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Villagers crowd into increasingly squashed quarters as their homes fall victim to mine-related landslides and police-instigated arson. Photo: Sakura Saunders

Mining Through Roots: Displacement, Poverty and the Global Extractive Industry

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.

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A photo of Mr. Jalil Rieki, information secretary of Baloch Republican Party (BRP), is being held my his wife and two kids. To this day, his whereabouts are unknown. Photo: Baloch Human Rights Council

Underground Diplomacy

Canada’s transnational mining industry implicated in abuses

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.

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Barrick Gold Year in review

One Company, 9 Countries, Countless abuses

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.

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photos: Allan.Lissner.net

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
WHAT: Barrick Gold's annual shareholders meeting
WHERE: Metro Convention Center, 255 Front St. Downtown Toronto

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!


HUASCOALTINOS CLAIM IS ADMITTED BY THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: a statement from the Diaguita Huascoaltinos

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.

The case was submitted to the IACHR in June 2007 by Nancy Yañez, the attorney representing the Huascoaltinos. However, the analysis of the substantive arguments of the case was delayed because of the repeated extensions sought by the State of Chile. Chile also requested that the case not be admitted to prosecute, arguing formal filing failures. But after 3 years of study, the Commission did not agree with the State of Chile’s claims. Instead, the IACHR declared our allegation, which states that there was a Denial of Justice when the State of Chile granted an environmental qualification to the development of Pascua Lama Mining Project in our ancient territories, admissible. 

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AMNESTY: This Valentine's Day, send an e-card that will help support human rights.

Between 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.

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photo: allan.lissner.net

Canada's Long Road to Mining Reform

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.

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Once Upon a Water Source

Freelance photojournalist, Jessie Boylan, collects testimonies and photos from community impacted by a toxic spill in May 2009 at Barrick Gold's North Mara Mine in Tanzania

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.

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Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani.-file photo, Dawn.com

Raisani says no mining license granted for Reko Dik project

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.

Speaking to journalists in his chambers, he said the company had violated the contract, which had been signed only for exploring minerals.

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Government Study: Chilean Gold Mine Threatens Local Glaciers

Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold accused of failing to comply with environmental legislation

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.

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Urgent Appeal: Write to Barrick Gold to Protest Refusal to Reinstate Union Leader

UPDATEAfter 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.

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Amnesty International’s investigations indicate that at least 130 buildings, including well established solid houses, were destroyed by police in Wuangima and Kulapi villages between 27 April and July 2009. photo: Akali Tange Association

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Papua New Guinea Porgera update: Companies accept that police forced communities from their homes near Porgera mine

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

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US court blocks huge gold mine project in Nevada

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.

In a rare legal setback for the mining industry in the nation's largest gold-producing state, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction to force Barrick Gold Corp. to postpone digging a 2,000-foot deep open pit at the Cortez Hills mine.

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Toronto Star's front page in this Sunday's paper

FINALLY! A series of important mining articles in this week's Toronto Star

Mainstream press in Canada is reporting on Canadian Mining abuses abroad

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.

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Cover of "Alternative" report on Barrick Gold, modeled after Barrick's own magazine dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility.

CIDA's Anti-oversight Agenda

Canadian Government Agency Sponsors Voluntary Approach to Corporate Regulation

Read article and report en español.

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.

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Albadina Carmona (left) and Sergio Campusano (right) of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos, and Daniella (center), who lives and works with the Diaguita Huascoaltinos. Albadina Carmona (left) and Sergio Campusano (right) of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos, and Daniela Guzman (center), who lives and works with the Diaguita Huascoaltinos – all wearing jeans!

Mining company dresses real indigenous people in fake ‘Indian’ costumes

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.

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Neville "Chappy" Williams on the front page of the Cowra Guardian Newspaper

Activists call for mine closures in face of Lachlan water crisis

Aboriginal 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.
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Porgera Village Elder Points to Former Farming Land. Credit: Damian Baker.

Porgera Update

PNG Paradise Lost

Independent photojournalist, Damian Baker is currently in Papua New Guinea. He has recently visited Barrick Gold's Porgera mine and filed the following reports:

Porgera Gold Mine: Killings and Burnt Villages
Ipili & the Porgera Valley
Porgera: PNG Paradise Lost
Porgera Valley PNG: Paradise Lost (VIDEO)


Sergio Campusano, testifying at a Parliamentary press conference in Ottawa, Canada. photo: Allan Lissner (allan.lissner.net)

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


Children standing in toxic tailings near Barrick's Porgera mine in PNG. Photo: Catherine Coumans

Papua New Guinea landowners threaten to shut down Barrick mine

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.

Their petition addresses long-standing concerns at this controversial mine. The petition describes conditions and exploitation at the mine as “appalling and relentless” and demands resettlement of the people within the Special Mining Lease area, amongst other demands.

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