WHERE: 255 Front St., Toronto
Every year, Barrick Gold gathers with their major shareholders and board of directors at their Annual General Meeting in downtown Toronto. And every year, we gather to support campaigns for justice, accountability, and a future for communities directly impacted by their mines.
200 girls and women raped: now 11 of them win better compensation from the world's biggest gold minerfamily members of 3 killed due to violence at the mine also covered
On Friday, April 3, 2015, eleven of the estimated 120-200 women raped at Barrick's Porgera mine settled on a compensation package from the company, negotiated by US-law firm Earth Rights International. Family members of three people killed in mine violence also received an undisclosed amount of compensation for their suffering. This victory is the result of a decade of advocacy from groups such as the Atali Tange Association, the Porgera Alliance, Harvard Legal Clinic, New York University law school, Mining Watch Canada, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International. However, we should remember that far more than these eleven women were brutally raped by Barrick's security forces and continue to fight for justice, accountability, and a removal of the conditions leading to these abuses.
The community continues to advocate for their collective resettlement away from the mine. At ProtestBarrick, we will continue to support the community in this long-term solution to widespread mine violence.
Some media coverage of the recent victory:
THE GUARDIAN (UK): Canada mining firm compensates Papua New Guinea women after alleged rapes
MINING WATCH PRESS STATEMENT:
Barrick Gold and the Royal Canadian Mint today unveiled the design of the medals to be awarded to athletes at this summer's PanAm games. 4,000 competitions medals will be awarded during the course of both the Pan Am Games and the Parapan Am Games.
But why are we using this opportunity to promote the irresponsible practice of open pit gold mining, especially considering that we get more than enough gold these days from recycled sources? Specifically, why are we celebrating a mining company whose abuses are well documented and widespread. To illustrate my point, let's look at the three mines highlighted as the sources of the PanAm medals.
This film originally appeared on French Television and offers an inside look on the ground at Barrick's Porgera Mine in Papua New Guinea. Now, the documentary short is available with English subtitles.
This context is important given Barrick's recent announcement that it intends to sell its stake in Porgera. Landowners are determined to not let any sale happen before outstanding issues are resolved with the company, and have issued an ultimatum to the PNG government threatening to shut down the mine if their concerns are not met.
On February 6, lawfirm Leigh Day announced that African Barrick Gold (now Acacia Mining) had settled out of court with
Tanzanian villagers wanting compensation in relation to killings
at its North Mara mine. While this settlement is likely welcome to the victims who pursued this legal claim, a recent press statement by Mining Watch Canada and RAID points out that Barrick's greivance mechanism, hastily put in place in response to this lawsuit, makes it so that victims of mine violence who seek redress through the company will not be allowed to sue the company.
"In order to receive compensation victims must sign a controversial legal waiver preventing them from suing Barrick or any of its subsidiaries in any jurisdiction for the harm they have suffered," reads the press statemend. "Many of Leigh Day’s original clients were persuaded to sign up to the programme without the benefit of having their lawyers’ present. Some now regret this and believe that they fell victim to a process by which they received paltry levels of compensation for life-changing injuries or deaths sustained in security incidents at the mine."
Additionally, this case does not address the fact that killings at the mine site are on-going. "Since September 2014, local human rights sources allege that there have been at least 20 new cases of deaths or serious injury at the North Mara."
|Before the recent conflict allegations involving Canada's biggest bank, the CBC's senior business correspondent went to bat for another corporate employer of a romantic partner|
In 2011, a guest on Lang's show cited a recent cover story in Globe & Mail's Report on Business, stating that 19 villagers had been killed by security and police guarding Barrick's mine in Tanzania. She responds by saying that Peter Munk (Barrick's) founder, has done "amazing things" in Tanzania, "creating wealth where there was none." (Lang's husband worked for Barrick Gold and still advised for them at the time. He also worked directly with Peter Munk's Philathropic endeavours at the time).
In July 2014, “Mining Morality Canada” began a journey to investigate and document the environmental, social, political, and economic impacts that Canadian mining companies are having on local communities within the Dominican Republic. This journey led us all around the central mountain range of the Dominican where we have been working in solidarity with those directly resisting Canadian mining companies including Barrick Gold, Gold Corp and Glencore Falconbridge. These companies, in conjunction with other previously operating mining companies such as Rosario Dominicana, have had devastating effects on the livelihoods of communities and the environment.
On October 28, 2014, hundreds of Porgerans marched onto Barrick Gold’s Porgera mine site to demand benefits that rightfully belong to the Porgera Special Mining Lease (SML) Landowners.
On Oct 17, Barrick Gold was given a 48 hour ultimatum to respond to requests by landowners at their controversial Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea.
Three London students were shocked by what they found last winter during a trip to the Dominican Republic.
Canadian mining companies, they say, are destroying lives in the country.
“We visited the Barrick Gold mine, and while we were there, we spoke with a woman named Juliana (Rodriguez). She is 82 years old and has lived in the area for all of her life,” Klaire Gain said. “She told us the last four years, which (has seen) Barrick Gold mining in the region, have been the worst years of her life.”
On Oct 17, Barrick Gold was given a 48 hour ultimatum to respond to requests by landowners at their controversial Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea. The first demand, that Barrick become Party to a revised Porgera Mine Memorandum of Agreement and make a date to commence MOA review, has been the landowners "number one ask from day one", according to a letter dated October 17, 2014 from the landowners association to Barrick management. For many years, the Porgera Landowners Association has been urging Barrick Gold for the resettlement of their people away from the Porgera mine site, through MOA reviews, and an international pressure and educational campaign including an OECD complaint and several appeals to the United Nations. However, Barrick continues to sidestep this urgent issue.
Jethro Tulin at the Peoples Social ForumPNG Human Rights Organizer to make keynote at the Peoples Social Forum in Ottawa this August
Jethro Tulin has waged an international battle against Barrick for over a decade. In 1989, he registered Porgera’s first mine workers union and became its first secretary. Years later, Tulin returned to Porgera to find the situation worse and thus founded the Akali Tange Association (ATA), a human rights organization documenting abuses at the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea.
Burns" read headlines this morning in Papua New Guinea's daily
newspaper. More than 200 houses were burnt to the ground, it reports,
and angry villagers retaliated by attacking an Australian mine worker.
***Take action to demand resettlement now!***
“This is the second time this village (Wingima) was burnt down. The first one was done during the first state of emergency call out operation some six years ago which never solved the problem,” MP Nixon Mangape said of this most recent police campaign.
“Why is Barrick not looking at long term solutions like relocating the people out of the special mining lease area? Burning houses in a particular village in the special mining lease area will not solve the illegal mining problem. It’s adding more fuel to a burning fire.”
Every year, the board of directors of the world's largest gold mining company meet in downtown Toronto. And every year (for the last 7) people who are aware of Barrick's abuses around the world turn up to support impacted communities in their campaigns against this abusive company.
This annual general meeting is taking place while:
WHERE: Metro Convention Centre, 255 Front St, Toronto
Please come out and support the communities negatively affected by Barrick. Through grassroots solidarity, we can ensure that their perspectives and needs are heard loud and clear in Toronto!
WHEN: Tuesday, April 1, 7pm
Riots break out in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, after Toronto-based Barrick Gold's security kills several local miners. Reporting by activist Jethro Tulin, of the Akali Tange Association, a local human rights organization. Jethro has visited Canada many times to advocate around compensating victims of mine-related violence and collectively resettling the population away from the mine. This is the violence that exists surround Barrick's mines in PNG, Tanzania, and Peru.
Protestbarrick.net is proud to announce that we won Now's reader's choice award for being the best activist group in Toronto with a non-local cause! While we believe that ProtestBarrick's cause is at the core of Toronto, we are thrilled to have received this honour.
Protestbarrick editor Sakura Saunders also received the runner-up position for the Best Activist in Toronto in the reader poll. As Now magazine is Toronto's largest weekly magazine, we believe that these honours help highlight the importance of mining justice issues within Toronto.
On July 30, London law firm, Leigh Day, served African Barrick Gold (ABG) and North Mara Gold Mine Limited (NMGML) with legal proceedings filed in the UK High Court. The claim alleges that the companies are liable for the deaths and injuries of local villagers, including through complicity in the killing of at least 6 local villagers by police at the North Mara mine in Tanzania. The companies deny the allegations.
Twelve villagers, including one man who has been left paraplegic, are suing the companies in the hope of receiving just compensation.
“Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. We are aware of many other instances in which local people have reportedly been seriously injured or killed at ABG’s mine,” said Leigh Day partner, Richard Meeran. >>> read more
Shareholder class action attracts 5 whistleblowers!
Court documents filed by Labaton Sucharow LLP on August 2, 2013 related to a class action lawsuit on behalf of Barrick shareholders reveal the testimonies of five former Barrick employees. These confidential witnesses confirm that Barrick top management knew that construction at the Pascua Lama Project was contaminating nearby water sources and breaching environmental conditions that led to the suspension of the project. These witnesses also testify that at a time when the company was estimating that the Project's cost would be between $2.8 and $3 billion, Barrick already had in its possession an engineering report estimating costs for the Project at nearly twice that figure.
In response to an editorial written by ProtestBarrick co-editor Sakura Saunders, Corporate Knights has admitted that their "corporate citizen" rating system has "important omissions, most notably human rights performance and major environmental or community transgressions."
In a letter to Now Magazine, the self-styled "clean capitalism" outfit admits that it is "oblivious to Barrick’s controversial human rights record." At ProtestBarrick, we feel like this is an important step to admitting the limitations of top-down "social responsibility" screenings. We will continue to work with Corporate Knights to advocate that they employ harsher filters to disqualify corporations with major transgressions, while also advocating that they screen out all gold mining companies (due to the complete lack of need for newly mined gold).
|"Best 50" corporate citizens ignores human rights abuses, environmental mismanagement and faulty self-reporting|
Corporate Knights magazine just released this
year's "Best Corporate Citizens in Canada" report, a top 50 rating
which claims to show that "being environmentally and socially
responsible is more than just the right thing to do - it's good for
business." Unfortunately, all this index proves is that 'clean
capitalism' is more about style than substance. Put enough money into
your image and public relations outfits will sing your praises in an
unaccountable echo chamber of write-ups and awards, regardless of how
much evidence suggests otherwise.
READ ProtestBarrick's Open Letter to Corporate Knights magazine.
A 14-foot effigy of Barrick Gold chairman Peter Munk with a Pinocchio nose illustrated what protesters thought about Barrick's claims of social responsibility. Outside the company's annual general meeting, over a hundred people braved the rain to tell shareholders to divest from the gold mining giant.
As Protest Barrick completes its sixth year of working with
communities impacted by Barrick Gold, we are publishing a different kind
of alternative annual report. We have noticed over the years that
despite some of Barrick`s major abuses coming into light, the company
has been able to maintain – within select circles – a reputation for
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Meanwhile, around the world,
Barrick’s name is still associated with corruption, abuse and
This report intends to explain this disconnect. With information provided for us by front-line communities, we will attempt to reconcile their truth with Barrick’s lies.
Download full report here.
Barrick's share price has plummeted in the last month and over the last year. To understand why investors are jumping ship, the editors at Protest Barrick have put together a timeline capturing key moments since July 2012.
Leer en expañol aqui.
CONFRONT BARRICK: 2013 AGM Protest and Alternative Annual Report!
Once a year, the board of Directors of the world’s most powerful gold mining corporation converge in downtown Toronto. This year, we're releasing a report that chronicles Barrick's lies and highlights the true stories behind their false CSR spin. Help us ensure that these stories don't get ignored.
Once a year, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) throws the world's largest mining convention in downtown Toronto. This year, the convention featured a track on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that was open to the public. The final session of this track was a CEO panel featuring Jamie Sokalsky, the CEO of Barrick Gold.
While Sokalsky tried to present Barrick's CSR program as more than just window dressing, I got ahold of the mic to draw attention to the very real and on-going human rights abuses at two of Barrick's mine sites, first in North Mara, Tanzania and then in Porgera, Papua New Guinea. Unfazed by the fact that they turned off my mic, I raised my voice to speak louder about the scale of the devastation in Papua New Guinea. Finally, the security escorted me out as I handed out footnoted fact sheets to the audience at the forum.
Ever wonder why the Globe & Mail puts out fawning editorials about Barrick after every human rights scandal?
Read the background behind the Globe and Mail's love affair with Barrick Gold.
Also see Mining Watch's response, "Globe and Mail proclaims on rapes in Papua New Guinea"
The slideshow video of the recent flight over Lake Cowal shows Barrick's mine pit in the lake bed surrounded by water. On the flight there were hundreds of birds seen in the 1km square toxic tailings dams. Many of these birds have flown great distances to get here and cannot differentiate the difference between the water of Lake Cowal and the tailings dams of the mine. The contamination of water with cyanide and heavy metals by the mine is of major concern to Wiradjuri Traditional Owners and environmentalists.
Since Barrick Gold proposed the absurd plan to dynamite glaciers to get at gold deposits underneath perennial ice, a movement has begun along the Central Andes comprising civil society actors, environmental groups, indigenous peoples, common individuals and even governmental agencies, to ensure glacier protection. In Argentina, the world’s first National Glacier Law was adopted in 2010, and in Chile, there is a National Glacier Policy in place to protect these critical water reservoirs captured in perennial ice.
This report responds to Barrick's misleading and sometimes outright false statements being produced on Barrick's new website, ironically titled “Protecting Glaciers.”
|Chief of Staff is godfather to Munk's son and has links to Munk's policy foundation|
With all of these articles coming out about how Harper's Chief of Staff is a close family friend of the Munks, ProtestBarrick.net decided to put out a short list of all of the ways that the Harper gov. has directly hooked up Barrick over the years!
Barrick and Goldcorp’s Pueblo Viejo gold mining project, the “biggest single foreign direct investment ever done in the Dominican Republic estimated at US $3.5 billion”, should begin full operations in July 2012. While the economic sectors deem it an economic blessing, the local population, environmentalists, and progressive groups strongly oppose it due to numerous social problems already underway and the potential to cause an irreversible environmental disaster in the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.
|Glacier Protection Law Holds and Mining Companies Must Reveal Impacts|
Barrick Gold, the company that had proposed dynamiting glaciers and hauling them off in dump trucks so they could get at gold reserves at their Pascua Lama project, suffered a major setback today in the Argentine National Supreme Court. An injunction order originally granted to Barrick by a local federal circuit court judge suspending the recently approved National Glacier Act, was terminally revoked. The glacier law is now back in full force for Barrick and other mining companies operating in Argentina.
Mining companies investing in exploration activities all along the Andes mountains were quietly awaiting the ruling by the Argentine Supreme Court which issued an 8 page verdict today stating firmly that the glacier law holds and Barrick and a slew of other mining companies exploring for minerals in the high Andes mountains, will now have to file glacier impact reports on their operations and adhere to the law. If they are found to be in glacier areas, or impacting glaciers, according to the law, they will have to redesign their projects, or worse, pack their bags and go home.
Occupy Toronto Highlights Affected Community Voices in 24-hour protest Against Barrick Gold.
Protesters, joined by Occupy Toronto, rallied outside of Barrick Gold's Annual General Meeting this year to demonstrate their opposition to the Toronto-based company. Many activists had spent the night outside of convention centre that hosted the meeting the night before as a 24 hour sit-in protest against the company.
This year, Amani Mhinda came from Tanzania to speak out against Barrick's abuses in his country. Despite holding a legal proxy to attend the meeting, his entrance was denied. Speakers from Balochistan and Argentina also spoke out against Barrick Gold and other Canadian mining companies. Powerful statements were read from the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous community in Northern Chile and the Porgera Alliance from Papua New Guinea. This year, the protest was also joined Students from the Student School, who targeted the park across the street from the Metro Convention Centre last night.
For the past five years, impacted communities have been speaking out at Barrick's Annual General meeting.
Read Press Release about Amani Mhinda's illegal exclusion from the Barrick AGM
Porgera Alliance statement read at the Barrick Gold AGM.
Diaguita Huascoaltinos Statement for Barrick Gold AGM.
Read article about The Student School's decision to support the Barrick Protest as a school.
Listen to Audio from the protest.
Once a year, the board of Directors of the world's most powerful gold mining corporation converge in downtown Toronto. Join us and representatives from mining-impacted communities to... CONFRONT BARRICK GOLD!
WHY PROTEST BARRICK?
The group SalvaTierra took a non-violent direct action this morning in front of the building where the multinational mining corporation Barrick has part of its offices in capital city, Santo Domingo. It declared its support to dozens of environmental and social groups that have already expressed their opposition to megamining in the country and joined the campaign by the Latin America Mining Conflicts Observatory (OCMAL) to ban cyanide in the whole region.
In their statement, the group warns that: “Mega open pit mining is an activity whose enormous scale entails major environmental impacts, such as the destruction of large forests, the massive consumption of fresh water and electricity, the production of acid drainage, and above all the use of large amounts of highly toxic substances”. Amongst the latter they highlighted cyanide, which Barrick is planning to use for processing 24,000 tons of mineral daily in the Pueblo Viejo mine currently under construction.
The Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA), along with several local and international groups presented today an Equator Principles Due Diligence Review to two export credit agencies considering financing Barrick Gold’s highly controversial Pascua Lama gold project, straddling the border between Chile and Argentina. The review argues that Pascua Lama is in direct violation of the Equator Principles, which are global norms laying out conditions for responsible investment. The 45 page critique of Barrick’s Pascua Lama project, brings together existing and new evidence showing innumerable social and environmental norms violations by Barrick’s operations at both Pascua Lama (which is set to commence in the near future) as well as at the adjacent project Veladero, also by Barrick.
On Friday, in Washington D.C., the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hear a complaint against the Chilean State, lodged by the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous and agricultural community. This case, admitted in February of 2010, claims that the government violated the community's Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), and did not consider comments submitted by the Diaguita Huascoaltinos in the environmental assessment process that approved the mine. The claim also states that Barrick’s claim to land on and near the Pascua Lama project on the border of Chile and Argentina relies on a series of fraudulent land claims to collectively held-Diaguita Huascoaltinos land.
The Porgera Land Owners Association (PLOA), in partnership with the Porgera Alliance released a report today detailing the case for the urgent resettlement of their people away from Barrick’s Porgera mine. The report covers the health hazards associated with living close to the mine, as well as enumerating the human rights abuses caused by mine security. The report also recounts the history of the mine’s agreements with the local community, revealing a pattern of neglect of the community’s free, prior and informed consent at nearly every stage of the mine’s development.
This report follows investigations and reports published by Amnesty International, Harvard Law, Human Rights Watch, and the Norwegian Government all detailing the dangerous conditions near the Porgera mine. However, this report stands out as a comprehensive look at the history of the Porgera mine, from the perspective of the landowners who have led negotiations with the company.
The police army, on 16th May 2011 intentionally shot dead five people in Nyamongo-Tarime and inflicted seriously bodily harm to many others alleging that they invaded one of the Barrick Gold mines at Nyamongo-Tarime district.
As part of its work, LEAT sent a special research/fact finding mission to collect facts regarding Nyamongo-Tarime massacre and impunities reportedly taking place on 16th May 2011. The fact finding mission composed of Mr. Stanslaus Nyembea (LEAT) and Evans Sichalwe (LHRC).
leer el artículo en español aqui
Confrontations between local people and mining security are not uncommon near Barrick's North Mara mine in Tanzania. As Bloomberg journalist Cam Simpson reported in his feature story about the mine, "Security guards and federal police allegedly have shot and killed people scavenging the gold-laced rocks to sell for small amounts of cash, according to interviews with 28 people, including victims’ relatives, witnesses, local officials and human-rights workers."
These conflicts take place in the context of forced displacement, destroyed livelihoods and farmlands, and the on-going poisoning of local residents that characterizes Barrick's North Mara mine.
Join us for the...
May 9th: Hamilton, Skydragon Centre, 27 King William,
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network is pleased to invite you to the
third conference on the impact of Canadian mining on local communities
throughout the world, which will take place the 6th - 8th of May of
2011, in Toronto.
WHEN: Wednesday 27 April 2011 @ 10.30AM
WHERE: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front Street West, Toronto
As part of the growing Peter Munk out of the University of Toronto campaign over 100 University of Toronto students, joined by professors and US Academic Noam Chomsky, protested a donation from founder/chair of Barrick Gold, Peter Munk ... read more
A report released today by Human Rights Watch confirms allegations of gang rapes and other human rights abuses by security guards of Barrick Gold’s Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
In May 2009, toxic waste from a gold mine located in North Mara, Tanzania, spilled into River Thigithe. Reports from the surrounding villages alleged that 20 people and from 700 to 1,000 head of livestock died from the contaminated water. The company that operates the mine, African Barrick, denied that the spillage led to the deaths of villagers, and Barrick's spokesperson said recently that there are no more problems with the river. But villagers living in Tarime district claim they are still experiencing health-related illnesses from the water. There are also reports that a number of people have been killed by security forces belonging to the company. Zahra Moloo reports in this audio piece [mp3].
This video is a speech from Barrick Gold's founder and chairman, Peter Munk, at the company's shareholder's meeting last year. The only thing that we added were the photos from Barrick's operations around the world, to expose the delusional and misleading nature of Munk's words.
On Sunday 21 November, Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville ‘Chappy’ Williams, Friends of the Earth campaigner, Natalie Lowrey and photojournalist, Conor Ashleigh took an aerial flight over Lake Cowal.Lake Cowal is an ephemeral lake which has a wet and dry cycle of 20 years. The past 10 years has seen the central western NSW region where Lake Cowal is situated in drought, but many like Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville ‘Chappy’ Williams has warned of the big wet seasons. In the past 6 weeks this area has seen huge amounts of rainfall, Lake Cowal is 75% full of water. Once paradise to much wildlife and leisure time for locals, Lake Cowal now has a large open cut pit penetrating into it lake bed.
PhD grad Masrour Zoghi used his graduation to protest the increasing corporatization of the University of Toronto, by rejecting his degree from the institution.
The Western Shoshone have been in a constant struggle with the United States Government and Barrick Gold Corp. over the mining taking place on sacred Shoshone homelands in Nevada. The conflict focuses on two main questions: who has the rights to the land and what are the environmental impacts of mining.
Argentina's Senate passed a law on Thursday that curbs mining on and around the nation's glaciers to protect water supplies, a measure praised by environmentalists but criticized by industry supporters.
Letters to the BLM commenting on the inadequacy of the draft Supplementary EIS to provide an adequate mitigation plan for the seeps and springs that are under risk. It is important that the courts understand how important this issue is to the public, so your letter even if brief will be registered as concern and help out the legal effort that is still underway.
Report Documents Poisoning Following Toxic Discharge from Barrick’s Porgera Mine
Reports from Papua New Guinea detail the aftermath of an unusually high discharge of un=neutralized waste at Barrick Gold’s Porgera mine. The discharge – which reportedly occurred on July 27, 2010 – poisoned dozens of locals, whose accounts are documented in a recent report produced by the Porgera Alliance, a coalition of human rights and landowner groups.
In October & November 2009, the Canadian House of Commons' Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs & Intl. Development held hearings on "Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability". The following statements were made regarding issues including allegations of killings, rape & other security problems involving personnel at the Porgera Joint Venture in Papua New Guinea, as well as the Porgera mine's environmental impacts. (Barrick Gold holds a large majority stake of the Porgera Joint Venture.)
Last year, former environment minister of Argentina Romina Picolotti claimed she was forced to resign, after her family was threatened by Canadian mining companies. See: Argentina ex-minister: "Mining companies threatened me"
Luis Claps, Latin American editor, Mines and Communities
The Akali Tange Association (ATA) recently received a complaint that three young girls at the age around 14 years were taken into PJV Yoko 2 camp on the 18th June 2010 and raped by PJV engaged police mobile squads. The victims reported the matter at the Paiam Police Station on the 19th June 2010 with full details of the transporting vehicle.
In Papua New Guinea, approximately 5000 adults** live within the Special Mining Lease area of Barrick Gold's Porgera mine. They are desperately seeking resettlement into another area that could provide them with the means to live the subsistence lifestyle that remains the livelihood of 75% of the country. Their requests have been denied by the company, which prefers to offer individual cash payments to villagers as their homes fall victim to waste-related landslides and police-instigated arson.
Disregard for political conflict reveals an international diplomacy concerned primarily with profits, and is consistent with the actions of Canada and its corporate ambassadors in situations around the globe where mining profits conflict with human rights.
From mass poisonings and mass mobilizations in the Dominican Republic, to damning reports in PNG and Tanzania to lawsuits in Chile and the US, Barrick has had its hands full this year in dealing with mounting opposition to its mines. In this Year in Review, you'll find out the ways that Barrick has damaged communities around the world and the many ways that communities are fighting back and demanding justice.
Protest Barrick Gold!Rally outside Barrick's Annual Shareholder's Meeting, Wed. April 28
Once a year, the board of directors for the world's most powerful gold miner converge in downtown Toronto. Be there to Confront Barrick Gold!
WHEN: 11am Wednesday, April 28, 2010
WHO is Barrick Gold? Barrick is the world's largest gold mining company, founded and chaired by Peter Munk. Barrick is one of the biggest forces pushing Corporate Social Responsibility as an alternative to government oversight. With a former executive on the board of the Canadian Pension Fund, and a former Prime Minister on their board of directors, Barrick enjoys public funding and diplomatic support.
WHY Protest Barrick? Barrick takes advantage of inadequate and poorly enforced regulatory controls to rob indigenous people of their lands, destroy sensitive ecosystems and agricultural land, support brutal police and security operations, and sue anyone who tries to report on it. Impacted communities are coming to Toronto to share their undeniable perspectives and shed light on this criminal mining giant. Come out and support them!
On February 12 we were notified that the request for our Diaguita Agricultural Community Los Huascoaltinos was deemed admissible by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Thus, this international body recognizes that the Chilean state committed alleged violations of rights enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights when Chile approved Barrick Gold’s Pascua Lama mining project.
April and July 2009, police officers in Papua New Guinea illegally and
forcibly evicted people from their homes alongside one of the biggest
mines in Papua New Guinea, the Porgera gold mine.
People fled as their homes were burned by police. In
some cases police assaulted and threatened people with firearms. One
woman, a mine employee, said that while she was nursing her small child
in her arms, a police officer hit her on the shoulder with a rifle butt
when she hesitated to leave her house, pointed the gun at her and
threatened her. Another resident said that when he refused to leave,
the police tried to lock him in his house and set fire to it while he
was inside. Read statement from the Porgera Landowners Association in reaction to the Amnesty Report.
People fled as their homes were burned by police. In some cases police assaulted and threatened people with firearms. One woman, a mine employee, said that while she was nursing her small child in her arms, a police officer hit her on the shoulder with a rifle butt when she hesitated to leave her house, pointed the gun at her and threatened her. Another resident said that when he refused to leave, the police tried to lock him in his house and set fire to it while he was inside.
Read statement from the Porgera Landowners Association in reaction to the Amnesty Report.
Rape. Murder. Corruption. Environmental contamination. Impunity. These are just some of the charges and incidents that have plagued Canadian mining operations abroad for years. Now one Canadian lawmaker has taken on the Herculean challenge of legislating mining reform in a country that has traditionally acted like a parent in denial.
Image: Chacha Ochibhota is young, he’s 21 years old, he has a skin pigmentation covering his face, his eyes are bloodshot, he speaks quietly and moves slowly. His medical examination states that on the 1st of July 2009, he claimed to ‘have used acidic water, contaminated by the mining project – sustaining burns on the face…’ Referring him to the Tarime District Hospital for further investigations. Photo: Jessie Boylan.
A foreign company was granted a licence to explore copper and gold in
the Reko Dik area but it was not allowed to mine the same, according to
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani.
Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold, the owner of what would be Chile’s largest gold mine, Pascua Lama, could face legal sanctions after Chile’s national water commission (DGA) reported that the company is failing to comply with Chile’s environmental laws.
UPDATE: After 2-day strike in the
Veladero mine (December 17-18, 2009) OSMA-CTA (Organización Sindical de
Mineros Argentinos) and Barrick Gold in Argentina signed a historic
agreement on Jan. 12, 2010.
In solidarity with the mineworkers' union at Barrick Gold's Veladero mine in Argentina, the United Steelworkers (USW) is asking that people write to Barrick Gold and the Canadian Ambassador in Argentina to let them know we are aware of the situation and urging Barrick to negotiate with the union (OSMA-CTA) and to reinstate Jose Vicente Leiva, the union's General-Secretary, to his job.
Following on-the-ground research by Amnesty International which found evidence of police violence and forced evictions of people living near the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea, Barrick Gold Corporation (Barrick) has told Amnesty International that it now accepts that people were living in permanent houses near the Porgera mine and were affected by the police actions. The Canadian-based company’s subsidiaries operate and own 95% of the mine through the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV).
AI Index: ASA 34/005/2009
A federal appeals court on Thursday temporarily blocked construction of a massive gold mine project in northeast Nevada that critics say would harm the environment and ruin a mountain that several tribes consider sacred. The judges also said the BLM's review of the project didn't do enough to examine the
likelihood that pumping water out of the pit would cause the
groundwater level to drop and potentially dry up more than a dozen
streams and springs.
This week's reporting in the Toronto Star included three important reports on Canadian mining companies operating abroad. The first report detailed allegations (backed with video evidence) that companies have used paramilitaries to violently trample their opposition to mines that threaten rainforests and their way of life in Ecuador. It also gives some context into Canada's track record of ignoring a long history of similar allegations. The second article focused on Barrick's Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea and particularly on Sarah Knuckey's (Lawyer, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University School of Law) testimony before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE). There, she repeated personal accounts of gang rape and other mine security violence told to her during her time in Papua New Guinea. Finally, the third article told the story of Romina Picolotti, a former Argentine environment minister who testified to receiving threats against her and her family following a mining intervention.
John McKay, Liberal MP for Scarborough-Guildwood, has introduced a
private member's bill designed to put controls on mining companies
overseas. Conservatives have vowed to kill the bill, which is opposed
by Canada's mining industry. MPs are debating it in a House of Commons committee this week.
The room was packed at the D.C. headquarters of the Organization of American States, as folks gathered to hear three speakers on the topic of “Corporate Social Responsibility in a Time of Crisis.” The event, moderated by “Image Management” consultant Italo Pizzolante, featured three corporate representatives, including one from Canada’s infamous Barrick Gold, selling the idea that social responsibility makes sense for corporations to pursue.
While the panelists stressed the need to integrate CSR strategies with an overall business plan, noting benefits such as greater employee morale and increased public support, the elephant in the room was the fact that corporations use the promotion of these voluntary measures as a way to avoid government oversight and mechanisms for true accountability.
read protestbarrick's "alternative" CSR report on Barrick Gold.
Barrick Gold is trying to create ersatz Indians at their Pascua Lama mine in Chile, in the name of corporate social responsibility. Ironically, this is being done in an attempt to undermine the actually existing Indigenous leadership. That photo Sergio is holding? Those are community members, but that’s not traditional dress. In fact, those outfits are completely made up, according to Sergio Campusano, president of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos. It was created as an idea of what “Indians” should wear. An examination of the photo, taken from Barrick’s “Corporate Social Responsibility” literate, bears this out: if you look closely, they do look ridiculously clean and unworn.
Porgera UpdatePNG Paradise Lost
Porgera Gold Mine: Killings and Burnt Villages
Diaguita Statement on the Sale of El Morro
Mining group Xstrata PLC agreed to sell its 70% interest in the El
Morro copper-gold project in Chile for US$465-million to Canada's
Barrick Gold Corp., Xstrata said on Monday, October 12.
In response, the leadership of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos made the following statement, reaffirming their opposition to mining on their traditional lands.
"The sale of El Morro project is for us a little great victory. Even if this project can be economically very profitable, our community has never given approval to it's development in our lands. This has been a heavy burden with which Xstrata has had to carry since the beginning of this project.
At this point, the social opposition Huascoaltinos was becoming a problem for them and we think that may have influenced Xstrata Copper decision to sell El Morro to Barrick Gold. Barrick is known as a company that is only interested in economic efficiency, with no regard for environmental or social damage that this project might cause, and very likely they haven't evaluated the current social situation.
For us, however, it is better to have one giant who fight. We have stated repeatedly that El Morro project would mean the death of our Community and we will continue fighting to defend our land no matter who is at the forefront of this project." - Sergio Campusano, President of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos
A coalition of landowners and native groups announced today that they intend to shut down the Barrick Gold’s Porgera Mine in Papua New Guinea if a petition that they presented to Barrick does not get a positive response. If the landowners – who own 2.5 per cent of the mine – do not receive this response within 30 days of August 25, when they presented the petition, they have pledged to shut down the mine’s operations.
Download the full report here.
Already, scores of people residing around Barrick’s North Mara Gold
Mine are showing serious signs of exposure to pollution in the form of
water contaminated with various chemicals allegedly flowing out of the
mine and into the nearby River Tigethe.
They say more than 20 people have died in recent weeks as a direct result of the contaminated water.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Wednesday on whether the Canadian corporation Barrick Gold will be allowed to construct and operate an open pit gold mine on Mt. Tenabo in Nevada. The mine is planned on lands that are culturally and spiritually significant to the Western Shoshone native people.
COHRE is deeply concerned about the reported forced evictions that started on 27 April 2009 in Ungima, Yokolama and Kulapi villages in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea. According to information from local organisations, on 27 April 2009, soldiers and police deployed in the area as a part of Operation Ipili 09 burned down more than 300 homes in the above mentioned villages. As per media reports, your representatives claim that the soldiers and police destroyed the homes without orders after commanders lost control.
Madam Chair, this is my second time at this UN forum, and today my message and recommendations are more urgent than before. In my homeland in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, the Ipili and Engan people have seen their traditions turned upside-down by the influence of a large-scale mining project. In one generation, the mine has brought militarization, corruption, and environmental devastation to a land that previously knew only subsistence farming and alluvial mining.
Just in from Tundu Lissu:
There's a major emergency at Barrick's North Mara. There has been a major spill of their toxic sludge into River Tigite that flows into the Mara. This happened the day before yesterday; the entire community is in a huge uproar and panic. They have told me there are dead fish and all kinds of other water life along the river. Barrick's apparently very busy trying to kill the story before it goes out.
Tigite River is a source of water for more than 2534 households from Kewanja, Nyangoto and Matongo villages. Apart from those directly affected villages, the river is also being used by Wegita, Nyakunguru and Nyarwana villages and joins its water with Timbo River at Matongo village and then heads to Mara River which flows to Lake Victoria.
On 27 April 2009 police officials burned down 50 houses within the Porgera mining area, owned and operated by Canadian-based Barrick Gold Corporation. More than 200 police had been sent to the area as part of an operation to deal with the law and order situation in Porgera District, Enga Province. The police alleged that people living in these homes were squatters responsible for illegal mining and other criminal activities. A further 300 houses of villagers living near the mine are also reported to have been burnt down as part of the same operations.
see background of this crisis (as of April 27) here.
WHERE: Metro Convention Centre, 255 Front St.
see media release
Affected Indigenous communities from Papua New Guinea and Chile came to Toronto to give Peter Munk a piece of their mind.
Subscribe to the ProtestBarrick RSS feed, which gives updates on the struggles against Barrick Gold worldwide!
Peñas Negras, La Rioja, Argentina 4/14/2009: Argentine government officials from the Secretary of Mining and Secretary of Environment, along with personnel from the Barrick Gold Corporation today attempted to ascend to the mining camp located in the reaches of the Famatina mountain range. Women from the Assembly, alerted to the intrusion, gathered at site of the road blockade they have carried out for two years in Peñas Negras, lowering the metal bar built to deny passage to the mining company.
|On March 29, the Canadian government announced it's long-awaited response to calls for regulatory reforms ensuring that Canadian Extractive Companies abroad respect international environmental and human rights standards. Their report, aptly titled "Building the Canadian Advantage: A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector," is an insult to anyone concerned with defending human rights. It offers no tools for redressing the abuses of Canadian industry abroad and instead offers more subsidies to Canadian mining companies under the banner of CSR. According to a recent article in Embassy Magazine, "NGOs are holding the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Barrick Gold responsible" for the government's decision to pursue this strategy.|
On June 11th, 2008, the gold mining company Banro Corporation filed a 5
million dollar suit against Écosociété and the authors of Noir Canada.
This legal action came on the heels of another one filed by Barrick
Gold mining society in the amount of 6 million dollars. Due to their
limited financial means, Éditions Écosociété have filed a request
before the Ontario court in order to have the pursuit transferred to
Quebec. A legal action held in Ontario would mean duplication of the
heavy judicial procedures (days of interrogation, defense file
preparation, etc.) the authors and the publishing company have to go
through already, because of the suit filed by Barrick in Quebec. The
authors and the publishing company would also have to make regular
trips to Toronto, as they are all based in Montreal.
|Back-to-Back victories puncture Barrick's shiny veneer, expose deliberate deceit
Norway's Ministry of Finance announced January 30 that it would exclude mining giant Barrick Gold from the country's pension fund for ethical reasons. One week later, another victory against Barrick in Australia occurred when a judge ruled in favor of Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville "Chappy" Williams, in granting an injunction restraining the proposed expansion of Barrick Gold's mine in Lake Cowal, New South Wales. More significant than the $200 million divested from Barrick, or the delay in Lake Cowal mine's expansion, is the context that these rulings expose: one of deliberate deceit on the part of Barrick Gold, now Canada's largest publicly-traded company.
***with update! Within a few weeks of Norway's announcement, the Porgera MP Phillip Kikala made calls to impose a state of emergency
in Porgera, motivated by situation reports presented to him by Barrick
(PNG) Limited. The National Executive Council has now made a call out
for a combined defense force and police operation in Porgera including
five mobile forces and one platoon at a cost of $12 million PNG Kina.***
Based on a recommendation from the Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund – Global, the Ministry of Finance has excluded the Canadian mining company Barrick Gold Corporation from the Fund. Barrick mines for gold in the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea. The recommendation is based on the assessment that investing in the company entails an unacceptable risk of the Fund contributing to serious environmental damage.
Read the Council of Ethics full recomendation here.
A federal judge ruled Monday a massive gold mine project could proceed in northeast Nevada despite a bid by a Western tribe and conservationists to block it on religious and environmental grounds.
|On the morning of January 21, the paramilitary police units that were brought by the hundreds after last month's uprising by the local communities met a group of youth in an area where villagers' homes come right into the mine fence. Apparently, the paramilitaries started to chase the youth and in the process opened fire, killing Muhono Marwa Gibare and wounding Nyakebayi Chacha Nyakebayi and Maswi Bokobora. Muhono Marwa was shot in the back while running away from the police. He died instantly. This latest killing brings to two villagers who have died violently in that mine since last month and eight since Barrick apparently adopted their shoot-to-kill strategy in July of 2005.|
|The United States was voted the Worst Company in the World, followed by Monsanto, Peabody Energy Corp. and Barrick Gold.|
|In what appears to be a spontaneous civilian movement against Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold miner, thousands of people invaded Barrick`s North Mara Gold Mine this week in Tarime District and destroyed equipment worth $15 million. One villager, identified as Mang’weina Mwita Mang’weina, died in the confrontation.|
Come for a night of good food and conversation, linking corporate globalization and colonization.
