May 8th, 2013 / Author: underminingsustainability
RESIST CORPORATE COLONIALISM!
Mathias Colomb Cree, Aamjiwnaang & Mayan Q’eqchi’Stand Up to Hudbay Minerals and other Corporate Criminals
This Thursday and Friday, May 9th and 10th, join us at TWO events to learn about and take action to resist corporate impunity and the continued colonization of indigenous territories across Turtle Island and the world!
Also, check out a video that MISN just released that gives a short update on the Choc vs. HudBay case. Angélica Choc travelled to Toronto for the hearing in March, 2013 when an Ontario judge heard pre-trial motions to dismiss the HudBay lawsuits. Hudbay is being brought to trial for the murder of Adolfo Ich, the rape of eleven women, and the shooting of German Chub. Read the rest of this entry »
May 3rd, 2013 / Author: mininginjustice
Photo credit: Sergio Mendoza
TORONTO, May 2, 2013
Goldcorp was drilled with questions inside their annual shareholder meeting about the poor environmental, human rights and health record throughout Latin America. Health researcher Susana Caxaj, who works with affected villages near Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine, was one of several concerned citizens asking hard questions of the company. “Communities are very concerned about their health, they are frustrated that their concerns are not being taken seriously,” she said. Caxaj is one of many asking Goldcorp to take responsibility for the health harms seen in communities in close proximity to the company’s operations.
These demands come two months shy of the 1 year anniversary of the Peoples International Health Tribunal, a public forum in where communities in close proximity to mining operations from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras condemned Goldcorp’s activities throughout Mesoamerica, accusing the company of causing environmental contamination and a variety of health problems. An international panel of judges made up of high-profile academics, health professionals, lawyers and economists – among them, Robert Goodland, former advisor to the World Bank – found Goldcorp guilty stating that the company’s activities in these communities are “seriously damaging to the health and the quality of life, the quality of the environment, and the right to self determination of the affected Indigenous and campesino communities.” According to reports by physician Juan Almendarez, based in Valle de Siria, where Goldcorp operated San Martin Mine until 2010, a variety of health problems have been linked to Goldcorp’s activities. He reported: “Our own clinical studies, carried out over the last 10 years in communities affected by Goldcorp’s gold mining operation, have revealed serious skin and hair loss problems, respiratory track, nervous system and eye problems – all of which can be attributed to contamination by heavy metals that are dangerous to the health of the present and future generations.”
In 2010, a human rights assessment commissioned by Goldcorp recommended several changes to corporate practices. Among them, improved water monitoring, increased transparency, information-sharing, and respect for the international labour organization 169. This law emphasizes the rights of Indigenous communities to free prior and informed consent. Goldcorp has publicly committed to meet these recommendations. Yet the region of Santa Rosa Guatemala where Tahoe resources, a company 40% owned by Goldcorp, operates the San Rafael mine has been steeped with controversy. Local referendums carried out throughout the region have overwhelmingly voted “no” to Goldcorp’s project yet the company has gone ahead despite its unpopularity. Local residents have organized a peaceful protest outside of the entrance of the mine and have faced shootings and kidnappings, ending in one casualty thus far and several severely injured. Further, lawyers supporting this case have experienced break-ins and intimidation. Residents blame local mining security. Indicative of the level of conflict in this region, the government of Guatemala has declared a state of siege in neighbouring regions.
Photo credit: Allan Lissner
Holding up placards with phrases such as “gold corp toxic zone” approximately 40 activists stood outside of the Trump Towers hotel, the venue of the company’s annual AGM. Maggie Flynn, local artist and activist remarked “These human rights abuses, these health and environmental harms, they cannot be swept under the rug. We are here to make shareholders and the general public aware, that as long as Goldcorp continues to operate with impunity, they will leave a toxic legacy of violence and pain.” Maudilia Lopez, a local resident of San Miguel Ixtahuacán where Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine operates, added: “We are not in agreement with the way the company is using our communities for their interests, the contamination, not only because of the water, but also, in the end, with violence within homes, in our communities. We want the shareholders to know that the money does damage to people. It degrades our culture, our life, the values of the people.”
