Support the Dominion
Support the Dominion
Originally published in the Canadian Dimension magazine, September/October 2008 issue
Guided by resource discovery and the heavy-handed rule of the free market, the mining of gold today is “rush-mining,” much as it was a century ago. From the Indigenous lands of Brazil to those in Canada, from Tanzania to the Philippines, whenever gold is discovered, local communities are forced to migrate or attempt to adjust to the new industry. In fact, only eleven per cent of the gold mined worldwide has a practical use in technologies like biomedicine or electronics. Meanwhile, seventy per cent is used for jewellery, with the rest going to investment. Some 35,000 tonnes of gold simply sit in bank vaults around the world, while the environment and innumerable communities are destroyed for its excavation.
Canada plays a huge role in this global market, being home to the largest gold-mining corporations in the world. At the very top reigns Barrick Gold, with others like Goldcorp, Gabriel and Pacific Rim close behind. Collectively they mine on every continent except Antarctica, on which mining is forbidden. But not all gold is excavated by large, corporate colonialists, nor is all of it done abroad. One quarter comes from artisanal or small-scale mining, and minimal but continuous extraction takes place at home (mostly in Ontario and Quebec.)
Countries in Central America and Central Africa have low environmental regulations and worker-safety requirements. They are resource-rich, and are therefore a lucrative destination for Canadian businesses. At home, even though most resource extraction takes place on Indigenous lands, we have relatively strict extraction, land-use and environmental laws, meaning most companies strive to mine offshore.
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.