independent multimedia journalism

Posts Tagged ‘mining’

Featured Multimedia Projects

Indigenous Resistance to the Mining Industry
I just put together this video for a presentation at OCIC’s AGM. This is a compilation of the various projects I have been working on for the past six years. Featuring the voices and experiences of over a dozen affected Indigenous communities, from five continents, who are in the process of resisting Canadian mining projects.

Remember the Land
for Kairos Canada

Remember the Land: Global Ecumenical Voices on Mining from KAIROS Canada on Vimeo.

We Love Our Land
Neskantaga First Nation
Ontario, Canada

Someone Else’s Treasure
Kisluyan, Mindoro
the Philippines

Kanawayandan D’aaki – Protecting Our Land
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation
Ontario, Canada

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Someone Else’s Treasure
San Miguel Ixtahuacan
San Marcos, Guatemala

Redd Road: Indigenous Resistance to False Solutions
for the Indigenous Environmental Network at the UN Climate Change Conference


Health Tribunal in San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Guatemala

San Miguel Ixtahuacan

“The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being…” – World Health Organization

The health tribunal used community testimony, scientific research and human rights organization’s knowledge to examine how the presence of Goldcorp’s mining operations have affected community residents. Over 600 people were in attendance from across Guatemala, as well as Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Canada, and the USA.

click on thumbnails below for larger view. you can use your arrow keys to move from photo to photo:

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For more information about the Health Tribunal, see: http://healthtribunal.org

Read the final verdict

Here is a multimedia piece I made in San Miguel Ixtahuacan a few years ago outlining some of the struggles the community has been going through:


Neskantaga First Nation: We Love Our Land

No Trespassing

I’ve just started a new project working with the Neskantaga First Nation (pronounced Nish-kahn-tga). Formerly known as Lansdown House Indian Band, Neskanta FN is a remote Oji-Cree community in northern Ontario at the headwaters of the Attawapiskat River. The community is deeply worried about how their traditional way of life will be impacted by the nearby Ring of Fire mining projects.

Much more to come over the next few months, but for now here are a few photos from Neskantaga to introduce some of the people of the community.

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Goldcorp AGM Protests

Goldcorp Mining Without Consent

26/04/12 – While Goldcorp held their Annual General Meeting in Timmins, Ontario, about thirty solidarity activists gathered outside Goldcorp’s offices in Toronto. They said they wanted to make sure people hear about Goldcorp’s shameful human rights and environmental record at its mine sites, particularly the Marlin Mine in San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Guatemala.

Organized by Amnesty International Toronto Office, Breaking the Silence Toronto, CAMIGUAm and the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, the activists brought newspapers with headlines that don’t usually get printed, featuring messages from Mayan communities surrounding the Marlin Mine.

This video below provides some background to explain why  indigenous residents of San Marcos, Guatemala, are speaking out against Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine (Watch in High Definition on VIMEO):

More photos from the Goldcorp AGM Protest:

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PDAC Protests

Steven Chapman from KI. "Protect KI Sacred Lands"

06.03.2012 – A large and diverse group of over a hundred people gathered outside the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) Convention today.

Leading the protests was a group of community representatives from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation. KI Councilors are rallying with hundreds of supporters while members of the remote Indigenous Nation mobilize on the ground to prevent mining exploration company Gods Lake Resources (GLR) from desecrating sacred burials on KI Homeland.

“We are mobilized to go to Sherman Lake to protect our land. I cannot allow our graves to be desecrated by a company that is hiring private security to trespass on our Homeland by force. That is no way to do business,” said Chief Morris.

On Sunday the Ontario government unilaterally withdrew 23,181 sq km of land in KI Homeland from mining exploration in response to KI’s longstanding decision to place a full moratorium on industry in KI’s Indigenous Homeland. However, the claims and leases at the heart of KI’s conflict with GLR are unaffected by ON’s move and the dispute over protection of burial sites and sacred landscape remains unresolved.

The MNDM has indicated that GLR intends to access the site this month, and refuses to answer whether GLR is on the land today. KI Chief Morris said in a Feb. 16 youtube video that his community was mobilizing and he feared that the situation would escalate. In a March 1 news release GLR indicated that they are looking to hire private security for their drill program – a potentially explosive move. A KI team is traveling to the Sherman Lake site today to conduct reconnaissance.

Kanawayandan D’aaki – Protecting Our Land

Below is a short video I made recently in collaboration with KI’s Lands and Environment Unit:

The PDAC protest also featured fashionistas from the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) who gathered to denounce and ridicule the Canadian mining sector outside of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention today. Walking down an impromptu catwalk in front of the Metro Toronto Convention Center, the protestors showcased “mining company must-haves” like a PR filter for everyday green-washing, cute pandas for controversial pipelines, and a 77 million dollar pacifier for Pacific Rim. The outfits satirized the superficial public relations stunts of the mining industry at home and abroad, while bringing attention to the community rights and basic human rights that are violated by these same companies.

This week, PDAC has been the target for many concerned groups including the Congolese-Canadians, the Ngapuhi Indigenous community from New Zealand, as well as KI. MISN supports communities directly impacted by Canada’s mining industry. “It’s time for Canadian legislation with teeth to hold Canadian corporations accountable locally and abroad and bring an end to weak voluntary regulation,” said Flynn, a member of Mining Injustice Solidarity Network.

Speeches from the protest (Unedited) Part 1/2
Speakers: Cecelia Begg – KI Councilor; Syed Hussan – Toronto KI Solidarity Group; Randy Nanokeesic – KI Counsilor; Syd Ryan – Ontario Federation of Labour;

Speeches from the protest (Unedited) Part 2/2
Speakers: Maryam Adrangi – Council of Canadians; Ramsey Hart – MiningWatch Canada; Steven Chapman – KI Lands & Environment Unit; Syed Hussan – Toronto KI Solidarity Group; Bob Lovelace – retired co-Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin; Richard Anderson – KI Lands & Environment Unit

Flashmob

Please contact me for high res images, audio, and video at:
allan@lissner.net

For more information on KI, please contact:
David Sone: 647-386-1481
KIFNmedia@gmail.com
KILands.org

For more information on MISN, please contact:
Susana Caxaj: 416-839-8467
solidarityresponse.net

Photos from today:
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2011 Year in Review

I haven’t been doing a very good job at keeping this blog updated. I have several projects on the go right now, so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a review of everything I have been working on for the past few months. I am working on editing these projects into multimedia pieces, and it might be a little while before some of them are finished. But this will give you an idea of what to look out for in the coming months.

Casey Camp-Horinek, of the Ponca nation of Oklahoma, participates in a Mayan ceremony during the UN Climate Negotiations in Cancun, Mexico.

COP16 – Mexico

December 2010, I was working with the Indigenous Environmental Network as part of their media team at the United Nations Climate Summit in Cancun Mexico. So the beginning of 2011 was spent editing photos and video from the conference, and protests surrounding the conference.

Here is a selection of some of my photos from COP16:

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Here is the video I put together covering the COP16, featuring members of the Indigenous Environmental Network delegation explaining why they came:

Mining Injustice Solidarity in Toronto

In the spring of 2011 I was involved in two international mining conferences in Toronto. The Mining Injustice Conference: Confronting Corporate Impunity, was organized by the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network and brought together front-line activists from impacted communities to share their experiences regarding the impacts of Canadian mining around the world.

The Ecumenical Conference on Mining brought together church leaders from around the world to discuss the impacts of Canadian mining on their communities. I am currently working on a video with KAIROS, addressing some of the topics discussed at the Ecumenical Conference on Mining, the video will be hopefully be released within the next month.

Mining Injustice Conference

Here is aseries of large posters I made for both of these conferences:

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Video of human rights protests outside Barrick Gold AGM:

South March Highlands

During the summer of 2011, I was invited to work on a project with Daniel Amikwabe Bernard, of the Algonquin Amikwabe Beaver Nation. Daniel has devoted his life to saving the South March Highlands in Ottawa from further desecration and development. The South March Highlands are sacred to the Algonquin people, but large parts of this urban forest is being torn down to make way for urban sprawl and housing developments. I am working on a short film about this forest and it’s historical and spiritual significance to the Algonquin people – featuring interviews with the late Grandfather William Commanda, Bob Lovelace, Paula Sherman, Mireille Lapointe, Nicole Lovelace, Robert Bateman, and Albert Dumont. I’m still in the early stages of editing this piece, but hope to have this one ready for spring 2012.

Sacred Land

Here is a small selection of some of the photos from this project:

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Oxfam Trailwalker 2011

Oxfam Trailwalker has evolved from a gruelling military exercise into a truly global movement that effects real change in the lives of millions of people living in abject poverty. It’s more than just a fitness challenge, Oxfam Trailwalker is a commitment to change the world, one step at a time. Teams of four commit to not only raising funds, but also hiking a gruelling 100km in 48 hours. The money raised from this fundraising event helps support Oxfam Canada’s initiatives all over the world. Specifically, Oxfam Canada is dedicated to supporting long-term development, advocacy, and emergency programs in 28 countries, and also provides emergency support during humanitarian crises.

Oxfam Trailwalker

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Ngorbob

“The climate has changed. There is no water here, nothing. Our land is dying and so are we” Ngorbob elders.

Ngorbob is a small Masai village near Arusha, Tanzania. Ngorbob has been severely hit by drought in recent months. They have not seen rain for over a year, and as a result their farmlands and livestock are dying. Many of the residents of Ngorbob have already been forced to leave their ancestral home in search of water and work.

I am still working on editing this photoessay which will soon be published in Tanzania by the Norwegian Church Aid.

Ngorbob

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Mining In Tanzania

While I was in Tanzania I had the chance to continue the work I had started in 2008. I’m working now on updating the photoessay from 2008, which will hopefully be online in a couple of weeks, and will also be putting together a video on this. Here is a selection of some new images on mining in Tanzania:

Someone Else's Treasure - Tanzania

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Village Community Banking

“My life and family has changed, but the whole community has benefitted too because if you educate a woman – one lady – you are educating the whole community.” – Hadija, VICOBA member in Lushoto, Tanzania.

In Tanzania, Village Community Banking (VICOBA) provides a structure through which communities are able to organize themselves, provide skill-sharing, and capacity building in an effort to combat poverty. Inspired by Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, the idea behind VICOBA is the belief that poor people have the skills, capabilities and abilities to improve their own economic development and social welfare.

In a field that is increasingly becoming dominated by corporate models of development, these stories provide examples of alternative models that are based on the dignity and ingenuity of the people. These women-led initiatives empower communities to find local solutions to their own local problems. These often-untold stories of community role models transforming their own communities are at the heart of a stronger, more inclusive, healthier and more socially just model of international development.

This is another work in progress for me, putting together a photoessay which will be published in Tanzania by the Norwegian Church Aid, as well as producing a short film about VICOBA.

Village Community Banking

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Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) has governed and cared for their Indigenous homeland, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Aaki, since time before memory. In 2008, KI’s Chief and five community leaders were jailed for refusing to allow mining exploration which threatened KI’s water supply. The remote First Nation community succeeded in fighting off mining exploration by Platinex Inc. But now other companies are staking claims within KI territory. KI’s pristine waters, their sacred landscape, and the lake trout they rely upon are at risk. KI has a vision for the future of their lands and environment that benefits all life.

Here is a short film I made in collaboration with KI’s Lands & Environment Unit, Kanawayandan D’aaki: Protecting Our Land

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Aaki

Here is a selection of some of my photos from KI, featuring an aerial view of their expansive Indigenous homeland, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Aaki.

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So that wraps up what I have been working on for the past few months. Most of these projects are still not completed yet, so I am working on multiple projects simultaneously which is why I’m taking so long with these. In the meantime I also have to spend some time updating this website. Apologies to those of you waiting patiently for these videos/photoessays, I’m getting there…


New Gold AGM Protest

Justice for Mining Affected Communities

New Gold is a Canadian mining company operating gold and silver mines in the United States, Mexico, Australia. The company is also involved in projects and exploration in Canada and Chile.  Shareholders were confronted by about 30 protestors at New Gold’s anual general meeting in Toronto.  New Gold is accused of operating an illegal mine in Cerro San Pedro, Mexico. Also for its repeated and well documented human rights and environmental abuses in Mexico as well as violating indigenous self-determination at its joint venture project at Chile’s El Moro mine.

Click on thumbnails below for more photos:

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For more information on campaigns to stop New Gold please visit:

Frente Amplio Opositor (Spanish/Español): http://faoantimsx.blogspot.com/

FAO Montreal (Inglés-Francés): http://faomontreal.wordpress.com/
Mining Watch Canada (Inglés-Francés): http://tinyurl.com/4ynk3qt
OCMAL (Spanish/Español) http://www.conflictosmineros.net/
Op-ed on caravan stop in Cerro San Pedro http://www.straight.com/article-362797/vancouver/andrea-hardendonahue-and-brent-patterson-caravan-cancun-climate-justice


Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

On Sunday Oct. 17th, activists from Environmental Justice Toronto and the Indigenous Environmental Network came to Yonge and Dundas Square, in the heart of downtown Toronto, to invite people passing by to ask them why they protest the tar sands giga-project and start a conversation. This action was done in solidarity with BC First Nations and the  No Pipelines No Tanks Day of Action in BC.

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“The tar sands has been called ‘the most destructive project on earth’ and its expansion is devastating the regional environment, including contaminating Canada’s precious water supply, endangering wildlife, threatening First Nations’ health and preventing Canada from meeting it’s climate commitments.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“The explosive growth of tar sands projects comes at a huge cost, damaging land, air, water, forests, and the climate. Tar sands extraction and processing is one of the greatest social and ecological injustices of our time.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“The world stands at an energy crossroads. As cheap, plentiful conventional oil becomes a luxury of the past, we now face a choice: to set a course for a more sustainable energy future of clean, renewable fuels, or to develop ever-dirtier sources of transportation fuel — at an even greater cost to our health and environment.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“Our energy future is now — and all it requires is investing in affordable, available clean and renewable sources today that will move us beyond oil and dirty fuels that imperil our planet and our health.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“Downstream communities have experienced polluted water, water reductions in rivers and aquifers, declines in wildlife populations such as moose and muskrat, and significant declines in fish populations. The tar sands are destroying the traditional livelihood of First Nations in the northern Alberta watershed.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“The tar sands operations are the largest source of projected new greenhouse gas pollution in Canada. This is the number one reason Alberta and Canada’s emissions are rising instead of falling.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“If the tar sands continue to operate as predicted, there is no hope of Canada meeting its international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as outlined in the Kyoto Protocol.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“Between 2 and 4 barrels of water are required to produce each barrel of oil extracted from the sands. At least 90% of the fresh water used in oil sand extraction winds up in tailing ponds so toxic that propane cannons are used to keep ducks from landing on them and dying. These tailings ponds already span more than 170 square kilometers and can be seen from space”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“A 2008 Environmental Defense report estimated that 11 million liters of contaminated water are seeping from the tailings ponds into the environment on a daily basis.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“Tar sands development is the single largest contributer to the increase in climate change in Canada, as it accounts for 40 million tons of CO2 emissions per year, and means that thousands of hectares of ancient Boreal Forest are clear-cut and destroyed.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“By 2011 it is expected that the tar sands will emit 80 million tons of CO2 emissions. And these numbers only take into account the production of oil from the tar sands. Once tar sands oil is burned as fuel, it creates further emissions.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“Tar sands are transforming Canada’s boreal forests and wetlands into fuel for Americas gas tank and war machine. Canadian and US citizens are getting little benefit and suffering huge environmental costs.”

Ask Me Why I Protest the Tar Sands

“Described by the United Nations Environment Program as one of the world’s top ‘environmental hot spots,’ tar sands projects will eventually transform a boreal forest the size of Florida into a toxic industrial sacrificial zone.”


Multimedia: Someone Else’s Treasure – Kisluyan

(Watch in High Definition on Vimeo)

High in the mountains of the Philippine island of Mindoro, members of the Alangan tribe live in the village of Kisluyan, on the same land their ancestors have lived on for generations.

Kisluyan is one of 26 indigenous villages that face the threat of displacement by the Mindoro Nickel Project, a proposed open pit nickel mine on their ancestral land.

The Alangan are one of eight indigenous tribes in Mindoro, known collectively as the Mangyan. The Mangyan once occupied the whole island. As more and more settlers began moving to the island, the Mangyan were gradually pushed off the more fertile areas higher and higher into the mountains. Now, with the proposed mine threatening to push them off their mountain, they are left with nowhere to go.

For the Alangan, their land is the very foundation of their identity. Generation after generation, the Mangyan have been taught to care for the land; “we take care of the land, and the land will take care of us.” Many of them believe that disaster will befall them if their sacred lands are desecrated by the proposed nickel mine.

Someone Else's Treasure - Kisluyan

See more:

Someone Else’s Treasure

Someone Else’s Treasure – the Philippines

Multimedia: Someone Else’s Treasure – Guatemala


La Riqueza de Otros – Guatemala

La Riqueza de Otros

Spanish version of Someone Else’s Treasure – Guatemala multimedia piece:


Goldcorp AGM Protest

About fifty people gathered to protest outside the Annual General Meeting of Goldcorp Inc., the world's second largest gold mining corporation, in Toronto on Wednesday May 19, 2010.

Protestors said they came to show their support for the international delegation, speaking inside the AGM, who represent movements and communities against Goldcorp's projects throughout the Americas.

Protestors said they came to show their support for the international delegation, including Feliciano Orellana from Guatemala (left) and Carlos Amador from Hondruas (right), among others, who were speaking inside the AGM representing their communities in speaking out against Goldcorp's projects throughout the Americas. Both Feliciano and Carlos took the chance to speak to shareholders inside the AGM, but the company had little interest in what they had to say.

Other international delegates included:

FELICIANO ORELLANA: is a representative of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Franciscan Family, in the Department of Jutiapa in eastern Guatemala. Employed by Goldcorp subsidiary Entre Mares in 1998 as one of the first employee, he later got hired in 2008 and suffered an almost Fatal accident on the job, for which he received no compensation. Now Feliciano is an active leader in his community and wants to share his experience on Goldcorp Human Rights Violations and the communities’ opposition to the Cerro Blanco Mine, Goldcorp’ second large mine in Guatemala.

CARLOS AMADOR: Carlos is a teacher and community leader in El Porvenir, 15 kilometers from Goldcorp’s open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine – the “San Martin” mine. Since 2000, Carlos has been educating and organizing local communities in the Siria Valley, and working to resist and demand justice for the health and environmental harms and human rights violations caused by Goldcorp’s mine.

JAVIER de LEON: Javier is a Mayan Mam community leader from the village of Maquivil, municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, department of San Marcos. From his small home, he looks across at Goldcorp’s ever expanding open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine – the “Marlin” mine. Since 2004, Javier has been educating and organizing Mayan Mam communities and working to resist and demand justice for the health and environmental harms and human rights violations caused by Goldcorp’s mine.

NELY RIVERA DE SILVA: de Silva works with CEICOM, the Centre for Research on Investment and Commerce, an organization that does research and advocacy on the impacts of mining investment in El Salvador. At this time, Nely is deeply involved community organizing to prevent the second Goldcorp mine in Guatemala, that of Cerro Blanco, which is on the Guatemala/El Salvador border and threatens access to water and the contamination of water and the eco-system on both sides of the border.

DANIELA GUZMAN: Is the technical advisor working with the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous and Agricultural Community in Chile, in the Huasco Valley, the last unpolluted valley in the north of Chile. Since time immemorial Huascoaltinos have been the guardians of the life in the Huasco Valley and they want to protect their lands for future generations. Today, their culture is being severely threatened by mining companies such as Barrick, New Gold and Goldcorp.

"Goldcorp in Honduras"

In Honduras and Guatemala, Goldcorp’s mines are linked to widespread and well-documented heavy metal contamination and arsenic poisoning.

"Stop Mining Mayan Land"

In Guatemala, Goldcorp has ignored referendums carried out by affected indigenous Mayan communities that have called for a halt to mining operations and expansion.

