In its Andean salt flats, Chile has one of the largest proven reserves of lithium in brines and is a leading exporter of both lithium and copper -- two minerals identified as "critical" for the energy transition. But "green extractivism" has caused conflict in Indigenous and rural territories in Chile, threatening communities and environmental defenders who are currently facing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as climate change that the electric vehicle (EV) market promises to solve. This brief report seeks to explain the responsibility of Canadian investments in the emergence of new socio-environmental conflicts in Chile’s salt flats, in an effort to contribute to the national and international debate on possible futures with climate justice as a cornerstone in the development of policies that go beyond a corporate energy transition towards a real and socio-ecological transformation.
Full report: The global mining industry, often supported by host governments, is positioning mining as a “green solution” to the climate crisis. This “green mining boom” is rapidly expanding into culturally and ecologically sensitive areas, increasingly affecting Indigenous and human rights, community livelihoods and the environment. Communities, academics, and activists say that an energy transition that heavily depends on mining new materials without considering materials and energy for what, for whom, and at what socio-environmental costs will only reinforce injustices and lack of sustainability that have deepened the climate crisis in the first place.
These comments were submitted to the Joint Panel reviewing the environmental impact of the proposed Marathon Palladium Mine. We have reviewed documents filed for investors by Generation Mining, particularly the Feasibility Study (FS) and the 2020 Annual Information Return (AIF). We also researched the history of the mine’s proponents by talking to communities where they had operated and searching publicly available literature. Both research projects unearthed some serious concerns about the Marathon Mine of which the Panel needs to be aware. These issues are:
Comments on the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada’s Draft Agreement to Conduct a Regional Assessment in the Ring of Fire Area
Given that the process of negotiating the draft agreement excluded the region’s First Peoples, and that they are similarly excluded from any significant role in the proposed governance of the regional assessment, we insist that rather than a revision of the draft agreement – even one that engages seriously and meaningfully with the recommendations that MiningWatch and many other knowledgeable and thoughtful intervenors have put forward – the regional assessment process must be restarted in order to make a serious attempt to fulfil Canada’s obligations towards Indigenous peoples, including under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and undertake to co-design a regional assessment process that meets their needs and criteria and supports their self-determination.
In 2014, a dam breach at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine resulted in the largest mine waste disaster in Canadian history. Over 24 billion litres of solid and liquid mine waste rushed downstream into the Quesnel Lake watershed, leading to a drinking water ban and destroying kilometres of forest and fish habitats in its wake. Long-term effects of this disaster, such as contamination of lake sediments and species, are still being monitored.
The Indigenous Sovereignty: Implementing Consent for Mining on Indigenous Lands is a new report prepared by the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC) setting out 25 recommendations which, if implemented, would compel mining companies and prospectors to secure the approval of First Nation governments in order to obtain consent-based access to First Nations' lands. They would further be required to agree and abide by conditions set by those First Nations governments.
Globally, there is growing recognition of the dangers posed by deep seabed mining. Here's a roundup of the communities, scientists, governments, corporations, and financial institutions already supporting a moratorium or ban.
The passing of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) by the B.C. Legislature in November 2019 was supposed to be the start of a new chapter in the nation-to-nation relationships between Indigenous peoples and the provincial government.
But two years on, implementation of the standard of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Nations before mining activity can take place on their territories—one of the bedrock principles on which UNDRIP is based—is still as distant as it was in 2019. Read about eight recent cases where B.C. is failing to meet Indigenous consent standards for mining.
The global mining industry, often supported by host governments, is positioning mining as a “green solution” to the climate crisis. This “green mining boom” is rapidly expanding into culturally and ecologically sensitive areas, increasingly affecting Indigenous and human rights, community livelihoods and the environment.
Communities, academics, and activists say that an energy transition that heavily depends on mining new materials without considering materials and energy for what, for whom, and at what socio-environmental costs will only reinforce injustices and lack of sustainability that have deepened the climate crisis in the first place.
In April 2021, the International Articulation of Those Affected by Vale (A Articulação Internacional dos Atingidos e Atingidas pela Vale, AIAAV) launched the Vale 2021 Unsustainability Report. Now, after a collective process of review and translation, with the support of partners in Canada, AIAAV has launched the English version of the document. The intention is for the publication to reach an even wider circulation, since a company with global operations requires processes of resistance that are, also, global.
