Canada’s economy is suffering right now. Did environmental assessment cause the recession? No, it did not. Will environmental assessment considerably delay economic recovery? No, it will not. It should, however, help us to transform the recovery into one that is based on more sustainable development alternatives.
The creation of large volumes of waste, including solids, liquid effluents, and air emissions, is a fact of life for mining and mineral processing operations. Depending on the minerals’ natural geology and how they are processed these wastes can often be hazardous to the environment and human health. Solid wastes including waste rock and tailings are, by volume, the most significant waste generated by mining and mineral processing. Solid wastes are typically in the tens to hundreds of millions of tons of waste for a single mine.
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development Presentation Regarding Bill C-300
On October 8, 2009, Catherine Coumans, Ph.D. appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to testify on Bill C-300 - An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries. Here is her presentation.
Published by the Canary Research Institute for Mining, Environment, and Health, this Community-Centred Health Assessment Toolkit will help members of mining-affected communities conduct their own assessment of the health of their community and guide them in taking steps towards supporting and improving the conditions for health in their communities.
The Toolkit is designed to be used by aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities where there is mining exploration or development or closed or abandoned mines. It can also be used by individuals, support groups, or institutions (academic, health) from outside the community that may be invited to help guide community members through parts, or all, of the health assessment and project planning process.
Land and Conflict: Resource Extraction, Human Rights, and Corporate Social Responsibility - Canadian Companies in Colombia
This report, researched by MiningWatch Canada, CENSAT-Agua Viva, and Inter Pares, looks at four case studies of Canadian extractive industry investment projects in Colombia, analyzing their associated potential human rights risks. Referring to principles developed by the UN Special Representative on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations, the report identifies issues and circumstances that clearly indicate that transparent and independent human rights impact assessments are necessary to avoid significant potential risk to human rights in existing and proposed extractive projects. Available from Inter Pares on request or download the PDF. Also available in French and coming soon in Spanish.
Presentation by Catherine Coumans at the Scottish Association for Marine Science’s Conference on Deep Sea Mine Tailings Placement, 4th-7th November 2008 at Madang Resort, Papua New Guinea.
Boreal Forest’s Wildlife and Communities Threatened by Impacts from Exploration, Mining – Revised 'Boreal Below' Report
Joint news release with Northwatch: A major new report highlights serious impacts on the Canadian boreal forest from all phases of mining activity, from exploration to closure. Two respected mining industry watchdogs – Northwatch and MiningWatch Canada – say they published The Boreal Below (an all-new and expanded version of a widely circulated 2001 report) in response to growing demand from communities across Canada for information and analysis to help understand the impacts of mining on their lives and livelihoods. It provides a carefully-documented analysis of the social, environmental, and cultural impacts of mining from prospecting to mine closure, as well as an overview of the current situation by province and territory.
Published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Fertilizer Industry Association, this document is a bit optimistic about the impacts of potash mining, but provides a decent overview.
Mining Investors: Understanding the legal structure of a mining company and identifying its management, shareholders and relationship with the financial markets
MiningWatch Presentation to Montreal Roundtable
Whether they bother with the Cyanide Code or the UN Global Compact or the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, or contract high-priced public relations consultants, or buy support from naïve NGOs and corrupt local officials, or actively divide communities, or rely on good old-fashioned intimidation, it is clear that most mining companies – from the largest global players to the smallest exploration juniors – are willing to do whatever they can get away with to reward their shareholders with juicy returns.
Assessment of the Rosia Montana Environmental Impact Assessment Report with a focus on water and water quality-related issues
In 2006 independent hydrogological consultant Robert E. Moran undertook an assessment of Gabriel Resources' EIA report for its Rosia Montana project in Romania on behalf of Alburnus Maior and funded by Staples Trust, U.K. and the Open Society Foundation, Romania.
Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is the biggest environmental threat from mining in British Columbia. Water resources are particularly affected. This report introduces issues, profiles key sites, and identifies outstanding concerns. Published by BC Wild and Environmental Mining Council of BC.
Across Canada, those seeking to protect biodiversity and those seeking mineral wealth have often ended up looking up the same valleys. Mineral development - from exploration to mine closure - poses some unique challenges and concern. This discussion paper lays out some of the primary issues and concerns related to mining in protected areas from a biodiversity-protection perspective. It provides an overview for those concerned about mining and environment conflicts, and raises questions about future directions.
In 2004 MiningWatch Canada partnered with the Labrador West Status of Women Council and the Femmes francophones de l’Ouest du Labrador on a joint effort to explore community women’s own perceptions of the effects on their health from living in a mining town. The final report for this project, in both official languages, was launched in Wabush/Labrador City on February 15, 2005. The results provide insight into specific areas of concern for women regarding their health, but clearly also point to potential impacts from mining on community health that need to be better understood.
Anneli Tolvanen traveled to the mining communities of Bonanaza and La Libertad in August, 2001, interviewing men, women, and youth, community members, small scale miners, local officials, and mining company representatives. We are pleased to present the final document, with many wonderful photographs, as well as the interviews themselves.
The Victor project should be delayed until Attawapiskat First Nation and the communities in the Mushkekowuk Council region have created the capacity, land use planning and education to benefit from the profits from the mine over generations. Regulatory Authorities (RAs) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency have a responsibility to find that there are "significant environmental effects" from the project and to address the impacts of these environmental effects on the lives of the First Nations people who depend on the environment affected by the mine. The need for an independent assessment of the mine's impacts is great enough to require a panel review.
This report, "Protecting Fish/Protecting Mines - What is the real job of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans?", shows how the Department of Fisheries and Oceans -- the federal agency mandated to manage and protect fish and fish habitat in inland waters -- has allowed extensive destruction of fish habitat from mining development, ignoring its own mandate as well as public concern and advice from independent scientists.
Mineral Exploration in Nitassinan: A Matter of Respect. Innu Nation Guidelines for the Mining Industry
In 1995, the unprecedented pace of mineral exploration in Nitassinan following the announcement of the nickel find at Emish (Voisey’s Bay) quickly overwhelmed the ability of the Newfoundland government to effectively regulate or monitor exploration activity. Over 280,000 claims were staked and several dozen exploration companies descended on Nitassinan in the space of a few months—all without Innu consent.
The astonishing cost of the minerals we take for granted must be respected and accounted for in government policy and industry practice. This means treasuring the minerals that have already been extracted and reducing the need for mining wherever possible. Many more jobs and more sustainable economies can be created in the minerals industry if the focus shifts from mining to the re-use of minerals already taken from the ground and to value-added production in Canada.
This document, which includes a literature review and bibliography, provides an overview of current research and information on problems faced by mining-dependent communities and the ways and means by which Canadian communities that are dependent on mining have been able to revitalize their economies in the face of industry down-sizing and closure. The scoping exercise serves four key purposes: