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.
|Marinduque solons oppose $20-M Barrick Gold settlement|
Business Mirror (Philippines)
February 22nd, 2014
TWO lawmakers have opposed a $20-million compensation offer being dangled by a mining company in connection with the 1996 Marcopper mine tailing spill, considered the worst mining disaster in the Philippines. “This will not also address the repair of the Maguila-guila and Makulapnit siltation dams and Taipan pit. The said dams are in danger of collapse due to its considerably weakened walls and the big volume of water and silt contained therein. Its collapse will unleash a huge quantity of water and silt to the towns of Boac, Mogpog and possibly other towns in Marinduque which will result to loss of a great number of lives and millions of pesos in damage to homes and properties."
|Tanzania's gold rush and housing crush|
by Victoria Schneider, Al Jazeera
Mayenda says the Buzwagi Gold Mine is the reason the buildings collapsed, and she is not alone. Other villagers say their mud houses crack and collapse because of blasting at the open pit - Tanzania's largest. They say their children's coughs come from the dust blown over the village, and the water from the local wells is polluted from mine waste.
|Philippines: Marinduque 'pushed to the wall' by Barrick Gold |
by Catherine Coumans, Mining Watch Canada via Rabble.ca
October 22nd, 2013
Canada’s Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold mining company that bought out Placer Dome, has spent the better half of a decade fighting the province in court rather than owning up to the company’s responsibility to put things right in Marinduque. Once again, Marinduque is the bellwether, evidence that for all its rhetoric about “responsible mining,” the mining industry is still more concerned with its bottom line than in doing what’s right. In spite of a long legal struggle with competent American lawyers, on September 17, Marinduque provincial administrator Eleuterio Raza told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Inquirer) that Barrick was offering the province around 20 million dollars, take it or leave it. According to the Inquirer “[t]he amount, however, would further be reduced to $13.5 million after litigation expenses had been paid. ‘These are crumbs,’ said Raza, ‘but we are being pushed to the wall.’” It is perfectly clear that this extremely low level of recovery from Barrick is woefully inadequate to protect the health and safety of Marinduquenos, which can only be secured through the comprehensive rehabilitation of all contaminated ecosystems and the stabilization or removal of shoddy dams and structures in the mountains of the island, as well as the tons of toxic waste that these dams are barely containing.
|Philippines: Marinduque 'pushed to the wall' by Barrick Gold|
October 22nd, 2013
In the Philippines, the island province of Marinduque is known as a cautionary tale about the ravages of irresponsible mining. It took Canadian mining giant Placer Dome a couple of decades to wreak environmental destruction on major coral reefs in Calancan Bay and to severely contaminate the Mogpog and Boac Rivers with toxic mine waste -- none of which has ever been cleaned up. The ongoing environmental impacts are only part of the story.
|Sickness and wealth: Shiny new mine, rusty pollution problems
September 21st, 2013
Residents are suing PVDC, claiming that the new mine is poisoning rivers, causing illnesses and the death of farm animals. They want the government to release the environmental-impact assessment for Pueblo Viejo, which it has so far refused to do.
|Five whistleblowers speak out against Barrick, court documents reveal|
Court documents filed by Labaton Sucharow LLP on August 2, 2013 related to a class action lawsuit on behalf of shareholders of Barrick Gold 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.
|Confidential Witness reports related to class action against Barrick Gold|
by compiled by Sakura Saunders (with protestbarrick.net), filer: Labaton Sucharow
August 3rd, 2013
The following is excerpts from court documents filed by Labaton Sucharow LLP on August 2, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. These documents were related to a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of persons or entities who purchased the publicly-traded common stock of Barrick Gold Corporation on the New York Stock Exchange between May 7, 2009 and May 23, 2013. The excerpts focus on information related to the testimony of former employees of Barrick Gold acting as confidential witnesses (CW1 - CW5) in the case.