"Goldcorp: No Means No"

In Chile, Goldcorp is also violating the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and the right to self-determination of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous community, who have rejected the mine consecutively in their assemblies since 2006 and who have their own development project, a nature reserve, which is being threatened by the unwelcome presence of Goldcorp and other mining companies within their ancestral lands.

"Development not Destruction"

In El Salvador, a mine project is facing growing resistance because it threatens the largest single source of water in the country.

Cleaning up Goldcorp's toxic mess

Here in Canada, First Nations communities such as the Likhts’amisyu (Fireweed) Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have demanded that Goldcorp cease their activities as their water sources and right to full consent have not been protected.

" Goldcorp + Your Investment = Rape of Mother Earth"

Inside the AGM, a shareholders resolution was put forward calling on Goldcorp to “create and adopt, by September 1st, 2010, a corporate policy on the right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) for its operations impacting indigenous communities and all communities dependent on natural resources for survival.” The resolution was voted down.

"Divest from Death"

Environmentalists have been targeted in Guatemala, and elsewhere, where mining has generated conflict. Examples of this include the attempted assassination of the Director of the Center for Environmental and Social Legal Action, Yuri Melini, in 2008, the murder of teacher and Mayan Qeqchi community leader, Adolfo Ich Chaman on September 27, 2009, and the murder of Walter Mendez, son or Arturo Mendez, the community leader who attended last year’s AGM, only six months before his son’s assassination. Additionally, three members of the Front in Defense of Natural Resources and People’s Rights (FRENA) have been assassinated since October of 2009. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights publicly condemned the murders of Guatemalan anti-mining activists on February 25, 2010.

"Consultation is not Consent" - Protestors entered the building to disrupt the AGM

"Consultation is not Consent" - Protestors entered the building to disrupt the AGM

Goldcorp incorporates language of “social license” into its policies but has no policy specifically on the right to FPIC. Through subsidiaries Entre Mares and Montana Exploradora, Goldcorp Inc. owns approximately 27 mining recognition, exploration and extraction licenses in Guatemala, many on lands owned or occupied by indigenous communities.

Shareholders were confronted by chanting protestors as they left the meeting.

Here are some of the chants, from a chant sheet handed out by protestors:

1

Toxic poison and disease

Goldcorp is not what people need

2

Social conflict and corruption

Goldcorp only brings destruction

3

Goldcorp Goldcorp

Clean up your mess

You bring distress

Leave people with less

4

Goldcorp Goldcorp

Get off our lands

Blood is on your hands

(continued below…)

Cleaning up Goldcorp's Toxic Mess

(…chants continued)

5

Read the resolution

Enough with the illusions

6

We want justice

Investor divest

7

The people have spoken

Goldcorp out!

8

The people united will never be defeated

La gente unida jamás será vencida

9

Goldcorp threatens Goldcorp kills

How much cyanide will they spill?

Goldcorp steals, Goldcorp lies

How many more will have to die?

Spare change for Ian Telfer, Goldcorp CEO

For more information:

Someone Else’s Treasure – Guatemala – photoessay and video

RightsAction.org

Breaking-the-Silence.ca

SolidarityResponse.net

Nisgua.org


EVENT: Mining (In)Justice: At Home and Abroad

Mining (In)Justice: At Home and Abroad

Mining (in)justice: at home and abroad is a conference on the Canadian mining industry (including Tar Sands) set to take place in Toronto on the weekend of May 7-9, 2010. It will feature leaders in movements against Canadian mining companies both within and outside of Canada and provide space for growing our own movements in alliance with communities impacted by this industry.

WHAT: Conference on the Canadian Mining Industry
WHERE: Earth Sciences Building, University of Toronto
WHEN: May 7-9, 2010
WHO: Impacted communities are coming from all over the world and within Canada. Hear speakers from Honduras, Guatemala, Carrier Sekani First Nation, Papua New Guinea, El Salvador, Ardoch Algonquin, Northern Ontario, Fort Chipewan, Mexico and more! Clayton Thomas Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network is MCing the event!

All our welcome, and the event is free!

This is a follow-up conference to last year’s mining conference, which brought over 20 front line defenders to share their stories and strategize solutions to ending corporate impunity and strengthening the struggles against destructive mining projects around the world.

This year, we are expanding the conference into a 3 day event, providing more space for participants to meet each other, form alliances, and plan actions to foster a movement in solidarity with impacted communities.

for more information and to find out how to get involved! solidarityresponse.net, e-mail:csrtoronto@gmail.com

Confirmed speakers for 2010 include:

ROBERT LOVELACE: For nearly 25 years Bob has remained a steadfast and determined representative for the Algonquin communities of Ardoch, Sharbot Lake. He has stood strong with many allies and friends in defence of the wild rice stands near Ardoch Algonquin land. Lovelace is most well-known outside the Ardoch Algonquin community for his stand against uranium mining, for which he was incarcerated in 2008 with no objection from the Province of Ontario at the time.

CLAIRE LEHAN: Lehan is a legislative Assistant to MPP John McKay. She had worked on the creation of Bill C300 since its inception.

DIANE WIGGINS: Post Colborne resident and community organizer for the Coalition Against Contamination. Wiggins is currently involved in a lawsuit againt INCO due to nickel contamination.

CHRIS REID: Lawyer of the Ardoch Algonquin and KI Nations

JETHRO TULIN: Jethro has been organizing within and outside the Barrick’s Porgera mine since its inception (then owned by Placer Dome. In 1989, he registered Porgera’s first mine workers union and became its first secretary.Years later, Tulin returned to Porgera to find the situation worse and thus founded the Akali Tange Association (ATA), a human rights organization documenting abuses at the Porgera mine in Papa New Guinea – – a mine owned by Toronto’s Barrick Gold.

ENRIQUE RIVERA SIERRA: Rivera is a lawyer and activist working with FAO (Frente Amplio Opositor), a broad environmental and community coalition working to defend Cerro de San Pedro, including historically and culturally significant sites, from contamination and destruction by Canadian company New Gold. Rivera Sierra is currently in Canada claiming political asylum after being allegedly harassed and threatened by mining employees.

ULISES GARCIA: Organized the local referendum against Manhattan Resources which managed to expel a powerful global mining company. He is the founder of a grassroots organization called Tropico Seco, which focuses on the promotion of peaceful resistance and the holding of community and municipal referendums in Latin America concerning development initiatives.

THE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS: The council works to promote progressive policies on fair trade, clean water, energy security, public health care, and other issues of social and economic concern to Canadians. The council has been active in building awareness about problems with the Canadian Fisheries Act which has allowed metal mining companies to apply for federal and provincial approval to use bodies of fresh water as tailings ponds for mining waste.

KAREN SPRING : Karen is from Ontario, Canada. With Rights Action since early 2009, she lives and works in Honduras and Guatemala.

CARLOS AMADOR: Carlos is a teacher and community leader in El Porvenir, 15 kilometers from Goldcorp’s open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine – the “San Martin” mine. Since 2000, Carlos has been educating and organizing local communities in the Siria Valley, and working to resist and demand justice for the health and environmental harms and human rights violations caused by Goldcorp’s mine.

JAVIER de LEON: Javier is a Mayan Mam community leader from the village of Maquivil, municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, department of San Marcos. From his small home, he looks across at Goldcorp’s ever expanding open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine – the “Marlin” mine. Since 2004, Javier has been educating and organizing Mayan Mam communities and working to resist and demand justice for the health and environmental harms and human rights violations caused by Goldcorp’s mine.

CLEVE HIGGINS: Cleve is working with the McGill research group for the Investigation of Canadian mining in Latin America (MICLA) and has focused on the institutional investment in Canadian gold mining companies. On May 10th he’ll be staking a mining claim on Mount Royal, and then heading to southern Mexico to make connections with the growing opposition to Canadian mining in that part of the continent.

NELY RIVERA DE SILVA: de Silva works with CEICOM, the Centre for Research on Investment and Commerce, an organization that does research and advocacy on the impacts of mining investment in El Salvador. At this time, Nely is deeply involved community organizing to prevent the second Goldcorp mine in Guatemala, that of Cerro Blanco, which is on the Guatemala/El Salvador border and threatens access to water and the contamination of water and the eco-system on both sides of the border.

STEVEN SCHNOOR: For several years, Schnoor has been working on the issue of Canadian mining companies operating in Central America — an interest that began in January 2005/ Film work includes “Desalojo (Eviction)” and “All That Glitters Isn’t Gold: A Story of Exploitation and Resistance.” Steven is presently working on a larger documentary looking at the broader implications of mining in the surrounding regions.

MIKE MERCREDI: Mike works for the Athabasca Chipewyan FN (ACFN) in their IRC department as a GIS technical specialist. He is a Traditional Environment Knowledge (TEK) and Traditional Land Use Occupations (TLUO) facilitator. He will speak on the frontline struggles in Fort Chipewyan including a plague of tar sands related cancer.

ENRICO ESGUERRA: Rick Esguerra taught International Development and Political Science at the University of the Philippines, and was involved in popular education for labour and peasant organizations before coming to Canada in 1990. Since then he has been involved in social justice, human rights and international solidarity work as a member of the Philippine Solidarity Network and the Philippine Network for Justice and Peace (PNJP). In September 2006, he made a presentation for PNJP on Canadian Mining Practices in the Philippines at the Toronto Roundtable on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Sector, hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

TIM GROVES: is a Toronto-based investigative researcher and reporter. He has been sharing his skills with a variety of activist and community groups since 2003.

MALCOM ROGGE: is a filmmaker and writer based in Toronto. His debut feature documentary film, Under Rich Earth had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and has received widespread critical acclaim. Rogge has also worked for human rights and environmental organizations in Canada and Ecuador, and he is on the editorial board of a national magazine devoted to politics and social justice.

ALLAN LISSNER: is an independent photojournalist based in Toronto, Canada. Allan’s ongoing project, “Someone Else’s Treasure”, examines the social and environmental impacts of the global mining industry on indigenous communities around the world. Allan has done work with many organizations including Amnesty International, Oxfam Canada, Make Poverty History, Norwegian Church Aid,the Ontario Council for International Cooperation, and the United Nations Development Program.

