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June 2, 2010 Foreign Policy

Underground Diplomacy

Canada’s transnational mining industry implicated in abuses

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
March 11, 2010 Environment

Dire Prospects

Expanding uranium exploration sparks concern, protests in Quebec

February 19, 2010 Foreign Policy

Murders in Mining Country

Canadian mining companies at the scene of the crimes

November 28, 2009 Weblog:

Anti-Mining Activist Mariano Abarca Assassinated in Chiapas

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Mariano Abarca, a community activist known for his opposition to mining was assassinated last night in Chicomuselo, a town in Chiapas, Mexico.

Abarca was shot in the head and chest by a man on a motorcycle. He had been abducted in August, and again received death threats in the week prior to his death.

In a November 28 email to supporters, Gustavo Castro, an organizer with Otros Mundos AC in Chiapas, wrote:

[Mariano was] a dear friend, admired for his struggle against the Canadian mining company Blackfire, and a member of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA-Chiapas). Yesterday we spoke to him on the phone and he told us he had filed a complaint against the company. Today he's dead.

It is with great sadness that I write these words. I will continue to update here as more news becomes available.

Update: Here is the English translation of an article about the assassination from La Jornada.

October 16, 2009 Features

Who Killed Marcelo Rivera?

Prominent anti-mining activist murdered in El Salvador

September 25, 2009 Weblog:

They Tore Down the Kremlin-- and I Wasn't There

The lyrics to the song contained in this track are available here:
http://www.lyricsdownload.com/alarm-the-new-south-wales-lyrics.html 

They Tore Down The Kremlin-- and I wasn't there.
September 20, 2009. 

Macdonald John Enoch Stainsby.

I guess I should first explain why I am writing this article. It would not be at all inaccurate to say I'm trying to channel incredibly powerful emotions that have surfaced as a result of a recent short visit to Maerdy, south Wales in the Rhondda Valley. My family roots trace back to the town known as “Little Moscow” from the 1920's on. I have long known of our ties to this community but not the depth of those connections or what impact on me these ties would have.

I began my own personal journey in life that took me to revolutionary conclusions by necessity beginning when I was in high school but not becoming the path that I would take with my life until my early 20's, roughly 13 years ago. My reasons for moving towards the revolutionary transformation of society had almost nothing to do with our family history but were based on my own rational conclusions based on the state of the world. To this day when someone asks me why I'm a self-described revolutionary I still want to reply: “Look around you. Why aren't you?”

» continue reading "They Tore Down the Kremlin-- and I Wasn't There"

September 13, 2009 International News

Disappeared Activist is Back Fighting

Anti-mining campaigner Mariano Abarca goes on the record

August 27, 2009 Weblog:

Activist Accused of Affecting Canadian Company Freed in Chiapas

by Isain Mandujano, published on Proceso.com.mx

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, August 26th. - After eight days of detention, the State Judicial system's Attorney General's Office (PGJE, for its Spanish acronym) freed activist Mariano Abarca Roblero, who was accused by Canadian corporation Blackfire Exploration Ltd of affecting the company's economic interests, due to the highway blockades led by Abarca Roblero.

According to the court document #033/FS10/2009 in the case taken up by the State Attorney for Relevant Issues of the PGJE, Abarca Roblero was accused of attacks against public roadways, criminal association, organized criminal activity, offences against the peace and the physical and public integrity of the collective and of the State.

Mariano Abarca was detained on August 17th by state police agents when he was leaving a primary school, where he left a letter requesting permission for the school premises to be used this weekend for the second national gathering of the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining (Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Mineria, REMA).

According to his lawyer, Miguel Angel de los Santos Cruz, the police were supposedly in possession of an "order to appear," which they never revealed.

"In theory, this order does not imply detention. However, when he was taken to the State Attorney's office and gave his declaration, his detention was ordered immediately thereafter. Because detention only permits the judicial system to hold someone for 48 hours, the order was requested for 30 days," he said.

De los Santos added that Abarca was detained for eight days in the PGJE detention center.

» continue reading "Activist Accused of Affecting Canadian Company Freed in Chiapas"

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.

# # # # #

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]

# # # # #

ORIGINAL DOMINION BLOG RE-POST:

# # # # #

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”.

= = = = = = =
= = = = = = =

» 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"

July 5, 2009 International News

Disputed Property Sale in Guatemala Results in Death Threats, Charges

Canada's Goldcorp agrees to negotiate; police, military arrive instead

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"

June 9, 2009 Canadian News

Mont-Royal to become Open-Pit Mine?

Gold-digging RoyalOr stakes claim in heart of Montreal

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
****************************************

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 21, 2009 Weblog:

UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool

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Greetings from the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (New York City, May 18-29)...

I write from the inner (ie you need an event or staff pass to get here) cafe & main networking area. And I'm smoking. Inside. Because it's international territory. Actually, there are prominent no smoking signs all over the place. A large sign reads "The United Nations General Assembly has decided to implement a complete ban on smoking at United Nations Headquarters indoor premises." And yet, dozens of people - including UN staff - are smoking away, all day. Could there be an incredibly amusing parallel between the lack of implementation of the indoor smoking ban and the role of the UN in the world?