The first of this documentary series features Jethro Tulin (Akali Tange Association) and Mark Ekepa (Chairman, Porgera Landowners Association) from the Enga Province of Papua New Guinea, where Barrick has its Porgera Mine.
Canada is the world's leading mining
nation. Sixty percent of all public mining companies are listed on the
Toronto Stock Exchange. About half of all mining capital is raised in
Canada. Many Canadian mining companies have become notorious for
damaging communities and the environment and fueling wars and
repression all over the world. The Canadian government has refused to
hold these corporations accountable leading to international criticism
|The issue includes case studies from the DR Congo, Ghana, Tanzania, as well as a report on Canadian civil society efforts to get regulations passed by the government to make company activities more favourable to African peoples’ interests.|
Home to fifty-seven percent of the world's mining companies, Canada leads the way in the global mining industry. But people the world over are raising complaints describing the mining industry as Canada's number one contribution to global injustice. Complaints include the displacement of indigenous communities, families being torn apart, destroyed livelihoods, ruined ecosystems and the erosion of ancient indigenous cultures.
Please join Toronto based photographer Allan Cedillo Lissner to discuss Someone Else's Treasure, an ongoing documentary project shedding light on the experiences of people around the world – including the Philippines, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Chile, and Canada – whose lives have been impacted by the global mining industry.
View Allan's photo's online at SomeoneElsesTreasure.blogspot.com.
See a review of Allan's show, written by Paul York.
|Please write a letter or email to the BLM expressing your opposition to the Cortez Hills Expansion Project|
|Emotions ran high during the release of a religious leaders' report on mining yesterday, with Anglican Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa held back tears when viewing a documentary on the life of communities evicted from their land to pave the way for large scale mining activities.|
Friends of the Earth
312 Smith Street, Collingwood, Melbourne
Jethro Tulin, Ipili, Papua New Guinea
Neville ‘Chappy’ Williams, Wiradjuri, Australia
Would you mine for gold in the National Cathedral? Stop the destruction of sacred Shoshone lands in NevadaThis Columbus Day, sacred sites are threatened by gold mining Canadian Barrick Gold wants to expand the Cortez gold mine in Nevada onto Mt. Tenabo, a site sacred to the Western Shoshone nation.
The Diaguita indigenous community in Huasco Alto, surrounded by rich gold, silver and copper deposits in the northern Chilean region of Atacama, are engaged in a struggle to prevent mining projects from infringing on their territory and destroying their way of life and ancestral identity.
On the evening of July 22nd, Barrick security guards open fired on the local villages using high powered assault raffles, M16 and shot guns on the harmless villages. The reckless use of excessive force resulted in instant death of the late Gipson Umbi. In the last few weeks, three more locals have died under mysteries circumstances at the mine site.
For more photos/captions, contact: sakura.saunders[at]gmail.com
Activists shame Barrick Gold at AMREF Gala
Tonight a number of activists with Protest Barrick Toronto crashed an African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF) gala, for which Barrick was a "Gold" sponsor. While not criticizing AMREF work, the protesters were critical of the NGO's praise of Barrick's work in Africa. They passed out fliers to gala participants until they were escorted out by AMREF security.
They highlighted the still unresolved Bulyanhulu massacre, the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of people at the Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines, the current jailing of 13 villagers for protesting displacement at Barrick's Buzwagi mine, and the lack of tax revenues that goes to the people of Tanzania.
These issues have previously been highlighted by reputable Tanzanian organizations such as the Lawyer's Environmental Action Team (LEAT) and Norwiegan Church Aid in Tanzania.
Read "A Golden Opportunity? Justice and Respect in Mining," written by Mark Curtis and Tundu Lissu, published by Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), National Council of Muslims in Tanzania (BAKWATA), and Tanzania Episcopal Conference.
Read LEAT's response to the CAO report on the Bulyahulu mine.
View LEAT's page on Barrick's Bulyanhulu Mine.
The world's largest gold mining company is claiming from the small not-for-profit publisher and the authors of "Noir Canada", $5 million in compensatory damages, and $1 million in punitive damages, which represent 25 times the annual operating revenue of Écosociété.http://slapp.ecosociete.org/en
find out what you can do to help!
|On the one-year anniversary of the road blockade in Peña Negra and "ouster" of Barrick Gold from the Famatina mountain range, it has been confirmed that Barrick Gold, with the complicity of the national and provincial government, has been secretly constructing a new entry road into the backside of the mountain. |
Greg Palast will interview Indigenous People who are fighting Barrick Gold's operations on their lands.
Argentina National Ombudsperson: Suspend Mining Operations in San Guillermo National ParkBarrick's Pascua-Lama and 10 mining projects others in jeopardy
San Juan, Argentina: Argentine national Ombudsperson Eduardo Mondino has recommended that metals mining exploration and operations be immediately suspended in a zone in the northwest of the province of San Juan. The report is based upon evidence presented in a lawsuit filed by environmentalist Ricardo Vargas in the Argentine supreme court.
This April and May, hear voices of communities directly affected by the operations of Barrick Gold. "Meet the Resistance" brings together community voices from Australia, Papua New Guinea, the U.S., and Chile to share their experiences in going up against the world's largest gold miner.
Check more link for schedule!
see bios for the presenters.
Thursday, September 6 kicked off Merrill Lynchs Canada's 13th Annual Mining Conference, an invitation-only conference for institutional investors, mining analysts and the executive management of North American mining companies. During this conference, the Canadian Institute for International Affairs hosted a forum on "Canada's Responsibility Abroad," a meeting stacked with industry representatives, attended by a government agency, and organized to promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the mining industry. The meeting was countered by a group of protesters outside and inside the forum; the protesters demanded mandatory regulation of the mining industry and handed out information illustrating the abuses of this industry abroad, including specific critiques of Barrick Gold pointing to their repeated misrepresentation of information in an attempt to appear socially responsibile.
August 2 marks the publishing date of Barrick Gold's second quarter results. With profits down by 14 percent, the Pascua Lama project delayed, and Norway's pension fund considering pulling their investment on ethical grounds, things aren't looking good for this gold mining giant. But, are any of these developments a big surprise? There are many shareholders who might think so, but that is only because Barrick has been systematically hiding vital information from them through glaring omissions and outright lies.