TENZIN LOBSANG WANGKHANG: Wangkhang is the National Director of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) Canada, a grassroots non-profit advocacy group based out of Toronto. Students for a Free Tibet Canada is part of the SFT International network which works in solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and independence from illegal Chinese occupation. Through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action, they campaign for Tibetans’ fundamental right to political freedom. SFT’s role is to empower and train youth as leaders in the worldwide movement for social justice. One of SFT Canada’s key campaigns is targeting Canadian mining companies that have lead to recent foreign gold rush into Tibet.

FELICIANO ORELLANA: is a representative of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Franciscan Family, in the Department of Jutiapa in eastern Guatemala. Employed by Goldcorp subsidiary Entre Mares in 1998 as one of the first employee, he later got hired in 2008 and suffered an almost Fatal accident on the job, for which he received no compensation. Now Feliciano is an active leader in his community and wants to share his experience on Goldcorp Human Rights Violations and the communities’ opposition to the Cerro Blanco Mine, Goldcorp’ second large mine in Guatemala.

DR. CONSTANCIO ‘CHANDU’ CLAVER: a native of Bontoc, Mountain Province in the northern Philippines, is currently the Chairperson of BAYAN Canada. A surgeon by training and a physician by practice, Dr. Claver has been a doctor of the masses for decades, being the Executive Director of the former Community Health and Education Concerns for Kalinga-Apayao. Formerly the Vice-Chair of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance, and chairperson of Bayan Muna in Kalinga, Dr. Claver is known as a staunch advocate of human rights, peace and justice. In July 2006, Dr. Claver, his wife Alyce, and their daughter were targets of a political assassination attempt, which his wife did not survive. Dr. Claver recently won his claim for political refugee status; he and his daughters now live in Canada.


Impacted Communities Confront Barrick Gold at Annual General Meeting

Indigenous representatives from Papua New Guinea and Chile traveled to Canada this week to speak at Barrick Gold’s annual shareholders meeting.

Representatives of the Diaguita...

Representatives of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos, from Chile, and from Porgera, Papua New Guinea, lead a march of about a hundred people to the headquarters of Barrick Gold, after raising their complaints to shareholders inside the annual general meeting in Toronto.

At Barrick’s Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea, complaints include house burnings, forced displacement, and a food security crisis caused by the mine’s expanding waste dumps. At Barrick’s Pascua Lama project on the border of Chile and Argentina, Barrick failed to consult the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous community, who hold title to the land of the proposed mine, as well as other areas that Barrick is exploring.

“Barrick has made it impossible for us to live on our traditional land. It is contaminated, unhealthy, we have no land left to grow our food and we are constantly targeted by the mine security,” explained Mark Ekepa, the chairman of the Porgera Landowners Association. “We want to be resettled as a community, but Barrick refuses to negotiate with us.”

Jeffrey, from Porgera, Papua New Guinea, addresses the crowd gathered outside Barrick' headquarters.

Jeffrey, from Porgera, Papua New Guinea, addresses the crowd gathered outside Barrick' headquarters.

The Diaguita Huascoaltinos have two lawsuits against Barrick within Chile, and a lawsuit against the Chilean state within the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Within the IACHR, their claim states that the government violated the Diaguita’s Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) and did not consider comments submitted by their community in the Environmental Assessment Process of the mine. The claim also states that Barrick’s claim to land on and near the Pascua Lama project on the border of Chile and Argentina relies on a series of fraudulent land claims to collectively held-Diaguita Huascoaltinos land.

Idolia, from the Huasco Valley in Chile, joins the protests outside Barrick's AGM after addressing the shareholders directly inside the meeting.

The delegation from Papua New Guinea, which includes the Chairman and the Secretary of the Porgera Landowners Association and two representatives from the Akali Tange Association, comes to Canada on the heels of the release of an Amnesty International report detailing forced evictions and house burnings near Barrick’s Porgera Mine.

See Amnesty Report: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA34/001/2010/en/2a498f9d-39f7-47df-b5eb-5eaf586fc472/asa340012010eng.pdf

"Support for Barrick is Support for Rape, Murder and Violence" - Strong messages from the hundred protesters gathered outside the Barrick AGM, showing their support for indigenous representatives speaking inside the meeting.

See Full Statements of Impacted Community leaders: http://www.protestbarrick.net/article.php?id=591

More info on Barrick Gold: http://www.protestbarrick.net/article.php?id=590

To speak to Indigenous representatives contact Sakura Saunders: 647-838-8455, sakura.saunders@gmail.com

Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer, Akali Tange Association: jctulin@gmail.com
Daniela Guzmán, Technical Advisor, Diaguita Huascoaltinos: daniela.guzman@gmail.com

ProtestBarrick

ProtestBarrick

Protesters hold up a banner with Barrick Gold's corporate logo, altered slightly to resemble a pile of coffins.

Agua Si, Oro No!

Agua Si, Oro No!

Barrick Destroys. About a hundred protesters gathered outside Barrick Gold's AGM showing their support for indigenous representatives speaking inside.

Barrick Destroys. About a hundred protesters gathered outside Barrick Gold's AGM showing their support for indigenous representatives speaking inside.

Zafar Baluch, from the Baloch Human Rights Council joined protesters as they marched towards Barrick's headquarters to raise concerns regarding the proposed Reko Diq Project in Baluchistan, Pakistan.

Mining is Killig the Earth!


Multimedia: Someone Else’s Treasure – Guatemala

Someone Else's Treasure - Guatemala

Someone Else's Treasure - Guatemala

Someone Else’s Treasure is an ongoing multimedia project which brings to light some of the experiences of indigenous communities around the world that have been impacted by the global mining industry – including communities in the Philippines, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Chile, Canada, and Guatemala.

This multimedia piece focuses on communities in San Marcos, Guatemala, living next to the Canadian-owned Marlin Mine. The first two songs are by Grupo Kotzic, who are from San Marcos, singing about the peoples’ resistance to the mine. The third song is a live recording from inside the Church of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, San Marcos, where  community members were singing a song they wrote about their experiences with the mine.

In an effort to better understand the true cost of an industry that shapes the world around all of us, the focus of Someone Else’s Treasure is on the externalized – the men, women, and children, that have been left out of the equations and are therefore forced to pay the price for someone else’s treasure.

Now available in Spanish: La Riqueza de Otros – Guatemala

Read the photo essay for more information:

Someone Else’s Treasure – Guatemala


Someone Else’s Treasure – Guatemala

San Marcos, Guatemala

San Marcos, Guatemala

Within the Department of San Marcos, in the western highlands of Guatemala, the Marlin Mine is located along the border between the municipalities of San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipakapa. These communities are largely composed of Indigenous Mayans who speak their traditional languages in addition to Spanish. 85% of the mine is located in San Miguel Ixtahacán, where the population is mostly Mam-Maya, one of the larger Mayan subgroups.Sipakapa is inhabited mostly by the Sipakapense, one of the smaller subgroups.

Goldcorp Inc.

Goldcorp Inc.

The Marlin Mine, which has both open-pit and underground operations, is fully owned by Vancouver-based Goldcorp Inc., one of the world’s biggest gold companies. The mine is operated by Montana Exploradora, a subsidiary fully owned by Goldcorp. The Marlin Mine was the first project to be funded by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) after its Extractive Industries Review (EIR), in 2003, which sought to bring World Bank-funded projects in line with the institution’s “overarching mandate of poverty alleviation and sustainable development.” It was also the first project to be found not in compliance with these new World Bank standards.

The Marlin Mine

The Marlin Mine

According to the Canadian Social Investment Database, Goldcorp has the highest environmental fine total among mining companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) Composite Index. Goldcorp has been accused of having caused cyanide spikes, elevated levels of heavy metal contamination and acid mine drainage at its mines in Mexico, Honduras, Canada, the United States, Argentina, and Guatemala. In April 2008, Jantzi Research, an independent investment research association which analyzes the social and environmental performance of more than 300 Canadian companies, recommended not to invest in Goldcorp, citing the threats to safety and security, environmental impacts, growing opposition from local indigenous communities, and inadequate consultation with local communities. Guatemala has signed and ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169, which requires the State to consult affected indigenous communities, before they can approve any project, law, or decree that might affect them. Community members of both San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipakapa claim that they were never consulted by either the Government or the company.

Rolasia

Rolasia

Rosalia stands on what used to be part of her farm until the mine expanded a single lane dirt road to accommodate large mining trucks. Rosalia’s family says it was never consulted or compensated for the loss of their land. When the company first arrived in the area, they carried out a series of presentations on the benefits of mining. The company claims to have held 74 meetings with people in San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipakapa. Those who attended the meetings were were asked to sign a list in exchange for a free lunch. Community members say that these lists were then used by Goldcorp to prove to the Government and the World Bank that they had consulted the local communities. “There was no dialogue and no consultation with the communities about the company coming here,” they say, “the public was not consulted. That is why we are very upset, because these people have money, they are millionaires, they can do what they want. They don’t care about our lives. We did what we could, but it didn’t make any difference. The old Mayor and Judge sided with the company for the money. So the people couldn’t defend their rights.”

Julian

Julian

“They say that they have brought a lot of change and development,” says Julian who lives in San Miguel Ixtahuacán . “But these are pure lies because we have not seen any development! If the company really cared about our development, we would be living in better conditions. Our houses would be nicer, and our roads would be paved. But they only pave the roads that they want to use. When they came, they promised to build houses, but the houses were never built. They even try to take credit for the few concrete houses there are in the village, but that is a lie! All the houses here built with concrete were made, because the families have members who have emigrated to the USA and are sending money back. All the rest of our houses are built of mud and wood, we know this because we built them with our own hands. We have to listen to their lies everyday, but they haven’t given us anything! So why are they telling all these lies?”

Candelaria

Candelaria

Candelaria stands outside her home directly below the mine in front of a bullet hole in her wall. Candelaria’s husband is currently working at a hotel for tourists in Cancun, Mexico, so that he can send money back for his family, who also lost some of its farm land to the road expansion. One night while the family was asleep, a vehicle drove past her home, and someone fired four gun shots at Candelaria’s house. “Before we all lived peacefully,” says Candelaria’s brother-in-law Victor, “one heard about violence, but in the capital, now the violence is here, among us—to the point of parents fighting with their children and brothers fighting each other. We are very worried, because we hear people saying: ‘we will kill or kidnap those who are against mining,’ and there are many killings and kidnappings, not only here but also in many other villages above the mine. We are living a life that is very difficult, and it will continue to get worse. And I think: who will defend us? What will we do?”

