“Uniting for Healthy Lands, Waters and Future Generations” – International Conference on Mining & Communities Opens in Kamloops, B.C.

Western Mining Action Network – MiningWatch Canada

(Kamloops) Nearly 200 delegates from the USA and Canada are meeting over the next two days in Kamloops, B.C., to share knowledge about the increasing impacts of industrial mining and to seek solutions to more effectively protect the environment and affected communities.

“We are honoured that the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation (SSN) is joining efforts with the Western Mining Action Network to host this 2018 edition of the conference under the theme ‘Uniting for Healthy Lands, Waters and Future Generations’,” states Ugo Lapointe of MiningWatch Canada and Co-Chair of the Western Mining Action Network (WMAN).

Over the next two days at Thompson Rivers University, over 40 speakers, experts, scientists, Indigenous, labour, environmental, and grassroot organizations will be providing the latest information on the development of mining impacts, regulations and policies in the USA and Canada. Topics addressed include: health, water pollution, environmental assessments, perpetual care of mine wastes, financial securities for site clean-up, transparency and tax fairness, compliance and enforcement, gender impacts, and more.

Carla Rae Marshall of the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance (Sioux Nation, South Dakota) and Co-Chair of WMAN, adds: “It’s important for Indigenous communities to connect, share and learn from each other’s struggles when dealing with industrial mining projects affecting our traditional lands. I’m looking forward to learn from the Secwepemc and other Nations that are present here.”

The conference is opening this morning with Welcoming Remarks from Jeanette Jules, T'kemlups Councillor for Natural Resources, Legal and Title and Rights (Kukwstsetsemc/Kukwstsetselp/Kukwstec-kuc). This afternoon, under the theme “Winds of Change: Indigenous Leadership & Strategies for Healthy Lands, Waters & Future Generations,” Robert Simon of SSN and Tina Van Zile, former vice-chair of Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa Community in Wisconsin, will both share initiatives their respective Nations undertook to protect culturally significant sites from mining. It will also be the occasion for SSN, in partnership with RAVEN Trust (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs), to launch a new fundraising campaign to support its process to secure its aboriginal title rights.

On Saturday morning, Earl L. Hatley (Cherokee/Wendate Grand Riverkeeper), Jacinda Mack (First Nations Advocating Responsible Mining), Bruno Milanez (Juiz de Fora Federal University, Brazil), and Judith Marshall (associate at York University's Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, CERLAC), will be speaking about U.S., Canadian and Brazilian cases of mining spills and perpetual water pollution still affecting downstream communities.

The conference program also includes tours of the Highland Valley Copper Mine—the largest copper mine in North-America – and the Mount Polley mine area that was affected by the 2014 massive spill into the Quesnel Lake and River watershed.

For more information:

  • Ugo Lapointe, MiningWatch Canada and WMAN Co-Chair, 514-708-0134
  • Carla Rae Marshall, Black Hills Clean Water Alliance (Sioux Nation, South Dakota), 605-545-1430