SOURCE: Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
About MISN (Mining Injustice Solidarity Network)
The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) is a grassroots, volunteer-run group that works to bring the voices and experiences of communities impacted by extractive industries to Toronto, Canada, a country where over 75% of global mining businesses are based. As Canada is a leader within the international mining industry, we recognize the necessity for a movement within Canada to demand accountability in this sector
For further information and high resolution images, media contact:
April 26th, 2013 / Author: underminingsustainability
Don’t miss our many events planned this week. From protests to art-exhibits, marches, to strategy meetings, this April/May is all about resistance to mining injustices through our Spring Into Action events. Here is a list of upcoming events:
For more info on upcoming events visit our Spring Into Action website:
April 17th, 2013 / Author: underminingsustainability
“We want the land, the water and the trees, not a golden tomb”
Over the past few years, people have been resisting Eldorado Gold’s proposed and existing mining operations in the Halkidiki Peninsula in Northern Greece. Of particular concern – and the source of mass social unrest since 2012 – is the proposed Skouries mine, which resides in the ancient Skouries forest on top of Mount Kakavos, the main freshwater source for the region. Opposition to this mine has been widespread, with demonstrations and protests spreading from towns located within the peninsula (Skouries, Thessaloniki, and Ierissos) to the capital city of Greece, Athens. These protests have been regularly occurring and ranging from 30 participants to 20,000. Just as resistance has been increasing and tactics escalating, so has the presence and level of brutality exercised by the state. Read the rest of this entry »
March 28th, 2013 / Author: mininginjustice
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 – 6:00pm
George Brown College (St. James Campus), 200 King St. E, Career Centre Room B155
Presented by the Environmental Justice Club at George Brown College in collaboration with Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
In 1999, the residents of Tambogrande, a small town in northern Peru, learned that the government had secretly granted mining concessions on their land to a multi-national corporation. The residents of Tambogrande organized The Defense Front to protect their town. The directors follow the Tambogrande residents’ five-year-long struggle to thwart the Peruvian government’s connivance with corporate plans that would despoil their land and destroy their livelihoods. The film traces the history of the region, including the pioneering efforts of mango farmer Godofredo Garcia Baca, the leader of the protest movement who, beginning in the mid-Sixties, had helped transform Peru’s northern desert into an important agricultural region. Tambogrande also chronicles the changing nature of the protest movement, from its early, often violent protests and confrontations with police, to the rechanneling of their efforts into peaceful protest and political action, using popular culture and technology – everything from dance and music to the Internet – to publicize their cause and to force the government to allow a referendum on the issue.
Film by: Ernesto Cabellos and Stephanie Boyd
Speaker and Discussion (Q & A) to follow film.
Admission: By donation
*All proceeds will go to Ulises Garcia founder of the grassroots not-for-profit NGO ‘Tropico Seco’ (Peru) and their work with mining affected communities in Latin/South America.
March 21st, 2013 / Author: underminingsustainability
The Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) has been working hard to plan for the next few months, which has traditionally been our busiest season for engaging the public in resisting mining injustices. Instead of the weekend-long conference we’ve held for the past several years, we’ve decided to spread a series of events and actions over the course of a month. Mining Resistance: Spring Into Action will run from mid-April to mid-May and will include events ranging from panels, film screenings, and art exhibits to direct actions, creative protests, and outdoor teach-ins. We have a new site up and running specifically centred on this initiative, and that lists some of what we and partners are planning. If you would like to get involved by volunteering, hosting an event, or having your event listed in our Spring into Action calendar of events, e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org. read more:mininginjusticesn.wordpress.com
January 28th, 2013 / Author: mininginjustice
12 Kaqchikel communities in defense of territory: Situation in San Juan Sacatepéquez
Since 2006, 12 Kaqchikel communities located in the western part of the municipality of San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala have been resisting the installation of the so-called “San Juan Project,” owned by Productos Mineros S. A., a subsidiary of Guatemalan company Cementos Progreso. The company is the main producer of cement in Guatemala and owned by the Novella family, a powerful oligarchic family in the country. While Cementos Progreso has an 80% share in the project, the remaining 20% belongs to the Swiss multinational company Holcim, the world’s largest cement producer. Plans for the project include the construction of a factory and a quarry, for the purposes of cement production, as well as the construction of a new road connecting San Juan Sacatepéquez and Santo Domingo Xenacoj, with the Inter-American Highway, a public private partnership with the Government of Guatemala, for transporting cement, as well as corporate social responsibility projects.
