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El Salvador's gold fight goes international

Five representatives of five organizations in El Salvador that form part of the National Coalition Against Mining, known as La Mesa, were in Washington, DC last month to accept the Letelier-Moffitt International Human Rights Award. The recognition comes at an interesting time as the group's successes in blocking mining exploitation in their small country, have brought about a unique legal situation. Namely, a Canadian mining company is suing the government of El Salvador for $100 million, through a US subsidiary under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The Real News followed the group of activists around Washington, DC, and interviewed the CEO and president of the company behind the suit, Pacific Rim. Produced by Jesse Freeston.

March 17, 2010 Mar 17 by Jesse Freeston, RNN

Goldcorp shows little respect for local population

In the surroundings of San Marcos, Guatemala, the gold and silver mine of the Canadian Goldcorp Inc. which operates in Guatemala under the name Montana Explorada, has been ready for extraction since 2004. This is yet another blow for the environment and health of the communities of San Miguel and surroundings.

March 17, 2010 Mar 17 by LaRuta.nu
August 18, 2009 Weblog:

[DETAINED] : Mariano Abarca, Mexican Community Leader organizing against Canadian Mining

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Photo: Landholder Mariano Abarca speaking about an ongoing blockade in his community in Chiapas against Canadian mining corporation Blackfire. Abarca, a well-known opponent of Canadian mining corporations in his municipality, was [detained] on August 17, 2009. REMA.

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UPDATE POSTED AUGUST 19th by MiningWatch.ca:

Update (August 19, 2009): Mariano Abarca is safe and sound. Thank you to all who responded to the urgent action.

According to the latest reports, Mariano Abarca is being held by the Public Ministry in Tuxtla Gutiérrez; the armed men who abducted him seem to have been undercover police. He was not injured and is reportedly being held on charges of disturbing the peace, blocking public roads, organized crime, criminal association, and 200,000 pesos in damages, all relating to a blockade that Abarca and other residents have maintained against Blackfire Resources' mining operations since June of this year.

According to the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA), Mariano's abduction and arrest, and the overblown charges, are clear attempts to criminalise legitimate protest, intimidate local people, and disrupt the group's planned August 29-30 meeting in Chicomuselo. REMA spokespeople say they are working to secure Abarca's release, and that the meeting will go ahead regardless.

Clearly the immediate local and international response have been very helpful in assuring Abarca's security. We are awaiting word from REMA as to what further actions are needed.

[update posted by MiningWatch Canada @ http://www.miningwatch.ca/index.php?/blackfire/ua_mariano_abarca]

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ORIGINAL DOMINION BLOG RE-POST:

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Reposting of a REMA (Mexican Network of Communities Affected by Mining) urgent action:

» continue reading "[DETAINED] : Mariano Abarca, Mexican Community Leader organizing against Canadian Mining"

August 2, 2009 Weblog:

Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras

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[The communities in the Siria Valley, gravely affected by Goldcorp's San Martin mine in Honduras, would argue with Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas, Peter Kent, who stated to CBC that "Canadians should be proud of Goldcorp..." Photo: Siria Valley Environmental Committee.]

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[re-posted from www.RIGHTSACTION.org email list]:

IN RESPONSE TO MR. PETER KENT:
CANADA’S INCREASINGLY COMPLICIT ROLE IN HONDURAS

Day 36 of Honduran Coup Resistance, August 2, 2009
(Alert#41)

On July 29, The Current radio program, of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), aired a 2-part discussion about “Canada’s role in Honduras”: part one with Grahame Russell of Rights Action; part two with Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas.

To listen: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200907/20090729.html

As Peter Kent spoke second, and responded to points Grahame made, we publish this in response to comments made by Mr. Kent.

GENERAL COMMENT: BODY COUNT RISING

Honduran teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo died in hospital on Saturday, August 1, two days after he was shot point-blank in the head by a police officer during a peaceful protest.

As one listens to the 2-part CBC interview and reads the comments below, keep in mind that Mr. Kent represents the government of Canada. He is not speaking in his personal capacity. Keep in mind, also, that the OAS (Organization of American States), one month ago, unequivocally called for the “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya and his government – “immediate” and “unconditional”.

