Gold mining is a highly consumptive and environmentally destructive industry. In addition to the landscapes that is destroys, gold mining (especially open pit gold mining) creates massive amounts of toxic waste that often causes acid mine drainage and heavy metal contamination.
Water depletion is a major negative consequence of gold mining. The large amount of water required to run a gold mining operation exacerbates its impact on local communities, many of which are already experiencing drought.
|Acid Mine Drainage|
Open pit mining creates great waste for a small yield. On average, it takes 79 tons of waste to extract one ounce of gold, according to a conservative estimate by the No Dirty Gold campaign, a project of EarthWorks and Oxfam. The process involves grinding up ore, and then exposing it to cyanide in order to extract the gold. Sulfides in the crushed rocks interact with air and water to create sulfuric acid, which in turn creates acid mine drainage (AMD). In and of itself, AMD is harmful to ecosystems because it makes water too acidic to support life. Additionally, the sulfuric acid in AMD leaches out other substances from the waste ore, such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, which can have disastrous health effects, and can contaminate both air and water. Gold mining has been linked to 96 percent of the world’s arsenic emissions.
Cyanide is the chemical-of-choice for mining companies to extract gold from crushed ore, despite the fact that leaks or spills of this chemical are extremely toxic to fish, plant life and human beings. Cyanide is a deadly chemical, used in the gas chambers of the Second World War and on death row in the United States between 1930-1980. The chemical has caused havoc in water systems across the world with over 30 spills in the last five years.
|Fly Over of Barrick Gold's Mine in Lake Cowal|
by Natalie Lowrey, Special to protestbarrick.net
February 4th, 2013
On Monday 4th February 2013, Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Nevillle 'Chappy' Williams and ProtestBarrick.net co-founders and editors Sakura Saunders (Canada) and Natalie Lowrey (Australia) took a cessna plane from Forbes to Lake Cowal in central western New South Wales, Australia to document a gold mine in the lake. 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.
|Million-Liter Cyanide Spill in Argentina Highlights Canadian Mining Crimes|
by Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams
October 25th, 2015
Highlighting how corporate extractivism and lack of accountability is driving the destruction of Latin American communities, a Canadian mining company has now confirmed that more than one million liters of cyanide solution spilled from the Barrick Gold Veladero mine in San Juan, Argentina this month—making the spill more than four times larger than originally estimated.
|UN experts analyze water samples in San Juan after cyanide spill|
Buenos Aires Herald
September 20th, 2015
A group of United Nations (UN) experts started to analyze water samples of the rivers Jachal, Las Taguas and Blanco in San Juan to see if they have been polluted with cyanide, following an industrial malfunction at the Veladero mine that caused a pipe carrying the lethal substance to fracture.
|Leak poisons Barrick Gold’s reputation|
by Michael Lerner , Blouin News Business
September 18th, 2015
An Argentine judge on Wednesday ordered a five-day suspension of the gold leaching process at Barrick Gold Corp.’s Veladero mine in San Juan province. The purpose is to check if there was any environmental damage from a 15,000 liter cyanide leak on Sunday caused by a faulty valve. Local residents of Jáchal, outraged and fearful of their water supply being contaminated, began protesting as soon as they found out, and spurred the governments of the province and the nation to action.
|Porgera’s new joint owner has a terrible record in China|
by Yang Chuanmin, The Guardian UK
Chinese Zijin Mining has bought a 49.5% stake in Barrick Gold’s already troubled Porgera mine. The new owner has a terrible environmental and human rights record in China
|Barrick AGM statement by Jethro Tulin, Executive officer of Porgera Alliance and Akali Tange Association|
by Jethro Tulin, Porgera Alliance, Akali Tange Association
April 28th, 2015
|Court to hear injunction request against Barrick Gold extractions in Dominican Republic|
April 22nd, 2015
Sanchez Ramirez province (northeast) Civil Court judge Jacqueline Y. Ramos will hear on April 28 the request for an injunction to halt mining against Barrick Gold’s local operation Pueblo Viejo Dominicana filed by the missionary Rafael Guillén, EFE reports.
|Chile regulator seeks new sanctions against Barrick's Pascua-Lama|
April 22nd, 2015
Chile's environmental regulator SMA said on Wednesday it will seek new sanctions against Barrick Gold Corp's massive Pascua-Lama gold and silver project, further complicating the possibility that the suspended mine might resume construction.