Missing Family

Missing Family

Community members of San Miguel Ixtahuacán gather inside their Church to see pictures from Father Erick’s recent trip to the USA. Father Erick’s trip included several cities accross the United States, so that he could visit peoples’ relatives who are working there, often undocumented, in order to support their families. “They said that we would benefit by getting jobs,” someone murmurs in the crowd, “so where are the jobs? If there are jobs here, why do so many of us have to leave our families and homes risking our lives for a few coins?” In addition to the United States, many people also emigrate to Mexico or to the coastal regions of Guatemala to work in the sugar plantations.

Yolanda

Yolanda

Yolanda lives in one of the houses surrounding the Marlin Mine. Over a hundred of these houses have suffered structural damage, including cracking walls and floors, since the mining activities began. The company denies any responsibility, but villagers believe the cracks are being caused by the daily dynamite explosions in the mine. A recent report put out by the Pastoral Commission for Peace and Ecology (COPAE) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) concludes that “by a process of elimination, the most likely cause of the building damage is ground vibrations. There are no sources of vibrations in the area except those resulting from mine blasting and heavy truck traffic; therefore it is very highly likely that the damage in local villages is caused by the mining activity and associated truck traffic.”

Irma

Irma

“Our houses are falling apart!” says Irma standing in her crumbling bedroom, “I’m scared to be inside my house, because one day it can fall on top of us!” Goldcorp refuses to acknowledge any connection between their operations and the damage to the houses. At first they claimed that the cracks were caused by all the vehicles driving through the villiages. “We said that if it was a problem of vehicles,” recalls Irma, “only the vehicles from the company are heavy, and anyway the houses far away from the road would not be cracking too. Then they said it wasn’t the vehicles, but poor construction. We told them that if the problem was poor construction, then most of the houses in the whole country would be having the same problems, not just the ones next to their mine. Their stories keep changing, but they always refuse to accept any responsibility. They don’t even take our complaints seriously, they laugh at us. Once they even said it was being caused because we play our music too loud!”

Maria

Maria

Maria and her family had spent four years building themselves a new home. It was a moment of great pride, when they finally completed the construction. But three weeks later, they discovered that the cement floor had started to crack. At the moment it is only a hair-line crack, but Maria has seen some of the other homes that have much larger cracks, so she knows that it is only a matter of time. Everyday at noon and then again at midnight, the mine sets off dynamite explosions which cause the ground to shake like an earthquake. The family eventually decided to cut its losses and not move in, so the building remains empty and unused. “They are making us suffer,” says Maria, “we are not being treated as human beings.”

Water

Water

Like most large-scale gold mines, the extracted ore is processed using cyanide. The remaining waste material is then dumped in a tailings pond. Locals are very concerned about how the mine may be effecting both the quantity and the quality of their water supplies. The mine uses as much as 250,000 liters of water every hour of every day, which is roughly equivalent to what a Guatemalan family of 8 would use over the course of 25 years. Six to eight wells are reported to have dried up recently, although the company claims it obtains all its water either from what is recycled from the tailings pond or from deep underground sources which are not connected to the communities’ wells. Additional concerns include the possibility of the chemicals leaking out into the rivers or, even worse, that the dyke keeping all the waste in the pond may not be able to withstand the frequent earthquakes in the area. “This worries us,” says Victor, “because the tailings pond is above and we are here below it!”

Reyna

Reyna

“They told us the water is fine,” says Reyna as she does her laundry in the river with her brother Alex. “We don’t have any water at the house and our well has dried up, so we have to come down here.” Scientific studies by the Pastoral Commission for Peace and Ecology (COPAE), have shown that the rivers below the tailings pond contain arsenic. “All mines contaminate,” says Alejandro from COPAE, “there are no examples of the mining industry not causing contamination anywhere in the world. Our studies demonstrate that the rivers below the mine are contaminated. The water is not suitable for consumption.” Despite the company’s claims that the water is safe, company employees refused when Freddy, one of the auxiliary mayors of San Miguel Ixtahuacán, challenged them to drink or bathe in the water themselves.

Teresa

Teresa

“Before,” remembers Teresa, “we used to plant gourds, beans, avocado, lemons, oranges, peaches and corn. But they are not the same anymore. Look at the avocado trees, they don’t have any fruit—they flower, but then the flowers fall off. And the life of the animals? Already it is sad. It is not the same as it was when I was growing up, it was healthy, you could eat everything. Now, what we eat and what we drink, these are contaminated.”

Crops

Crisanta

“The crops were much better before,” says Crisanta holding up some of the corn her family harvested this year, “but since the mine came, they don’t come out the same anymore. They do not grow properly now! We haven’t had a good harvest for about three years. Even the crops that we do harvest, we cannot sell. As soon as people find out that we are from San Miguel, they don’t want to buy from us because they say it’s all contaminated. ”

Lisandro

Lisandro

Eight-year old Lisandro has itchy rashes all over his body, which first appeared about four years ago when the mine started operations. “Before the mining company came, there weren’t so many health problems,” says Lisandro’s uncle Victor, “now there are many illnesses. When the mining company came, it brought us skin infections, stomach pains, illnesses like flu and also diarrhea in children and adults. They don’t tell us why this is happening. I think that it is because we are drinking the water, and we bathe in the river. This worries us a lot because, look—what are we going to do? Where are we going to go? Who will offer us a helping hand? Who will care for us? This is what worries us a lot. And later, not only this but also the conflicts, the violence, the kidnappings, before these didn’t happen.” “This is not a development project,” adds Miguel-Angel, who owns the local pharmacy, “this is a project of death! It’s a monster!”

Yahira

Yahira

“Since the company came we have diseases, before we didn’t have anything like this,” says Irma, whose daughter Yahira has similar itchy rashes all over her body. “Before the children were all healthy. Not any more! It is the mine’s fault! In the past everyone was healthy, but not anymore because of them. And then they insult us, saying that we get these rashes because we are dirty and don’t bathe! We are sad. They are scaring us! They are just scaring us! I want the mine to leave! They have come here and taken advantage of us. Here in San Miguel they are really taking advantage of us!”

Teresa

Teresa

“We were fine before, but now things aren’t as they used to be,” says Teresa, who has a mysterious growth below her left eye, “we are living a very difficult life — our crops, animals, everyone’s health is at risk, violence, kidnappings. We don’t count! We don’t know what will happen with us. It hurts, because we are human, we have feelings. These things never happened before the mine came here. They only think of their love of money and for that reason they are discriminating against us. But we hope in God that one day we can change their hearts, then they will not come to do so many things to us, because they will finally recognize us as human beings.”

Referenda

Referenda

In community meetings throughout San Miguel Ixtahuacán, residents are currently in the process of organizing a community referendum on mining. This referendum was inspired by the 2005 referendum in the neighboring municipality of Sipakapa. The results of the Sipakapa referendum speak for themselves; 2,502 eligible voters participated, which compares favorably to the 3,087 turnout for the federal elections. In total, 2,426 people voted against mining, 35 people voted for mining, 8 ballots were illegible, one was blank and 32 abstained. Of the 13 community assemblies held in Sipakapa, 11 rejected mining (unanimously in most cases), one supported the mine, and one abstained. In total, 98.5% of the participating population rejected mining. The company took legal action to have the referendum annulled. The Guatemalan Constitutional Court ruled that the referendum was legal, but not binding.

Fausto and Pedro

Fausto and Pedro

Sipakapa continues to refuse any payments from the company and resist continued attempts to expand the mine within their territory. Instead, the community proposed an alternative development project of their own in the form of a fair-trade organic coffee cooperative. In the summer of 2009, their coffee co-op finally got off the ground and participants, like Fausto and Pedro here, are now in the process of laying the groundwork for their future plantations. While the referendum was important in demonstrating the community’s unified opposition to the mine, it was also very important for them to be able to propose an alternative that was driven by the whole community themselves.

Our Art

Our Art

“Agriculture is our Art, it’s what we know” says Ovideo, “gold is of no value to us, but our land, our families, our culture — these are things that we value greatly.” The indigenous residents of both Sipakapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán know that their ancestors have lived on these lands for generations refining and passing down their knowledge of how to cultivate the land. What could be more sustainable than that? This group pictured here, including (left to right) Matilda, Jeffrey Jr, Jeffrey Sr, Bayron, and Raul, are planning the layout of their new coffee plantation in Sipakapa. They carefully measure out the distances between the points where they will plant each tree, taking all factors into account, including the slope of the hill, the direction of the sun, and the quality of the soil. “This is very difficult and complicated work, but we know how to take care of ourselves,” says Fidel, one of the organizers behind the organic coffee project, “that is why we, the people of Sipakapa, have said ‘No!’ to mining in our territory.”

??

Only a Yellow Stone that Shines

As the people of both Sipakapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán look on in horror at the Marlin Mine in their midst, many of them struggle to even comprehend the point of it all. “Who came up with the idea that gold should be worth so much anyway?” asks Alejandro, “it’s only a yellow stone that shines! Life should be more valuable than gold.” “I hope that everyone takes this information, listens to our stories, and tells our stories,” says Reyna, “we are only humble people but our exeriences are our own, they are real, no one understands our situation better than we do, but we want everyone to know what is happening to us in order to put international pressure on the authorities so that they think a little about the poor people, not only those who have money, but us who are ignored, humiliated, as though we are worth nothing. We also have rights, and we don’t want to continue suffering like this.”

See also:

Someone Else’s Treasure – the Philippines

Someone Else’s Treasure – Tanzania

Someone Else’s Treasure – Indigenous Resistance


Anti-Mining Artwork at the University of San Carlos

The Marlin Mine is a large scale gold mine located in the Department of San Marcos, in the western highlands of Guatemala. Operated by Montana Exploradora, a subsidiary of the Canadian corporation Goldcorp Inc.