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» continue reading "Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras"

July 23, 2009 Weblog:

Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining: DEFENDING THE SACRED WIRADJURI HEARTLAND ["AUSTRALIA"]

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[Indigenous Ipili human rights activist Jethro Tulin and traditional landowner Mark Ekepa from Papua New Guinea listen to NEVILLE "CHAPPY" WILLIAMS denounce Barrick Gold mine in sacred heartland of Wiradjuri People. PHOTO: Sandra Cuffe, 2008.]
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RE-POSTING EXCERPT FROM 'MOTHER AFRICA' BLOG - http://justiceinunjustworld.blogspot.com/ - BY AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVIST EVANS RUBERA, OUTSPOKEN CRITIC OF BARRICK GOLD MINING IN AFRICA:

[...]

Neville Chappy Williams, who has consistently opposed the open-pit mine at Lake Cowal in the middle of the Murray-Darling Basin, has delivered documents to the Deputy Canadian High Commissioner, Mr René Cremonese, and the Minerals Council of Australia in Canberra as part of the Global Day of Action against open-pit mining.

Neville Chappy Williams is a Traditional Owner of Lake Cowal and has fought many court cases against mining at Lake Cowal.

“It is my sacred duty to protect Lake Cowal and our ancient cultural heritage. We will never give up. I will fight to the bitter end.” Currently, he has halted the proposed expansion of the gold mine in Barrick v Williams in the NSW Court of Appeal.

“The Lake Cowal gold mine operated by Barrick Gold from Toronto, Canada is desecrating our sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri between the Kalara/Lachlan and the Murrumbidgee rivers in central west New South Wales."

[...]

July 22, 2009 Weblog:

Anti-mining group to stage 36 hour sit-in at Canadian Embassy in Mexico City

Press Release

- For immediate release -

ANTI-MINING GROUP TO STAGE 36 HOUR SIT-IN AT CANADIAN EMBASSY IN MEXICO CITY

Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO) marks Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining in opposition to New Gold Inc.’s Cerro de San Pedro mine in Mexico

Mexico City, July 21, 2009 – Anti-mining activists are marking the first ever Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit mining with a 36-hour sit-in outside the Canadian Embassy building in Mexico City.

The action is being planned by the Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO), a coalition opposed to Canadian corporation New Gold’s Cerro de San Pedro open-pit gold and silver mine in Central Mexico. New Gold Inc. is based in British Columbia.

“The sit-in is a nonviolent protest to demand that the Canadian government intervene in the case of New Gold’s Cerro de San Pedro mine”, said FAO member Juan Carlos Ruiz Guadalajara. “The mine is still operating despite having lost its environmental permit in a recent court ruling. We are reminding the embassy that we will continue to raise our voices against corruption, human rights abuses and environmental destruction”.

Mexican Secretary of the Economy figures reveal that more than 70% of all mining exploration, development and production projects in Mexico are owned by Canadian corporations. Canadian mining companies have benefited from legal reforms that the Mexican government adopted in order to accommodate NAFTA and draw foreign investment.

Open-pit mines, such as Cerro de San Pedro, have generated controversy due to their devastating environmental and social impacts.

» continue reading "Anti-mining group to stage 36 hour sit-in at Canadian Embassy in Mexico City"

June 12, 2009 Weblog:

NAFTA Tribunal recognizes sacred place of Quechan Tribe – denies Glamis Gold's claim in full

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[Photo (2008) by Sandra Cuffe of an old Glamis mining claim stake in an area of traditional Quechan territory that is an ancient sacred trail between two sacred mountains.]

[Repost: http://www.indianlaw.org/node/424]

June 9, 2009

Fort Yuma, CALIFORNIA/ARIZONA -- Today, the NAFTA Tribunal in the Glamis Gold dispute against the United States released its long-awaited decision.

The Tribunal found that the State of California's and the United States' actions in regulating hard rock mining on public lands did NOT violate provisions of NAFTA.

