Tuesday 6 May, 2008
Contact: Sakura Saunders
775 397 1371
Friends of the Earth Australia
416 809 2755
Protesters Demand Accountability Outside Barrick Gold's AGM
When: Tuesday, 6th May @ 10am
Where: Opposite the Toronto Convention Centre
250 Front Street, Toronto
On May 6th protesters gathered outside Barrick Gold's Annual General Meeting to protest the companies destructive mining operations around the world.
Their outside action is meant to support the international delegation of aboriginal leaders which will speak inside the shareholders meeting.
"Barrick lies to their shareholders year after year claiming to be a socially responsible mining giant. However, there are many well documented instances of human rights and environmental abuses around the world. While Barrick threatens to sue journalists and human rights advocates who repeat this information, now those affected by these abuses have come to tell their own stories," stated Sakura Saunders from ProtestBarrick.net. "We are here to get as much attention to these issues as possible."
"In Australia Barrick Gold has created a cyanide leaching gold mine in the middle of a flood plane at Lake Cowal in western New South Wales, sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation." said Natalie Lowrey, National Liaison Officer, Friends of the Earth Australia.
"In its first two years of operation the area surrounding the Lake Cowal mine was experiencing its worst drought in recorded history. But since heavy rains have returned approximately 1/8th of the mine has collapsed due to mud slides. Wiradjuri and local residents fear that when the area floods Barrick's mine will poison the surrounding areas."
Lake Cowal is an ephemeral lake, with a 20 year wet and dry cycle. Barrick's mine at Lake Cowal uses 6090 tonnes of cyanide a year. A teaspoon of a 2% cyanide solution can kill an adult human.
"Canadian mining companies abroad operate with shameful impunity and there is no insurance against the environmental devastation that they can cause. Meanwhile companies like Barrick Gold are promoting 'voluntary social responsibility' to politicians and media in order to avoid mandatory regulations and law reform." stated Paul York from Students Against Climate Change, University of Toronto.