Shareholder Advisory: The Proposed Business Combination Between Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition and DeepGreen
The purpose of this Shareholder Advisory is to inform potential investors in the business combination proposed by DeepGreen Metals and Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition Corporation (SOAC) to form The Metals Company (TMC). We believe that the Advisory is of particular relevance to SOAC public shareholders, who would be anticipating an investment with strong sustainability credentials and who will shortly be invited to vote on approving the business combination and/or to elect to maintain or redeem their investment.
This report analyzes the Marathon Project with specific reference to the market prospects for palladium in the medium term. The analysis suggests that the Project entails far greater economic risk than Generation PGM’s promotional material allows. In particular, the report draws attention to the following areas of concern:
[Report available in Spanish only] The “Energy Transition” promoted by capitalists is a clear greenwashing attempt, and does not represent a significant departure from what the world already knows as an inseparable relationship to the mining extractivist model. The example of lithium in Mexico is a case in point.
Despite statements being made about world lithium shortages, and its unparalleled importance for the “energy transition”, world lithium production fell by nearly 20% in 2019, and in the same year, despite this fact, the slow growth of lithium demand only met 75% of the total supply. A slowing down in the sale of elec- tric vehicles (exacerbated by the removal of Chinese subsidies), as well as a reduction in the practice of stockpiling, among others, depressed production. Despite this, the primary sources of information for the industry, as well as the principle financial institutions, continue to insist that we are on the cusp of a lithium demand boom.
This document represents MiningWatch Canada’s submission on the Terms of Reference for the Regional Assessment on the Ring of Fire Area, in response to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada's "Information Sheet: Planning the Regional Assessment in the Ring of Fire Area." Key conclusions:
The Quebrada Blanca Phase II (QBP2) Expansion Project will require more than 4.7 billion dollars in capital investment and is financed by Japanese and Canadian banks and finance corporations. The expansion project is an open-pit copper-molybdenum-silver mine which contemplates a life-of mine of over 25 years, with a capacity of 140,000 tonnes per day (tpd). Following construction the mine will be one of the largest mines in Chile and among the 20 largest mines in the world. It is being erected atop of the existing pit in the Tarapacá region – an area of Chile that is already saturated with large-scale mines.
In November 2019, MiningWatch Canada brought together almost 200 people — community and grassroots representatives, experts and academics, researchers and activists — to explore some of the thorny issues around the need for metals and materials for renewable energy and climate action. This is the report of that conference.
The Canadian Environmental Law Association, Friends of the Attawapiskat River, MiningWatch Canada and WCS Canada provided comments to the Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines regarding multiple mining exploration proposals. We ask that the ministry pause any decision-making on the proposals, and only proceed when public and Indigenous engagement can be achieved.
This report, written by Ontarians for a Just Accountable Mineral Strategy (OJAMS), commissioned by MiningWatch Canada and endorsed by Northwatch, Friends of the Attawapiskat River, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Greenpeace Canada, and Kebaowek First Nation, is being submitted to the Ontario government in response to changes it made to the Environmental Assessment Act as part of the omnibus COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, Bill 197.
On October 7, 2020, MiningWatch submitted this brief to Global Affairs Canada with detailed recommendations for a complete overhaul of Canada’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines). This Canadian non-judicial body was set up to receive complaints filed by people from around the world who have been harmed by the activities of Canadian corporations that have breached the OECD Guidelines in their operations. The NCP's utter lack of effectiveness in handling these complaints has resulted in further deepening the harm suffered by those bringing the complaints.
In June 2020, we were invited as one of the keynote speakers to a strategy session to “Re-imagine the National Orphaned and Abandoned Mine Initiative (NOAMI).” NOAMI is a multijurisdictional federal/provincial/territorial initiative which aims to provide guidance on best practices and policies to address the growing liability of mine waste sites to Canada’s Energy and Mines Minister Conference. We concluded that Canada needs a National Strategy & Action Plan with clear and ambitious goals to:
- Reduce mine waste generated
- End abandoned mine waste sites in Canada
- Strengthen financial assurance & enforce the polluters-pay principle
- Strengthen oversight of mine waste sites