But Montana doesn’t seem very popular in the area, as suggested by the elaborate permanent mural paintings displayed along the walls outside the University of San Carlos, in San Marcos.  Here are some details of the large murals:

Montana vs the People

Montana vs the People

Mining the Earth

Mining the Earth

Planet Injured - Humanity in Danger

Planet Injured - Humanity in Danger

The 1% refers to the royalties Montana pays to the government of Guatemala

1% refers to the royalties Montana pays to the government of Guatemala

No to Mining

No to Mining

Killing the Earth

Killing the Earth

All it takes...

Want this to happen? For evil to triumph, all that is needed is for men of conscience to do nothing...

Canadian and American Imports

Canadian and American Imports

Canadian Law

Canadian Law

No one thought...

I never thought that mining would bring me so many benefits, yeah...

See photos of the Marlin Mine here


The Marlin Mine

I’m almost finished my work here in Guatemala, now I have to start editing and captioning and putting together the newest photo essay for Someone Else’s Treasure.  The Marlin Gold Mine in San Marcos, Guatemala, is owned by Canadian mining company Goldcorp Inc. Here are some photos of the mine itself.  More on how the Marlin Mine is impacting local communities coming soon…

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala

Marlin Mine, Guatemala


Picture(s) of the Day: Global Day of Action Against Open Pit Mining

These are three posters that I designed recently for the Global Day of Action Against Open Pit Mining.

1 ounce of Gold = 79 tones of Waste

1 ounce of Gold = 79 tones of Waste

Mercury | Cyanide | Lead

Mercury | Cyanide | Lead

Native Rights Ignored | Duty to Consult Ignored

Native Rights Ignored | Duty to Consult Ignored


Residents of Mankayan Evacuated

Danger Zone: Sinking Area

Danger Zone: Sinking Area

I was in Mankayan, in the Philippines, about a year and a half ago and one of the issues I reported on was the sinking and ground subsistence in the area as a result of irrisponsible underground mining practices. I recently recieved a message from the Cordillera People’s Alliance reporting that:

“Residents of Brgy* Aurora in Mankayan, Benguet province are now evacuating as a result of the continuing massive land subsidence in Mankayan, Benguet. Long years of Lepanto Mining’s underground large mining operations has created mazes of tunnels underground has been causing land subsidence as early as the 1970′s, the worse cases were in 2009. The disastrous land subsidence in 1999 buried alive a local resident whose body was never found.”

*[Brgy=Barangay=Municipality]

Many buildings were visible sinking into the ground or tumbling down the mountain saides when I was in Mankayan.

Careless underground mining practices have induced surface subsistence and ground collapse. Many homes and buildings have been abandoned, and can be seen sinking into the ground. One Lepanto worker is quoted as saying that there are tunnels "as big as municipal buildings" underneath the area. Residents of Barangay Aurora, in Mankayan, are now being evacuated for their safety.

This is the spot where there used to be an elementary school. In 1999, the school building was suddenly swept away in a landslide killing Pable Gomez, a local villager who was in the building at the time. The loss could have been considerably worse, however, if the landslide had occured during school hours when there would have been as many as two hundred elementary school children in the building.

This is the spot where there used to be an elementary school, the Victoria Gold mine's tailings pond is visible just below. In 1999, the school building was suddenly swept away in a landslide killing Pablo Gomez, a local villager who was in the building at the time. The loss could have been considerably worse, however, if the landslide had occurred during school hours when there would have been as many as two hundred elementary school children in the building.

The view from Mankayan, where houses are build along the side of the mountains.

The view from Mankayan, where the houses are build along the side of the mountains.

You can see more recent photos from Mankayan HERE

More information at the Cordillera People’s Alliance


International Youth Day: the Children from Someone Else’s Treasure

August 12 is the United Nations’ International Youth Day. The theme for this year’s International Youth Day is Sustainability.

Benguet Province, in the Philippines, these are some of the children of the miners working in the Victoria Gold Mine in Mankayan.

Benguet Province, in the Philippines, these are some of the children of the miners working in the Victoria Gold Mine in Mankayan.

According to the UN’s International Youth Day website:

Sustainability does not only refer to maintaining environmental balance and renewal. Sustainability encapsulates three facets of life: the environment, society and the economy. We live our lives in the overlaps and intersections of these facets, and our actions and attitudes help shape them. Their changing shapes in turn affect the way we are able to live our lives. The negative effects of unsustainable behaviour are not easily contained. As has been proven by the global crises in food, the economy and the environment, the concept of the global village has gone beyond being a useful analogy to being a hard reality, making clear the need to adopt a global sense of social responsibility.”

So to go with this years theme, here are some images of some of the children I met while working on Someone Else’s Treasure in the Philippines and Tanzania.  In all the communities I visited people were saying the same things; they questioned the sustainability of the mining projects they lived next to and they were deeply concerned about the consequences their children would be stuck with in the future, among other things.

Benjamin and his son. Benjamin works as a miner in the Victoria Gold Mine. He hates working in the mine but he has no doubts that he is willing to sacrifice himself for his children's futures.

Benjamin and his son. Benjamin works as a miner in the Victoria Gold Mine. He hates working in the mine but he has no doubts that he is willing to sacrifice himself for his children's futures.

Family is everything for the miners here. This is in Caguay'’s home where he proudly displays all the academic and athletic awards that his son, reflected in the mirror, has won. Sadly, even with a university education, there is no guarantee that they will be able to find work.

Family is everything for the miners here. This is in Caguay'’s home where he proudly displays all the academic and athletic awards that his son, reflected in the mirror, has won. Sadly, even with a university education, there is no guarantee that they will be able to find work.

Lilia prepares her daughter for school. Lilia’’s husband, Peter, had worked at the Lepanto mine for seventeen years when all 1,787 workers went on strike in 2005. The workers were on strike for three months demanding better wages, benefits and job security to reflect the dangers of their jobs. Management refused to meet their demands and responded by firing the 19 union leaders behind the strike, including Peter.  With Peter unable to find work now, the burden of supporting the family now falls on the shoulders of his wife Lilia, sitting here with their daughter Trixie. Lilia has no formal education so her prospects are limited. The only real option available to her is to work abroad as one of the millions of Filipino domestic servants employed all over the world. “”I would like very much to work in Canada””, she says, ““it must be like paradise there…do you know anyone who needs a house worker?”” But even in places like Canada, she knows Filipino domestic workers are alone and vulnerable. About one month before this picture was taken, she heard reports about a girl from the neighboring town of Ifugao who was murdered while working as a domestic servant in a mansion in Toronto.  But apart from her personal safety, what troubles Lilia most is the thought of being separated from her family.

Lilia prepares her daughter for school. Lilia’’s husband, Peter, had worked at the Lepanto mine for seventeen years when all 1,787 workers went on strike in 2005. The workers were on strike for three months demanding better wages, benefits and job security to reflect the dangers of their jobs. Management refused to meet their demands and responded by firing the 19 union leaders behind the strike, including Peter. With Peter unable to find work now, the burden of supporting the family now falls on the shoulders of his wife Lilia. Lilia has no formal education so her prospects are limited. The only real option available to her is to work abroad as one of the millions of Filipino migrant workers employed all over the world. “What troubles Lilia most is the thought of being separated from her family.

In the tiny village of Kisluyan, in the Philippine island of Mindoro, the children sit on the thatched roof of one of their homes watching the sun set behind the mountains. Kisluyan is one of 26 indigenous villages that face the threat of displacement if Crew Minerals (now Intex Resources) opens up a nickel mine on their ancestral land.

In the tiny village of Kisluyan, in the Philippine island of Mindoro, children sit on the thatched roof of one of their homes watching the sun set behind the mountains. Kisluyan is one of 26 indigenous Mangyan villages that face the threat of displacement if Crew Minerals (now Intex Resources) opens up a nickel mine on their ancestral land.

The Mangyans, who once occupied the whole island, are peaceful people who shy away from confrontation. As more and more settlers began moving to the island, the Mangyans were gradually pushed higher and higher into the mountains. Now, with the proposed opening of the mine threatening to push them off their land, they are left with nowhere to go.

The Mangyans, who once occupied the whole island, are a peaceful people who shy away from confrontation. As more and more settlers began moving to the island, the Mangyans were gradually pushed higher and higher into the mountains. Now, with the proposed opening of the mine threatening to push them off their land, they are left with nowhere to go where they can continue their traditional way of life.

Living in relative isolation high in the mountains, the Mangyans have done well to hold on to their culture despite increasing external interference. The Mangyan are one of the only indigenous groups in the Philippines that have managed to hold on to their traditional script, which they continue to pass on to their children.  For the Mangyan, their land is the very foundation of their identity. Generation after generation, the Mangyans have been taught to care for their land; “”we take care of the land, and the land will take care of us.””  Many of them worry that disaster will befall them if their lands –– especially their ancestral burial grounds –– are desecrated.

Living in relative isolation high in the mountains, the Mangyans have done well to hold on to their culture despite increasing external interference. For the Mangyan, their land is the very foundation of their identity. Many of them worry that their very existence as a people is at stake.

Although many of the indigenous peoples in the neighboring villages are opposed to the mine, it has proven difficult to organize the groups to show their unified opposition and stand up for their rights. Traditionally the Alangan have been averse to confrontation. Crew has taken advantage by forming their own group to pose as representatives of the affected indigenous communities to sign documents consenting to the mining operations.

Although many of the Mangyan are deeply opposed to the mine, it has proven difficult to organize the groups to show their unified opposition and stand up for their rights. The company has taken advantage of their shy and peaceful nature by forming their own group (made up mostly of their own employees) to pose as representatives of the affected indigenous communities to sign documents consenting to the mining operations.

In the village of Pili, in the Philippines island of Mindoro, a young girl sits back and enjoys the sea breeze. Pili is one of the proposed sites for a processing plant

In the fishing village of Pili, in the Philippines island of Mindoro, a young girl sits back and enjoys the sea breeze. Pili is one of the proposed sites for a processing plant for Crew Resources' (now renamed Intex Resources) proposed nickel mine. Residents fear that the processing plant would pose a serious threat to their livelihoods.

In Pili, young Henry relaxes on his bed largely unaware of his parent's worries.