|The Case Against Barrick Gold: Why Shareholders are turning on this mining giant|
by Sakura Saunders, Special to ProtestBarrick
July 26th, 2013
On June 5, 2013, Lewis and Patricia Clark filed a class action lawsuit for themselves and other shareholders against the world's largest gold miner for “making false and misleading statements and concealed material information” relating to Pascua-Lama’s delays and costs. The class covers everyone who bought Barrick common stock between May 7, 2009, and May 23, 2013. Since this date, at least 9 law-firms have taken on the case against Barrick.
|Exclusive: Chile indigenous group likely to appeal Barrick ruling: lawyer|
by Alexandra Ulmer, Reuters
July 18th, 2013
A Chilean indigenous group will likely ask the Supreme Court to review a lower court decision on Barrick Gold Corp's Pascua-Lama gold mine, because the ruling does not go far enough to protect the environment, a lawyer representing the group told Reuters on Thursday.
|Tanzania: Tarime Boy Drowns in Gold Mine Sand Pit|
by AMBROSE WANTAIGWA, Tanzania Daily News
July 11th, 2013
THREE people died in separate incidents in Mara Region including a fifteen-year-old boy identified as Matiko Chacha who drowned in North Mara Mine's Gokona pit, police have said.
|VIDEO: Diaguita Sing Against Barrick Gold|
A video and song by Pedro Martinez, a member of the ethnic Diaguita who are opposed to Barrick Gold on their lands.
by Tim Elliot, Sydney Morning Herald - Good Weekend
In the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, the locals are largely locked out of the wealth of a lucrative goldmine. Tim Elliott meets a few brave young men determined to claim just a tiny piece of pie.
|Barrick's Pascua Lama could wind up costing US$10bn, analyst says|
by Alexandra Demo-Dananberg, BN Americas
June 26th, 2013
Canadian Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama project on the border of Chile and Argentina could wind up costing US$10bn to build, according to Credit Suisse analyst Anita Soni.
|Open letter to Corporate Knights regarding Barrick's placement at #4 on "Best 50 of 2013"|
June 14th, 2013
I am writing in response to your recent "Best 50 of 2013" listing, where you place Barrick Gold in the position of 4th best corporate citizen. You acknowledged that awarding them this honour would stir controversy, as you acknowledge the company has many accusations placed against it for human rights abuses, and even the Chilean government recently shut down its Pascua Lama project due to "environmental irregularities". Still, referencing "publicly disclosed data points that can be compared across companies", you insist that Barrick is a corporate leader.
|Corporate Knights defend abusive corporations
by Sakura Saunders, An edited version appeared in NOW Magazine
June 13th, 2013
You only need to check out Corporate Knights magazine’s just-issued Best 50 Corporate Citizens In Canada index to get that “clean capitalism” is all show, no substance.
|Why NZ Super dumped Barrick Gold|
by Tim Hunter, Timaru Herald via stuff.co.nz
Why NZ Super dumped Barrick Gold
|Barrick fined $16m for Pascua-Lama violations|
by LUIS ANDRES HENAO, Associated Press
May 24th, 2013
Chile's environmental regulator blocked Barrick Gold Corp.'s $8.5 billion Pascua-Lama project on Friday and imposed its maximum fine on the world's largest gold miner, citing "very serious" violations of its environmental permit as well as a failure by the company to accurately describe what it had done wrong.
|New Zealand Superannuation Fund excludes Barrick Gold and subsidiary African Barrick Gold on responsible investment grounds|
New Zealand Superannuation Fund
May 13th, 2013
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has excluded global mining company Barrick Gold Corporation and its subsidiary African Barrick Gold from its $22 billion investment portfolio on responsible investment grounds.
|Q&A: Sen. Allende on Barrick Gold’s controversial Chilean mine|
by Kalynne Dakin, Santiago Times
May 8th, 2013
The Socialist Party senator addresses constituent and worker concerns as US$8.5 billion Pascua-Lama mine faces shutdown.