The project has proceeded without the free, prior and informed consent of local communities, stipulated under International Labour Organization Convention 169, to which Guatemala is a signatory. The 12 Kaqchikel communities (El Pilar I, El Pilar II, San Antonio Las Trojes I and II, Lo De Ramos, Santa Fe Ocaña, Los Pajoquez, Loma Alta, Cruz Blanca, Asuncion Chivoc, Cruz De Ayapan Y Comunidad De Ruiz) have come together to defend their territory against this incursion. They object to this project for a host of reasons, including the threat it represents to the environment, their economic livelihoods and way of life, including culture, and life itself, due to health implications, and so on. While cement production has not initiated as of yet, their lives have already changed. Their everyday lives have been marked by community division, militarization, unjust imprisonment, health concerns and a host of other negative impacts. In an expression of their right to self-determination, community referendums were held locally on May 13, 2007 in the affected communities. In total, 8946 people out of 8950 voted no on the issue of mining, whereas 4 voted yes.
For more information see:
Asociación de 12 Comunidades Kaqchikeles de San Juan Sacatepéquez: http://www.12comunidadesdesanjuan.org/index.php/quienes-somos.html
We want pencils not weapons: http://www.mimundo.org/2012/07/02/2012-06-we-want-pencils-not-weapons-san-juan-sacatepequez-rejects-newly-installed-military-brigade/
Guatemala’s Indigenous Women in Resistance: http://www.pbi-guatemala.org/fileadmin/user_files/projects/guatemala/files/english/Mujeres_Completo_ING.pdf
Statement of complaint of the 12 Kaqchikel communities of San Juan Sacatepéquez
THE TWELVE KAQCHIKEL COMMUNITIES OF SAN JUAN SACATEPÉQUEZ DENOUNCE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THEM BY THE MUNICIPAL MAYOR FERNANDO BRACAMONTE MARQUEZ IN COMPLICITY WITH A GROUP OF COMMUNITY MEMBERS FROM SAN ANTONIO LAS TROJES, WORKERS OF CEMENTOS PROGRESO, WHO HAVE PROVOKED DESTABILIZATION IN THE COMMUNITY OF SAN ANTONIO LAS TROJES.
On various occasions the community of San Antonio Las Trojes has indicated to the Mayor that the company Cementos Progreso and a group of its workers created an illegitimate COCODE during the State of Prevention in 2008 and with support of the company have been threatening and coercing community members. In the most extreme instances, they have attacked community members and their goods with firearms. They have committed all kinds of illicit acts like setting fire to buses, for which there are now over 40 complaints, none of which have been investigated by the Public Ministry, due to interference and pressure from the cement company. Among these are complaints are those with the following identifying numbers: MP001/2010/61844 Ag 5, MP001/2010/64289 Ag 6, against José Víctor Socoy Tubac, José Mariano Noj Equite, Elias Patzan Tubac, Pantaleon Garcia Camey, Juan Pirir Camey, Isidro Suruy Zet, Luis Tepeu Pirir, the last one a representative of a commercial organization called Guatemaya.