|Swedish Public Funds Drop Stocks over Ethics Concerns|
Chief Investment Officer
April 9th, 2015
The Ethics Council, formed by four of Sweden’s national pension funds, has excluded three companies from investment portfolios after deciding further dialogue over their concerns would be fruitless.
|Science on Trial at Pascua Lama|
Chile’s environmental court ruled on Monday that Pascua Lama, the Andean nation’s most controversial mine, is not responsible for damage done to three glaciers near the mine site. While the mine’s operations will remain suspended due to a variety of other challenges, the decision was a setback for local environmental groups, who seek to protect the country’s glaciers. Some say it also represents a defeat for Chile’s scientific institutions.
|Barrick faces multi-billion dollar suit over Porgera mine|
by Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.com
March 19th, 2015
Canada's Barrick Gold (NYSE, TSX:ABX), in the midst of a worldwide assets sale to help reduce net debt by at least $3 billion, has something else to worry about these days, as the firm is now facing a legal threat in Papua New Guinea.
|Unveiling Medals, Veiling Abuse: A profile of the mines sourcing PanAm Medals|
by compiled by Sakura Saunders
March 3rd, 2015
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.
|Mine Landowners: Settle issues first|
February 19th, 2015
Landowners along the Pogera river who were affected by environmental damages caused by the Porgera Gold Mine have petitioned the government to intervene on their request for the developer Barrick Gold to compensate them for the damages caused to their environment and river systems.
|VIDEO: an inside look at Barrick's Porgera Mine in Papua New Guinea |
This film originally appeared on French Television and offers an inside look on the ground at Barrick's Porgera Mine in Papua New Guinea.
|Nevada court hears Barrick Gold-Philippines province appeal|
by Ken Ritter, AP
February 4th, 2015
A Philippine island province that experienced mining waste disasters in the 1990s but has been unable to find a court to hear its claim for damages is asking Nevada's highest court to rekindle a nearly 10-year-old state lawsuit against Barrick Gold Corp.
|Protest in Nevada: Mining companies must pay full costs to remedy harm EVERYWHERE they operate|
by Catherine Coumans
February 3rd, 2015
Today, south of Canada in the US state of Nevada, lawyers for the Province of Marinduque squared off against lawyers for Barrick Gold. Marinduque is holding Barrick Gold responsible for providing remedy for multiple disastrous mine waste failures in Marinduque that have caused serious damage to major river and sea ecosystems and have harmed many Marinduquenos. Last year, Barrick tried to make the law suit go away by offering Marinduque $20 million (of which the province would only get about $12 million after legal and administrative fees). The Province of Marinduque rightly turned down this grossly inadequate offer with its many onerous conditions. And so, the Province is back in court continuing the battle against Barrick for a fair settlement that will allow the Province to clean up the mess that mining has left behind.
|Dominican activists decry mining projects as ‘new form of colonialism’
by Renee Lewis, Al Jazeera
January 28th, 2015
If the beauty and clean water of Loma Miranda is the before of mining projects in the Dominican Republic, Cotui, a town just an hour away in the Sánchez Ramírez province, is the after. A red-tinged and shrunken waterway welcomes visitors to Cotuí. It once supplied fresh water to residents. “The animals already knew,” said Mayobanex Arias, a rancher walking his cattle across a bridge over the river. “They would test the water, then not drink it.”
|Chile regulator says could cancel permit for Barrick's Pascua-Lama
January 21st, 2015
Chile's environmental regulator is re-evaluating penalties on Barrick Gold Corp's Pascua-Lama project, a process that could include cancelling the embattled mine's permit, the head of the government body told a local daily newspaper.
|Mine expansion may threaten Nevada's largest deer herd|
by Jeff DeLong, RGJ, Reno Gazette Journal
January 9th, 2015
The planned expansion of a major gold mine in northeast Nevada could cause big problems for Nevada's largest herd of mule deer, a sportsmen and conservationist group contends. The Coalition for Nevada's Wildlife is urging people to weigh in on Barrick Gold Corp.'s proposed expansion of its Bald Mountain Mine, a project the group insists could disrupt a key migration route used by deer in the winter.
|‘Please tell people about this:’ London students’ horror at Dominican Republic mines|
by Mark Spowart, Metro
October 27th, 2014
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.