In the fishing village of Pili, in the Philippines island of Mindoro, young Henry relaxes on his bed largely unaware of his parent's worries. The province of Oriental Mindoro is ranked third as the province which produces the most food in the Philippines, and is known as the “food basket” of the region. The food security of Mindoro is under threat, however, by Crew Minerals’ (now renamed Intex Resources) proposed nickel mine. The proposed mine site is located within a critical watershed area that provides the irrigation for 70% of the province’s vital rice fields and fruit plantations.

Sheila is one of 258 men, women, and children, from Mtakuja village who were displaced in late July 2007 to make way for an expansion of the Geita Gold Mine.  “We were invaded by administration police officers in the middle of the night, who shoved us out of our houses. We were not given even a chance to take our belongings,” laments Abdallah Abedi, a former village executive officer, “we were moved here like people in a war-torn country, and now we are all tucked into a small place like prisoners who have committed the worst of crimes.”

Sheila is one of 258 men, women, and children, from Mtakuja village who were displaced in late July 2007 to make way for an expansion of the Geita Gold Mine. “We were invaded by administration police officers in the middle of the night, who shoved us out of our houses. We were not given even a chance to take our belongings,” laments Abdallah Abedi, a former village executive officer, “we were moved here like people in a war-torn country, and now we are all tucked into a small place like prisoners who have committed the worst of crimes.”

The Luhanga’s were among the thousands of families who had been forcefully evicted in August 1996 to make way for Sutton Resources’ Bulyanhulu Gold Mine, which was bought three years later by Barrick Gold.  According to Barrick’s own report, Social Development Plan for the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine, there were anywhere between 30,000 and 400,000 people living in the area before the evictions. The company claims that the people living there were nomadic illegal trespassers. But the communities argue that some of the villages in the area had existed long before colonial days.

In Kahama, Tanzania, the Luhanga children playing in their straw hut. The Luhangas were among the thousands of families who had been forcefully evicted in August 1996 to make way for Sutton Resources’ Bulyanhulu Gold Mine, which was bought three years later by Barrick Gold. According to Barrick’s own report, Social Development Plan for the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine, there were anywhere between 30,000 and 400,000 people living in the area before the evictions. The company claims that the people living there were nomadic illegal trespassers. But the communities argue that some of the villages in the area had existed long before colonial days.

This is a water hole in Nyamongo that was built by Barrick Gold near their North Mara Gold mine on behalf of the local communities (the endge of the mine pit can be seen in the top left corner). But the water appears milky and dirty and the plants around the water hole are dying, but this is the only water source available to the community.

This is a water hole in Nyamongo that was built by Barrick Gold near their North Mara Gold mine on behalf of the local communities. But the water appears milky and dirty and the plants around the water hole are dying, but this is the only water source available to the community.

Mabibhi’s granddaughter drinking the water which residents believe has been contaminated. residents report that the water now tastes bitter and smells foul AngloGold claims that they carry out “regular monitoring around the village” and their results do not coincide with the conclusions of Bitala’s study. They point out that any problems may in fact be stemming from the old mine in the same location operated by Germany in colonial times.  Human rights lawyer Tundu Lissu argues that “the description of the deaths and other health problems reported by the villagers of Nyakabale are consistent with the symptoms associated with cyanide poisoning.”

In Geita, Tanzania, Mabibhi’s granddaughter drinks the water which residents believe has been contaminated by the Geita Gold Mine. Residents report that the water now tastes bitter and smells foul. Human rights lawyer Tundu Lissu argues that “the description of the deaths and other health problems reported by the villagers of Nyakabale are consistent with the symptoms associated with cyanide poisoning.”

In Kahama, Tanzania, young Abraham has been feeling sick so he has been bundled up in warm clothes and brought to Deogratios, the village medicine man, for some treatement. Health problems are all too common in the area and residents fear that there may be a connection between their health problems and the contamination of their water sources by nearby gold mines.

In Kahama, Tanzania, young Abraham has been feeling sick so he has been bundled up in warm clothes and brought to Deogratios, the village medicine man, for some treatement. Health problems are all too common in the area and residents fear that there may be a connection between their health problems and the contamination of their water sources by nearby gold mines.

In Geita, Tanzania, near the Geita Gold Mine, a young girl works hard all day collecting wood. With many of the farmers living nearby unable to grow their crops or raise livestock due to the contaminated water

In Geita, Tanzania, near the Geita Gold Mine, a young girl works hard all day collecting wood. With many of the farmers living nearby facing increasing difficulties growing their crops or raising livestock due to the contaminated water, families cannot afford to send all their children to school. So many of the youngest children, especially girls, have to find work to contribute to the families income. This has led many critics in Tanzania to argue that multinational mining has contributed significantly to impoverishing the rural poor.

For more information:

Someone Else’s Treasure – Introduction
Someone Else’s Treasure – The Philippines
Someone Else’s Treasure – Tanzania


Global Day of Action Against Open Pit Mining

Solidarity protests were held in Toronto and Montreal in Canada, in Melbourne, Canberra and Newcastle in Australia, as well as in Bankok, Thailand, and Mexico City, Mexico, as part of the Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining.  These protests targeted Canadian Embassies, specific mining companies’ offices, as well as the Toronto Stock Exchange, to show their solidarity with communities around the world that have been impacted by Canadian mining projects.

The following images are from the protest outside the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the text is from the information handouts that participants were handing out to passers by:

Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil, and See No Evil at the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil, and See No Evil at the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“The Canadian economy funds projects to the shame of each Canadian.  There are no human rights requirements to be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.  The Canadian government supports these companies even  as human rights workers are killed and communities poisioned.  Canada is getting a bad name from these widespread human and environmental catastrophes.”

The colourful group of protesters engaged passers in discussions to let them know about the increasingly negative reputation Canada is getting around the world becuase of the actions of Canadian mining companies.

The colorful group of protesters engaged the rush-hour traffic passing by in discussions to let them know about the increasingly negative reputation Canada is getting around the world because of the actions of Canadian mining companies.

Some of the cases the protesters highlighted from around the world included:

The Philippines

“Political killings of left-leaning activists, clergy and journalists in the Philippines have been escalating steadily under the Presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and have been linked to open criticism of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The human-rights group Karapatan estimates that over one thousand activists have been killed since Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001. Nearly all of the cases remain unresolved.”

We Resist Canadian Mining -- A message of solidarity from Timuay Boy Anoy (the traditional chieftain of the Subanon land in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte where TVI Pacific Inc. is operating a large scale open pit mine)

We Resist Canadian Mining -- A message of support for the Global Day of Resistance Against Open-pit Mining from Timuay Boy Anoy, the traditional chieftain of the Subanon land in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte where TVI Pacific is operating a large scale open pit mine in the Philippines.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

“Eight Canadian mining companies have been called to account for commercial activities that have contributed to conflict in the war-torn country. It is estimated that 3-5 million people have died in the Congo in recent years due to the war. Moreover, Canadian companies have been implicated in providing logistical support to the Congolese Armed Forces.”

Congo bribes

Congo bribes

Trust me with your money

Trust me with your money, says the corporate clown.

Burma

“The largest single mining investment in Burma, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., is a company registered in the Yukon to take advantage of Canada’s generous tax breaks for foreign exploration and development. Neither the mining industry itself, the Canadian stock exchanges, nor the laws governing corporations in Canada, currently provide any safeguards against the impacts of irresponsible mining on communities and the environment in conflict-torn countries like Burma. Reports from people in the area indicate severe environmental damage and the use of forced labour in building roads to the mine.”

Handing over some information to workers inside the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Handing over some information to workers inside the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Ecuador

The Canadian junior mining company Copper Mesa is currently facing litigation for perpetuating human rights abuses by hiring paramilitary to intimidate local farmers and indigenous peoples who opposed mineral exploration of their lands. The TSX is also named in the suit and is currently being sued for $3 billion for allowing Copper Mesa to raise funds on the exchange despite prior knowledge of Copper Mesa’s human rights violations in Ecuador.

See no evil at the Toronto Stock Exchange

See no evil at the Toronto Stock Exchange

Honduras

“Canada is the only nation to support the recent coup by Honduras military.  President Zelaya had proposed nationalizing mineral resources in his country, a position extremely unpopular with Canadian mining interests in the country. The Canadian company Goldcorp, has been linked to human rights abuses and ecological destruction in the country. Goldcorp has received nearly one billion dollars from Canadian Pension Plan subsidies. ”

Stop Goldcorp's repression in Central America.

Stop Goldcorp's repression in Central America.

Papua New Guinea

“Allegations of rapes, beatings and killings of community members by Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) security forces have been prevalent for at least a decade. In April, 2009 security forces burned the 300 houses of local indigenous peoples to the ground – these villagers have claimed these lands as traditional territory and were not consulted properly about mining development. Moreover, The PJV mine empties millions of tons of tailings directly into the nearby 800 km-long river system. Norway’s Government Pension Fund has dropped its shares in Canada’s Barrick Gold as a result of Barrick’s waste disposal practices at Porgera.”

This is happening right now in Papua New Guinea

This is happening right now in Papua New Guinea

Canada

“Mining in Canada has faced increased resistance from communities in Canada, particularity from First Peoples who have witnessed the destruction of their lands and culture with mining development. In particular, tar sands developments have created the largest ecological disaster on earth.”

Uranium too hot to handle ... in cottage country

Uranium too hot to handle ... in cottage country

fffffffffffffffffs ssssssssssssssssss

Ramara & Kawartha Lakes (Ontario) Against Mining

Mining our earth is for once,

Mining our planet is for once only, toxic tailing ponds leak for ever.

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

“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”.

Capital Rule$ - TSX, CPP, and EDC fund Destruction

Capital Rule$ - TSX, CPP, and EDC fund Destruction

"Hey wanna make some money?" Asks the corporate clown, "invest in my mining company and we'll all be rich! Rich! They don't even have rules for us, so we can get away with anything!"

"Hey wanna make some money?" Asks the corporate clown, "invest in my mining company and we'll all be rich! Rich! They don't even have rules for us, so we can get away with anything!" It's Awesome!!"

"I believe in the Harper dollar!" says the corporate clown

"I believe in the Harper dollar!" says the corporate clown

Trust me with your money

Trust me with your money

The colorful group of protesters engaged the rush-hour traffic passing by in discussions to let them know about the increasingly negative reputation Canada is getting around the world because of the actions of Canadian mining companies.