"We were the first tribe to have our briefs accepted in a NAFTA claim dispute" stated Mike Jackson, Sr., President, Quechan Nation. "The award shows that the Tribunal understood that the Indian Pass area is a sacred area to the Quechan people, worthy of protection from hard rock mining. After battling the mining company for nearly fifteen years, it is good to have this decided. We encourage Glamis (now GoldCorp) to take immediate steps to put the matter behind all of us."

Such steps could include GoldCorp not appealing the decision and abandoning or otherwise relinquishing its mining claims so that the existing withdrawal of the area from new mining claims would absorb the area proposed for the mine. Glamis must also pay two-thirds of all proceeding costs.

» continue reading "NAFTA Tribunal recognizes sacred place of Quechan Tribe – denies Glamis Gold's claim in full"

May 27, 2009 Weblog:

Statement at UNPFII: Canadian Mining in Papua New Guinea

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[photo: Jethro Tulin reading a statement in front of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, right before the Barrick Gold Annual General Meeting, April 29, 2009. photo by Sandra Cuffe.]

Earlier today, indigenous Ipili human rights activist Jethro Tulin, executive director of the Akali Tange Association in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, registered and read a formal statement to the plenary of the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN headquarters in New York City. The statement follows below.

After the UNPFII ends this coming Friday, Jethro Tulin will be traveling to Washington DC for a series of meetings. Before returning to Papua New Guinea, he will be speaking at a series of public events in Montreal, Ottawa (tbc) and Toronto, between June 5th and June 9th.

For more general information, see ProtestBarrick.net

For more information about (or to help coordinate) events, contact: Sandra Cuffe, 514-583-6432, lavagabunda27@yahoo.es
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A Statement
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Eighth Session

Intervention by: Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer of Akali Tange Association (Porgera, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea)

Supported by: Asia Caucus, Pacific Caucus, Western Shoshone Defense Project (Nevada, USA), Peoples Earth, Society for Threatened Peoples International (ECOSOC), Indigenous Peoples Link

Item 7: Future Work of the UNPFII
New York, May 27, 2009.

» continue reading "Statement at UNPFII: Canadian Mining in Papua New Guinea"

May 11, 2009 Weblog:

free "Mining in Society" fair in Toronto, May 10-12

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[photo: One of several hands-on activities geared towards kids is the mining worker dress-up costume. The Xstrata folks did not mind this photo being taken under the Goldcorp-sponsored mining booth; instead, they appeared highly amused.]

[image #2: "Did you know?" counterspin fliers. Print & copy!]

A free Mining in Society fair is taking place at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre yesterday, today and tomorrow (May 10-12). The annual event is billed as a place to "learn about the important role the minerals industry plays in your everyday life!"

Kids' activities include panning for gold, dressing up as a miner, matching minerals and metals with everyday products, colouring in mining-related drawings, and many others. Hundreds of school-age children will be attending the fair today and tomorrow.

Aside from the kids' activities, there are plenty of booths with interesting information, maps, and plenty of free stuff. If you don't mind corporate logos on your pens, notebooks, water bottles, key chains, highlighters, and other assorted paraphernalia, then you can get your office supplies for the next year. My personal favourite is the little yellow Suncor truck! There is also a small career fair for those of you considering gainful employment with Goldcorp, Shell, Freeport, Suncor...

» continue reading "free "Mining in Society" fair in Toronto, May 10-12"

» view more photos in"free "Mining in Society" fair in Toronto, May 10-12"

April 30, 2009 Weblog:

Indigenous Community Leaders Confront Barrick Gold in Toronto

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On April 29th, as Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold held its annual general meeting inside Toronto's Metro Convention Centre, a colourful protest took place across the street.

Indigenous leaders from Diaguita territory in Chile, affected by Barrick's upcoming Pascua Lama mega-project, and from Ipili territory in Papua New Guinea, were permitted to address the AGM as proxy shareholders.

While the company recognized that there have been "some deaths" around the mine in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, Barrick vehemently denied any link to or responsibility for the documented extrajudicial killings, harassment by company security forces, or - more recently - the grave human rights violations currently continuing under a State of Emergency in Porgera.

A national newspaper in Papua New Guinea ran a
front page story on April 30th about security forces burning the homes of several hundred landowners living around the mine. Community activists involved with the Porgera Landowners' Association estimated that the number of torched homes has reached between 500-600 as of April 30th.