The people that are a part of the COCODE (Community Development Council) of the company Cementos Progreso, along with the Mayor Fernando Bracamonte want to install a project for potable water in our community by force, against the will of community members, to the sole benefit of the company Cementos Progreso and its workers. For this reason, we have asked for a community referendum. Regardless, the Mayor has not been attentive to our requests. For this reason, yesterday the Alcaldes Auxiliares (Community Majors), in addition to the COCODE of the community were in front of the Municipal Office for over 5 hours. We were not attended to and at 5pm we decided to go home. But, we could not make it home, because employees of Cementos Progreso blocked the access road with rocks, sticks and trees. As well, a group of armed men impeded access, for which we sought refuge in another community, as they threatened us with death.
We come to denounce Fernando Bracamonte, the COCODE of the company which is led by Mariano Noj, as well as Luis Tepeu, representatives of the companies GUATEMAYA and Cementos Progreso for these acts of intimidation and destabilization that they are causing against the community of San Antonio Las Trokjes, like the attack suffered yesterday by Daniel Pascual, as well as journalists and human rights defenders who were part of an observation mission. We place responsibility on workers of Cementos Progreso for the acts of violence they are causing.
Comunicado de denuncia de las 12 comunidades kaqchikeles de San Juan Sacatepéquez
LAS DOCE COMUNIDADES KAQCHIKELES DE SAN JUAN SACATEPEQUEZ, DENUNCIAN DISCRIMINACION EN CONTRA DEL ALCALDE MUNICIPAL FERNANDO BRACAMONTE MARQUEZ QUE EN COMPLICIDAD CON UN GRUPO DE VECINOS DE SAN ANTONIO LAS TROJES TRABAJADORES DE CEMENTOS PROGRESO, HAN PROVOCADO DESESTABILIZACION EN LA COMUNIDAD SAN ANTONIO LAS TROJES.
En varias ocasiones La Comunidad de San Antonio Las Trojes han indicado al Alcalde que la Empresa Cementos Progreso y un grupo de sus trabajadores integraron un Cocode ilegitimo durante el Estado de Prevención en el 2008, y con el respaldo de la Empresa, han estado amenazando y coaccionando a los comunitarios, al extremo que con armas de fuego han atacado a toda persona de las comunidades y sus bienes, han cometido toda clase de hechos ilícitos como incendiado buses, de lo que se han puesto mas de 40 denuncias de las cuales ninguna sola ha sido investigada por el Ministerio Publico, por injerencias y presiones de la Empresa Cementera, estando dentro de estas denuncias las identificadas con los números MP001/2010/61844 Ag 5, MP001/2010/64289 Ag 6, en contra José Víctor Socoy Tubac, José Mariano Noj Equite, Elias Patzan Tubac, Pantaleon Garcia Camey, Juan Pirir Camey, Isidro Suruy Zet, Luis Tepeu Pirir, este último representante de una organización de comerciantes llamado Guatemaya.
Estas personas que integran el Cocode de la Empresa Cementos Progreso, juntamente con el Alcalde Fernando Bracamonte quieren instalar a la fuerza un proyecto de agua potable en nuestra comunidad y en contra de la voluntad de todos los vecinos, que solo beneficiara a la Empresa Cementos Progreso y a sus trabajadores, ante lo cual hemos pedido una consulta comunitaria, sin embargo, el alcalde Bracamonte con una total discriminación no ha atendido nuestras peticiones, puesto que el día de ayer en la tarde los Alcaldes Auxiliares asi como el Cocode de la Comunidad, estuvimos mas de 5 horas enfrente de la Municipalidad y no fuimos atendidos por lo que a eso de las cinco de la tarde de ayer decidimos retirarnos, pero ya no pudimos llegar a nuestras casas , porque los empleados de Cementos Progreso taparon el camino de acceso con piedras, palos y arboles, así también un grupo de hombres armados nos impidieron el acceso, ante lo cual nos refugiamos en otra comunidad ya que estos nos amenazaron de muerte.
Venimos a denunciar a Fernando Bracamonte, al Cocode de la Empresa que lidera el señor Mariano Noj, asi como a Luis Tepeu, representante de los comerciantes GUATEMAYA, y a Cementos Progreso de estos actos de intimidación y desestabilización que están causando en contra de la Comunidad San Antonio Las Trojes, así como el ataque que sufrió el dia de ayer el señor Daniel Pascual, así como periodistas y defensores de derechos humanos que acompañaron a una misión de observación, y desde ya los responsabilizamos de todos los actos de violencia que están causando los trabajadores de Cementos Progreso.
