrates that, beyond political and commercial support, the Canadian government is willing to even jeopardize important trade relationships to give the Canadian industry an upper hand.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Late last week, the Ross River Dena First Nation learned that the Supreme Court of Canada would not hear the Yukon Government’s appeal of an earlier decision that sharply rebuked the territory’s free entry mineral staking regime. This means the earlier decision of the Yukon Court of Appeal stands.

Monday, September 9, 2013

In the final days of the federal environmental assessment hearings for the hotly contested “New Prosperity” gold-copper mine project, proponent Taseko Mines attempted to discredit the overwhelming opposition to the project by Tŝilhqot’in and Secwepemc people and by many non-First Nation people from the Cariboo-Chilcotin region. In its final submissions and since then in the media, the company has made claims about organized “misinformation” campaigns against the project.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

By Payal Sampat, International Campaigns Director for EARTHWORKS and originally posted on their EARTHblog.

Rosia Montana Valley. Photo: BAS Photography on Pbase.

Transylvania, Romania, is known for its fictional vampires – this is the region where Bram Stoker set his classic vampire novel, Dracula, in 1897. Over a century later, the region is threatened not by fictional vampires but a very real – and far scarier – monster: the Rosia Montana mine.