Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

CANADIAN MINING COMPANIES

Posted by strattof on February 3, 2010

CANADIAN MINING COMPANIES: HUMAN RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL VIOLATIONS

AVATAR 

If you have seen the movie Avatar, you will have a good idea how some Canadian mining companies operate in poor countries. Like the mining company in Avatar:

  • They develop mines without adequate consultation and in violation of the rights of Indigenous peoples.
  • They do irreparable environmental damage.
  • They engage in corrupt practices and intimidation tactics.
  • They contribute directly or indirectly to violence.
  • They plunder resources.

CANADA: A MINING SUPERPOWER

Canada is a superpower in the global mining industry, with 60% of the world’s mining companies based in Canada, generating $50 billion a year for Canadians. Some of these Canadian mining companies have been implicated in major human rights violations and environmental degradation in countries of the Global South. For example:   

MEXICO: BLACKFIRE EXPLORATION

Blackfire Exploration, head-quartered in Calgary, operates an open-pit barite mine in Chiapas Mexico. Community opposition to the mine charges Blackfire with appropriating and despoiling farmland, contaminating water sources, and failing to provide promised infrastructure and health services. Documented evidence confirms Blackfire’s involvement in the corruption of local officials for the purpose of intimidating opponents to the mine. In November 2009, the anti-mining movement’s leader, Mariano Abarca, was shot and killed. Three men linked to Blackfire have been arrested for his murder.

EL SALVADOR: PACIFIC RIM MINING COMPANY

In 2009, three community activists were assassinated in the Cabañas region of El Salvador. All three were members of a citizens group opposed to the gold mining projects of Pacific Rim, a Vancouver-based company. The mines would use cyanide to extract gold from the ore. Used cyanide solution is a deadly toxin that causes irreversible damage to water, land, and human health. Because of widespread community opposition, the government of El Salvador has denied Pacific Rim extraction permits. In response, Pacific Rim first acquired an American subsidiary and, then, under the “Corporate Rights” chapter of the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement, launched a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Government of El Salvador. 

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: BANRO

Toronto-based Banro is one of 8 Canadian mining companies named in a 2002 United Nations report for plundering resources from a nation in the grip of war.  The report also accused the companies of contributing directly or indirectly to the war in the Congo in which over 5 million people have died. In 2009, Banro signed an agreement with the Congolese government allowing the company to develop gold mines worth $13 billion, in return for royalty revenues of 1%. The agreement also gives the company a 10 year tax holiday. While it is a great deal for Banro shareholders, it is at the expense of the people of the Congo, a country that ranks 176th out of 182 countries on the UN’s poverty index.    

LIFE BEFORE PROFIT: HOLDING CANADIAN MINING COMPANIES RESPONSIBLE

The Canadian government is considering adopting a bill on corporate accountability, Bill C-300. If passed, the bill will hold Canadian mining companies responsible for human rights and environmental violations in other countries. To find out more about Bill C-300, go to www.miningwatch.ca /en/urgent and click on “Urgent Action.” 

TAKE ACTION: SUPPORT BILL C-300

  • Sign the enclosed postcard and drop it in the mail. Postage is not required on mail to the Prime Minister.
  • Go to www.amnesty.ca. Under “Take Action,” click on “Write for Rights.” Scroll down to “Send a message to Michael Ignatieff” and click on “MORE.”
  • Go to www.miningwatch.ca/en/urgent. Click on “Urgent Action” and scroll down to “Write to the Standing Committee.”  

MAKING PEACE VIGIL January 14 2010

 

 

 

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