"Barrick's Dirty Secrets: Communities Worldwide Respond to Gold Mining's Impacts"
Download the CorpWatch report, which details the struggles against Barrick Gold.
Este informe, perﬁl de Barrick Gold, la mayor empresa minera aurífera del mundo, es una ilustración de los problemas que causa en la actualidad la industria del oro. En estas páginas, se presentan numerosos ejemplos donde los intereses de Barrick y los intereses de las comunidades en cuyo interior la empresa realiza sus explotaciones, van unos en contra de otros frontalmente. Desde evitar toda responsabilidad por la destructiva herencia ambiental que dejan sus proyectos o aliarse a políticos corruptos, hasta recurrir a la policía para que reprima con violencia (y que a veces mate) a los críticos de la actividad minera, el poder de Barrick en estas luchas conﬁgura un caso que exige intervención urgente.
Entre los grupos comunitarios que luchan contra Barrick se cuentan desde autoridades gubernamentales y tribales locales hasta asambleas de madres contra la minería y otros grupos de base que atraen miles de adherentes. La valerosa entrega de estos activistas a su obra es asimismo peligrosa y agotadora, y sirve para ilustrar la realidad concreta de Barrick y otras empresas similares. No hace falta decir que esta perspectiva sobre la minería, que tan escasa resonancia tiene, no presagia nada bueno para la industria en su totalidad, ya que procede de quienes se hallan afectados de cerca por sus explotaciones.
Protests and Strike precede Barrick Gold’s 3rd quarter shareholders meeting
Lea el articulo en español.
On one side of the world in Chile, over a thousand people went into the streets with costumes, music, and dancing to protest the proposed Pascua Lama gold project – a multi-billion dollar project that Barrick has been boasting since the late 90’s – which threatens the fertile Huasco Valley. Meanwhile, almost the same number of strikers at Barrick’s Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania refused to work after negotiations with Barrick management brokedown over salaries, working conditions, medical care and other contentious issues. Within four days, Barrick fired every striking worker.
Remembering when Pascua Lama Opposition was Mainstream
Firing the Opposition will only make it burn Stronger
In Tanzania, it has been almost ten years since an estimated 30,000-400,000 small-scale miners were forced off the Buyanhulu mine site to make way for corporate mining. But this week’s decision to fire the thousand striking miners will no doubt rekindle this historic resentment. The deal to take this mining concession away from these small-scale miners was brokered by Sutton Resources’ CEO James Sinclair, who was a friend of the president of Tanzania and several senior ministers, as was his daughter.
Mine water use apparently ignored in water crisisAboriginal elders and environmental activists are calling for mining in the Lachlan Catchment of New South Wales to be halted as the Wyangala Dam dries up.
Activists protest open-pit mines by staking claim to Mount Royal
NOTE: While this article mentions the presence of community representatives from Mexico, Honduras, Chile, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and Malartic, Quebec. The communities organized against Barrick – from Argentina, Chile, and Papua New Guinea – were the only communities whose struggles were not mentioned in the body of this article.
The Quebec government's decision to protect the famed Mount Royal from mining companies didn't deter a group of activists from staking their own claims to the Montreal landmark yesterday.
In an effort to draw attention to the many international communities that are forced to live beside Canadian-operated open-pit gold mines, the activists sealed off a large swath of Mount Royal, which dominates the city's landscape.
Dressed in hard hats and white coveralls - the logo of their mock company RoyalOr emblazoned on the back - and toting tape, stakes and surveying equipment, the activists neatly placed the legal documentation affirming their mining rights claim in an envelope addressed to the province's Natural Resources Department and toasted their feat with a bottle of champagne.
"It's going to be a beautiful, beautiful open-pit mine," actor-cum-activist Jason McLean told the group of about 80 participants. "Imagine a big hole right here.
"Yes, we'll have evictions. ... nobody will suffer. Everyone will be okay with a mine in Montreal."
The participants included activists from Mexico, Honduras, Chile, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and Malartic, Que. - all of whom are fighting Canadian gold mining companies that have set up in their communities.
Carlos Amador of Honduras said local residents in Valle de Siria are suffering a variety of health problems due to water contamination from mines, while farmers have seen their businesses collapse as rivers and wells have dried out because of the mine's massive consumption of water.
Enrique Rivera Sierra of Mexico said while communities have won court cases against Canadian mining companies, corrupt government officials have allowed environmental and land title abuses to persist and those who speak out have faced beatings, death threats and worse.
Meanwhile, Nicole Kirouac of the 3,800-strong town of Malartic said the mining project in her community in northwestern Quebec has forced the relocation of 200 families and the destruction of five of the town's eight public buildings.
Yesterday's stunt, aimed at drawing attention to the perils of open-pit gold mining and calling for changes to mining laws, drew the attention of the provincial government.
On Friday, the department responsible for mines declared Mount Royal a protected zone that is off limits to surveyors.
A department spokeswoman said it was simply an added precaution as the landmark was declared a historic site in 2005.
"We effectively imposed an additional moratorium but, regardless, a mining company couldn't just stake a claim on Mount Royal without permission from the city [which owns the land] and the Culture Department because it's a historic site," Jolyane Pronovost said.
Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert, a McGill University professor of Mexican history and one of the event organizers, saw it as a small victory.
"The message is to start thinking about what's actually happening elsewhere in the world, what's happening in Quebec and Ontario," he said.
Noting Ontario is the only province so far to look at modernizing its archaic mining laws, he called on Quebec and other provinces to do the same.
His group also wants the government to provide legal recourse to international communities that are adversely affected by the mining practices of Canadian companies abroad.
The Question of Sustainability An Examination of the Canadian Mining Industry: environment, cultures, and economics
The Question of Sustainability Conference aims to build a movement for change within Canada. This conference provided the space for people within Canada to interact with affected communities and each other, and the conference format prioritized facilitating conversations focused on solutions to ending corporate impunity.
The Question of Sustainability is a conference dedicated to examining the Canadian mining industry through the lens of sustainability within ecosystems, human rights, culture, and economics.
Featuring speakers from Papua New Guinea, Chile, the Congo, Guatemala, Tanzania and Peru, as well as many First Nations speakers and academics from Canada. This conference brings together indigenous people from the global south and the global north, and serves to address some of the complex social, political and environmental issues that relate to the imposition of extractive industries on traditional cultures.
Call for Govt to reform mining sector
The government has been urged to come up with a policy that will ensure people living around the mining areas enjoy the benefits accrued from their God-given resources.