Friday, January 26
January 26th, 2013 / Author: mininginjustice
To International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino:
We are writing to you from the Toronto-based group Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN). If you recall, we had been in contact with your office requesting a meeting with you to discuss the topic of Canadian mining, a request which was declined.
We originally sent a request for a meeting on September 20th, 2012. After much follow up on our behalf, we finally received a response dated December 4, 2012 declining our request. We find it disappointing that as an elected official you would decline our request for a meeting, particularly as the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying indicates that you met with Pierre Gratton, the CEO and President of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) on November 20th, 2012. The nature of our work puts us in direct communication with communities affected by Canadian mining and these are important perspectives to take into consideration given recent policy shift at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in support of large scale mining as a development strategy.i As you are unwilling or unable to meet with us, we have set out in this letter our perspective on the use of public funds in support of Canadian mining interests.
Firstly, large scale mining does not represent a sustainable form of development for countries in the Global South. In terms of the economic aspect, most of the economic benefits accrue to private interests in the Global North, particularly Canada where over 75% of global mining businesses are based, instead of populations in the Global South. ii Economic returns from mining for countries in the Global South are limited given low royalty and tax rates. In the case of the Marlin mine in Guatemala, owned by Vancouver-based Goldcorp, royalties and taxes derived constitute a mere 6 percent of the Marlin mine’s revenue.iii However, as Goldcorp’s “lowest cost producer,” as well as “third best generator of earnings from operations,” the Marlin mine represents significant earnings for shareholders, the largest portion held by Canadian and European pension funds.iv It’s a similar story elsewhere. Beginning in the late 1990s, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador reformed their mining laws, engaging in a “race to the bottom,” competing with each other to attract foreign direct investment in mining by drastically reducing their already low royalty rates. Inevitably, the limited economic gains derived from such projects cease once operations have been completed, leaving enormous costs for communities in the Global South, for instance, in terms of closure. Mining-affected communities bear a number of unquantifiable costs, including social, environmental and cultural losses, emphasized by testimonies given during the Peoples International Health Tribunal.
The Peoples International Health Tribunal, organized by several international and Guatemalan organizations, convened in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Guatemala last July. It sought to critically examine the impacts of Goldcorp on mining affected communities in Latin America, particularly Carrizalillo, Mexico; Valle de Siria, Honduras; and in San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipacapa, San Marcos, Guatemala. After hearing testimonies from mining affected community members, as well as expert witnesses, the distinguished panel issued a guilty verdict, finding Goldcorp responsible for environmental harms, health problems and illnesses, as well as human rights violations. We continually hear identical stories in other parts of the world. In Papua New Guinea, for instance, Toronto-based Barrick Gold has been implicated in forced evictions, as well as contamination of a 8000-km long river system. Moreover, locals have been subjected to police brutality, as well as sexual violence. In meeting with you, we had hoped to share these stories, and discuss possible solutions to these problems.
Secondly, and importantly, this recent policy change contravenes the Official Development Assistance Act which stipulates that Official Development Assistance must meet the following conditions: contribute to poverty reduction; take into account the perspective of the poor; and, be consistent with international human rights standards. This Act is meant to guard against the use of Official Development Assistance for interests which do not prioritize poverty alleviation in the Global South, including use as a tool for Canadian political and commercial interests. The support of mining companies, geared towards profit-making, to the benefit of Canadian mining companies, instead of poverty reduction, in projects that for the most part do not have the social license to operate locally, and which are often associated with human rights violations, does not appear to meet these criteria.
We urge you to consider these critiques in making important decisions regarding the operation of the Canadian International Development Agency, particularly the spending of Official Development Assistance. Finally, recognizing that the issues outlined in this letter also play out here in Canada, we urge the Harper Government to respect the right to free, prior and informed consent, in good will, with First Nations communities with regards to resource extraction, as required under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada is a signatory.