Protest Barrick, an activist network that has been working to link affected communities and raise awareness about the issues they are facing, has organized a speaking tour in southern Ontario and Montreal over the next two weeks, with the participation of affected community leaders.

» continue reading "Indigenous Community Leaders Confront Barrick Gold in Toronto"

» view more photos in"Indigenous Community Leaders Confront Barrick Gold in Toronto"

April 16, 2009 Weblog:

Toronto, April 26: An examination of the Canadian mining industry

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WHAT: 1 day conference about mining issues within Canada and abroad

WHEN: Sunday, April 26, 2009, 10:00am - 7:30pm

WHERE: Earth Sciences, Room 1050 (ES 1050), University of Toronto, 5 Bancroft Avenue

Moderated by Judy Rebick

$10 (sliding scale) to cover cost of meals; free for students. No registration required. Donations gladly accepted (available seating for 400 in auditorium).

Hosts: UTERN, Science for Peace, Students Against Climate Change / Toronto Mining Support Group, Aboriginal Students Association of York University

With the intention of building a movement for change within Canada we are hosting a conference on mining issues at the University of Toronto. This conference will provide the space for people within Canada to interact with affected communities and each other, and the conference format prioritizes facilitating conversations focused on solutions to ending corporate impunity.

“The Question of Sustainability” is a conference dedicated to examining the Canadian mining industry through the lens of sustainability within ecosystems, human rights, culture, and economics.

Featuring speakers from Papua New Guinea, Chile, the Congo, Guatemala, Tanzania and Peru, as well as many First Nations speakers and academics from Canada. This conference brings together indigenous people from the global south and the global north, and serves to address some of the complex social, political and environmental issues that relate to the imposition of extractive industries on traditional cultures.

Major issues include water use and contamination, human rights violations by Canadian companies operating abroad, the question of corporate social responsibility, and the autonomy and preservation of traditional cultures.

» continue reading "Toronto, April 26: An examination of the Canadian mining industry"

The New Eldorado - trailer

Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, a Canadian-Romanian company plans to open a goldmine in Romania, which will be the largest in Europe. To make way for the mega-project, people are being forcibly relocated. There will also be an 800-hectare cyanide waste reservoir with a 180-meter-high dam.

November 11, 2008 Nov 11 by neweldoradofilm.com

Mirage of El Dorado - trailer

Mirage of El Dorado, the new film by Martin Frigon, takes us high into the Andes of northern Chile where Canadian-owned Barrick Gold, the biggest gold producer in the world, is set to move glaciers if necessary to get at the mineral riches beneath.

November 11, 2008 Nov 11 by Martin Frigon
September 9, 2008 Weblog:

Golden Opportunity: Mining Against All Costs

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.

» continue reading "Golden Opportunity: Mining Against All Costs"

April 12, 2008 Weblog:

Barrick Gold blocks booklaunch: Noir Canada

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The book launch for Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique, edited by Alain Denault and the Collectif Ressources d'Afrique out of Montréal, was a cancelled yesterday when the authors and publishers (Édition Écosociété) received letters from a law firm representing Barrick Gold.

The letters alledgedly refer to apparent inaccuracies in the book, more particularly around the representation of Barrick's role at Bulyanhulu, in Tanzania, where more than 50 small scale miners were buried alive in 1996.

Barrick has also sued The Guardian and The Observer over articles that they published about the Bulyanhulu massacre.

Noir Canada is about the role of Canadian companies in Africa, which operate with the "unfailing help of the Canadian government."

The list of corporate abuses is long: advantageous mining contracts in the DRC, partnerships with arms dealers and mercenaries in the Great Lakes region, miners buried alive in Tanzania, an "involuntary genocide" by poisoning in Mali, brutal expropriations in Ghana, using people from the Ivory Coast for pharmaceutical testing, devastating hydroelectric projects in Senegal, the savage privatization of the railway system in West Africa...

I sure hope that Écosociété goes ahead and releases the book...

» continue reading "Barrick Gold blocks booklaunch: Noir Canada"

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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.

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