Along with a growing multitude of people, many of the 2000+ indigenous delegates are increasingly critical of the corporatization of the United Nations and its affiliate bodies. Although we all enjoyed the free wine and music.

It has been amazing to run into people from last year's Longest Walk 2, the Protecting Mother Earth conference, and to meet new people(s) attending the forum. The conversations range from Canadian Assembly of First Nations representatives traveling to Latin America to promote mining in indigenous communities to the ongoing State of Emergency in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, to the Mapuche flag, to journalism in Africa, and everything in between... There are dozens of parallel and alternative events occurring both on and offsite.

» continue reading "UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool"

» view more photos in"UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool"

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"

May 8, 2009 International News

Police Raid Communities around Trinidad Mine

Oaxacan civilians blockade road, occupy mine to keep Fortuna off their land

May 7, 2009 Weblog:

Asbestos, Quebec: A Graphic Novel/une bande dessinee

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[disponible en français ici.]

Asbestos, PQ: A Graphic Novel/Une bande dessinée is a new addition to Dr. Joy Parr's Megaprojects/Lostscapes website. Based on the dissertation research of Jessica van Horssen, this graphic novel presents a history of the town of Asbestos, Québec from the perspective of the Jeffrey Mine, the largest chrysotile asbestos mine in the world. Viewing the community's history from this perspective offers a new angle from which to view how people and place grow, change and depend on each other. Follow the triumphs and tragedies of this community at: http://megaprojects.fims.uwo.ca.

May 6, 2009 Weblog:

May 11: Mining Company to Stake Claim on Mount Royal

MountRoyalProposedMine.png

For immediate and widespread distribution:

Québec – Canada – Americas

mining, human rights and citizens’ rights


an open-pit mine on the mont-royal?

see : www.royalor.com

citizens’-action

may 11 2009

Mont-Royal 1 :30 -2 :30

(at the gazebo at Duluth & Parc)

Representatives of different communities affected by Canadian open-pit mining projects will stake a claim on the mineral rights of the Mont-Royal. Their aim is to symbolically demonstrate the harms and prejudices faced by their communities whether in Québec, elsewhere in Canada , in Mexico , in Honduras , in Chile or in Papua New-Guinea. The claim will be duly filed with the Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec.

Come one, come all to call for :

1. a reform of mining laws

2. the legal accountability of canadian companies operating abroad

3. a public debate free of « slapp » suits
________

In collaboration with Coalition québécoise sur les impacts socio-environnementaux des transnationales en Amérique Latine and many other organizations. For more information : Lazar Konforti 514.827.7486 lazar.konforti@gmail.com, Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert 514.398.4251 daviken.studnicki-gizbert@mcgill.ca. An event organized in conjunction with the Cadre des activités parallèles du 5e Congrès mondial d’éducation relative à l’environnement (www.5weec.uqam.ca), May 10 - 15 Palais des Congrès Montréal.

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"

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April 23, 2009 Weblog:

Canada in Africa: an anniversary news bulletin about Noir Canada

Noir Canada.jpg

{{reposting of Ecosociete bulletin}}

INFORMATION BULLETIN

First anniversary of Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique

Montreal, April 23rd 2009

It was just over a year ago, on April 15th 2008, that Alain Deneault, Deplhine Abadie and William Sacher officially launched Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique, published by Les Éditions Écosociété, despite legal threats of lawsuits by Canadian multinational Barrick Gold (see demand letter sent by Barrick Gold).

Two defamation lawsuits followed, with Canadian mining companies Barrick Gold and Banro claiming damages amounting to $11 million dollars. The authors and publisher of Noir Canada have since had to deal with amendments to these claims, multiple and cumbersome judicial proceedings (requests for documents, endless interviews conducted by opposing counsel, etc.), the preparation of voluminous defence records for two different jurisdictions, numerous commutes to Toronto, the rejection of a request to transfer Banro’s Ontario lawsuit to Quebec, the appeal of that decision, along with the considerable costs that such proceedings require and the psychological and moral strain that comes with being put under such pressure.

In the meantime, the authors of Noir Canada remind us that “the Canadian pillage of Africa continues”, while “the Canadian government has just consecrated Canada as being a judicial haven for extraction corporations worldwide” (see the communiqué by the Collectif Ressources d’Afrique below).

» continue reading "Canada in Africa: an anniversary news bulletin about Noir Canada"

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"

February 27, 2009 Foreign Policy

Missing Diplomats' Mine Visit still a Mystery

Fowler and Guay were in the eye of the resource-war storm when abducted in Niger

January 23, 2009 Health

A Watchdog with No Teeth?

Mining company involvement in Sudbury Soils Study contaminates findings

December 28, 2008 Opinion

Pushing the Debate

Noir Canada’s critical perspective

December 27, 2008 Opinion

Mining the Island: An International Perspective

Struggles in Guatemala harken back to Cape Breton's mining boom

December 24, 2008 International News

Civilian Uprising against Barrick Gold in Tanzania

Mine security shoots young man, villagers respond by destroying $7 million in equipment

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