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
iii Searching for Gold in the Highlands of Guatemala: Economic Benefits and Environmental Risks of the Marlin Mine. Zarsky and Stanley 2011: 4
iv Searching for Gold in the Highlands of Guatemala: Economic Benefits and Environmental Risks of the Marlin Mine. Zarsky and Stanley 2011: 20;19
January 24th, 2013 / Author: mininginjustice
An open letter to the Idle No More Movement,
As a grassroots organization committed to Indigenous sovereignty, including the right to free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous communities, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) expresses its support for the Idle No More movement. We join the chorus of civil society voices condemning the policies of the Harper government, which threaten the way of life of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island, violating rights defined under treaties signed in government-to-government processes, as well as international law. Similarly, we condemn the role of the Harper government in support of mining interests acting against the well-being of Indigenous communities here and around the world. For us, these issues are inextricably linked.
December 21, 2012 marked the end the Mayan calendar and the beginning of a new era. While protesters around the world responded to a global call put out by Idle No More, in Guatemala there was a renewed call for the respect of Indigenous rights in relation to mining and resource extraction more broadly, which have led to an increase in militarization and the use of force against the population.1 The Oxlajuj B’ak’tun, signifies an opportunity for renewal and resistance for the Maya. Globally, mining usually proceeds without the free, prior and informed consent of affected communities, causing environmental degradation, health concerns, social disintegration, increased violence and other harms and is met with resistance by local communities. The Harper Government is complicit in these harms, providing political, as well as financial backing for Canadian mining companies operating throughout the world. Most recently, the Canadian government has come under fire for providing support to mining companies, notorious violators of human rights, through its aid budget.2 This disregard for Indigenous rights and life itself is apparent in the Harper Government’s relationship with First Nations people in Canada, in its attempt to enact policies that would hasten the expropriation of native land for the purposes of resource extraction and the extinguishment of Native communities. We denounce these racist policies and call for dialogue and action in respect of Indigenous sovereignty.
As we enter into a new era, signified by the Idle No More Movement and the Oxlajuj B’ak’tun, we are inspired by the Indigenous led mobilization we see, within Abya Yala and Turtle Island, working against the neoliberal agenda and in favor of human and non-human life. We pledge our support for these movements, committing to walk side by side Indigenous Peoples in these struggles and call for support of the Idle No More Global Day of Action on January 28th, 2013.
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
December 10th, 2012 / Author: mininginjustice
Support Residents of Pinehouse fighting the Cameco/Areva “Collaboration” Agreement
Revelations last week that the northern Saskatchewan community of Pinehouse is set to sign a so-called “Collaboration Agreement” with uranium giants Cameco and Areva have sparked outrage in the community due to terms of the agreement that residents say is a blatant attempt to silence opposition to the expansion of uranium mining in the area.
Terms of the agreement include:
- “Pinehouse is expected to fully support Cameco/Areva’s mining”
- “Pinehouse will support Cameco/Areva’s Existing Operations,” “Pinehouse will support Cameco/Areva’s Proposed Projects” and will “Support Cameco/Areva’s Future Operations” (emphasis in original)
- “Pinehouse promises to: Not make statements or say things in public or to any government, business agency that opposes Cameco/Areva’s mining operations.”
- “Pinehouse promises to: ““Make reasonable efforts to ensure Pinehouse members do not say or do anything that interferes with or delays Cameco/Areva’s mining, or do or say anything that is not consistent with Pinehouse’s promises under the Collaboration Agreement.”
CALL NOW! (details for e-mail and fax here) Gary Merasty: Cameco Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility. 306-956-8180
Investor, Corporate and Government Relations Department Cameco Corporation. 306-956-6200
Jarret Adams: Areva Resources Canada Inc. 306-343-4500
more information, e-mail addresses to CC and BCC, and phone number to can be found here: http://committeeforfuturegenerations.wordpress.com/take-action/