The colorful group of protesters engaged the rush-hour traffic passing by in discussions to let them know about the increasingly negative reputation Canada is getting around the world because of the actions of Canadian mining companies.

"Mining gold is completely unecessary!" says the toxic bride sitting on a pile of toxic waste. "80% of newly mined gold is used for jewelry!"

"Mining gold is completely unecessary!" says the toxic bride sitting on a pile of toxic waste. "80% of newly mined gold is used for jewelry!"

"But I have never seen any evidence"

"But I have never seen any evidence"

- no comment -

no comment

"But no one told me that 79tons of waste was created for every ounce of gold!" -- says Hear No Evil at the Toronto Stock Exchange

"But no one ever told me"

Learn More from Organizations in Support:

Amnesty International

Mining Watch Canada

photojournalist Alex Felipe

Rights Action

Friends of Congo

Legal Rights and Natural Resources Centre, Philippines

Bayan Canada

Frente Amplio Opositor, Mexico

Timuay Anoy and the Subanon indigenous communities, Philippines


VIDEO: Indigenous Resistance to Gold Mining

Someone Else’s Treasure: Indigenous Resistance from allan lissner on Vimeo.

Indigenous leaders from Chile, Papua New Guinea, and Australia, traveled great distances to speak at the annual shareholders’ meeting of Barrick Gold — the world’s largest gold mining corporation — and voice their complaints about Barrick’s operations on their ancestral lands.

Complaints include the killing, rape, and arbitrary detention of villagers in Papua New Guinea, the destruction of spiritual sites in Australia, and the theft of indigenous lands in Chile.

Affected communities are calling on all Canadians to reject the harms done by Canadian mining companies and become active in pressuring Canadian companies to respect international human rights and environmental standards.

Speakers:
Sergio Campusano is the President of the Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous and Agricultural Community. Since he assumed the role of president, Sergio has been fighting against the greed of the mining corporations and the local agriculture companies in order to mantain the rights of his people.

Native to the rocky highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Jethro Tulin is a popular organiser and founder of the Akali Tange Association (ATA), a human rights organization documenting abuses at the Porgera mine, owned by Torontos Barrick Gold.

Neville “Chappy” Williams, Wiradjuri elder and spokesperson for Mooka and Kalara United Families, the traditional owners of the Lake Cowal area in NSW Australia.

Indigenous Resistance to Gold Mining

Indigenous Resistance to Gold Mining


EVENT: Global Day of Action Against Mining

Simultaneous rallies are being organized in several cities around to world for July 22nd to raise awareness about mining issues as part of a global day of action against mining.

The following call-out from the community of Cerro de San Pedro calling for the Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining:

Protests outside the shareholders meeting of Metallica Resources (now called New Gold)

Protesters outside the shareholders meeting of Metallica Resources (now called New Gold) show their support for affected communities in Cerro de San Pedro, Mexico.

The methods and technology used in open-pit mining operations causes the destruction and exhaustion of the planet’s ecosystems. Removing forest cover, destroying soils, contaminating both running water and underground reservoirs, dividing communities, bribing officials, threatening, blackmailing, and violating human rights are all common practice for open-pit mining projects around the world.

Quit investing in violations of human rights

Quit investing in violations of human rights

In contrast with its self-proclaimed ‘environmental awareness’, Canada is the global leader in open-pit mining. Canadian-based transnational corporations (TNCs) control 51% of global mining capital and Mexico in particular had a big role to play in Canada’s rise to become the world mining champion.

Human rights above mining rights

Human rights above mining rights

The neoliberal policies implemented in Mexico since the mid-1980s, codified and consolidated by the creation of NAFTA, were of great importance for Canadian mining companies. The erosion of labour rights aside, it is the repression of environmental movements, increasing militarization and autocracy, and the forced eviction of entire communities that have allowed for the establishment and survival of mining projects.

Mining companies must stop extraction

Mining companies must stop extraction

As of 2007, the Mexican government has granted 438 mining concessions, most of them going to Canadian companies. In the state of Chiapas alone, 72 projects cover 727,435ha of land (slightly larger than the Palestinian Occupied Territories). Half of this territory is now owned by two Canadian companies: Linear Gold and the Frontier Development Group. The territory passed into private ownership without the knowledge, let alone consent, of the communities located there, most of whom are peasants and indigenous people. The same is happening in the states of Zacatecas, Chihuahua, Sonora, Oaxaca, and Coahuila.

Rape of mother earth

Rape of mother earth

A similar fate awaits much of the world. Canadian mining companies are at work in Peru, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Brasil, Panama, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, the Philippines, Surinam, Ghana, Congo, Tanzania, Sudan, Zambia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the United States, and Canada itself!

Mining Scmining!

Mining Scmining!

*It is for these reasons that we call for a Global Day of Action Against Open-pit Mining on July 22nd. Given Canada’s leading role in the global mining industry, we call for peaceful demonstrations in front of Canadian embassies across the world in order to show our condemnation of these mining projects that only leave behind desolation, poverty, and death for our people while enriching the few.*

Affected communities around the world are reaching out to Canadians to reject the harms done to them by Canadian mining companies.

Affected communities around the world are reaching out to Canadians to reject the harms done to them by Canadian mining companies.

Peaceful rallies are now being planned in response to their calls in Toronto, Montreal, London, Mexico, Australia, the Philippines, and more.

In Toronto:

Wednesday 22, 2009

4:30-7:00

130 King Street West (outside the Toronto Stock Exchange)

For more on the harmful effects of the global mining industry see:

Someone Else’s Treasure


IDP Awareness Day

IDP Awareness Day is an educational initiative to raise awareness about the plight of the world’s internally displaced people.

IDP stands for Internally Displaced Person. IDPs are persons forced or coerced to flee their homes but whom, unlike refugees, continue to live within their country’s borders. They are often obliged to leave their homes as a result of, or in order to, avoid the effects of conflict, violations of human rights, and generalized violence. 26 million people worldwide currently live in situations of internal displacement as a result of conflicts. Although internally displaced people now outnumber refugees by two to one, their plight receives far less international attention. (see:  http://www.internal-displacement.org/)

The following images are of a number of IDPs I met last summer in Tanzania, in these cases the IDPs were displaced in order to make way for large scale multinational gold mines:

Sheila is one of 258 men, women, and children, from Mtakuja village who were displaced in late July 2007 to make way for an expansion of the Geita Gold Mine.  “We were invaded by administration police officers in the middle of the night, who shoved us out of our houses. We were not given even a chance to take our belongings,” laments Abdallah Abedi, a former village executive officer, “we were moved here like people in a war-torn country, and now we are all tucked into a small place like prisoners who have committed the worst of crimes.”

Sheila is one of 258 men, women, and children, from Mtakuja village who were displaced in late July 2007 to make way for an expansion of the Geita Gold Mine. “We were invaded by administration police officers in the middle of the night, who shoved us out of our houses. We were not given even a chance to take our belongings,” laments Abdallah Abedi, a former village executive officer, “we were moved here like people in a war-torn country, and now we are all tucked into a small place like prisoners who have committed the worst of crimes.”

During the day most of the adults in the camp for the internally displaced people in Geita are away looking for work. Mwajuma stays behind to take care of some of the children. All 258 of the villagers were dumped in a one-room abandoned building in the middle of the night one year ago. The Christian Council of Tanzania and Norwegian Church Aid heard about their situation and have provided the group with the tents they now call home.

During the day most of the adults in the camp for the internally displaced people in Geita are away looking for work. Mwajuma stays behind to take care of some of the children. All 258 of the villagers were dumped in a one-room abandoned building in the middle of the night one year ago. The Christian Council of Tanzania and Norwegian Church Aid heard about their situation and have provided the group with the tents they now call home.

In an interview with the Norwegian Church Aid, Faida Gerald says, “we have lost a lot of things including our sense of belonging, clothes and other household materials. What hurts most is that they buried even already harvested crops, which we would have sold to get some income to buy food and take care of our children.”  Their sense of loss is intensified by their feelings of betrayal by their own democratically elected government, as Faida contemplates; “I wonder what they have given to the government to subject us to all this.”

In an interview with the Norwegian Church Aid, Faida Gerald says, “we have lost a lot of things including our sense of belonging, clothes and other household materials. What hurts most is that they buried even already harvested crops, which we would have sold to get some income to buy food and take care of our children.” Their sense of loss is intensified by their feelings of betrayal by their own democratically elected government, as Faida contemplates; “I wonder what they have given to the government to subject us to all this.”

One week after this photo was taken the villagers were informed by the local government that they would be evicted all over again from their current campsite. No provisions have been made for them, however, and they have nowhere to go.

One week after this photo was taken the villagers were informed by the local government that they would be evicted all over again from their current campsite. No provisions have been made for them, however, and they have nowhere to go.

Rukindo lives in the IDP camp in Geita along with the other 258 Mtakuja villagers who were displaced to make way for the Geita Gold Mine. This picture was taken shortly after a court hearing in Dar es Salaam in their case against the company. Rukindo and three others had travelled 1300km to make their case.  But they were never even given the chance to have an audience with the judge as the case was thrown out of the court after a suspicious meeting behind closed doors between their attorney, the judge, and the team of lawyers representing the company. In the unlikely event that they can afford to continue with the case, they will have to start all over again.  Almost immediately after receiving this bad news, they received even worse news as a letter arrived from the local government of Geita informing them that the inhabitants of the camp were about to be evicted from the area they had been occupying for the past year.  Once again, the displaced have to start all over again and try to rebuild what little semblance of normalcy they had attained in the past year.

Rukindo lives in the IDP camp in Geita along with the other 258 Mtakuja villagers who were displaced to make way for the Geita Gold Mine. This picture was taken shortly after a court hearing in Dar es Salaam in their case against the company. Rukindo and three others had travelled 1300km to make their case. But they were never even given the chance to have an audience with the judge as the case was thrown out of the court after a suspicious meeting behind closed doors between their attorney, the judge, and the team of lawyers representing the company. In the unlikely event that they can afford to continue with the case, they will have to start all over again. Almost immediately after receiving this bad news, they received even worse news as a letter arrived from the local government of Geita informing them that the inhabitants of the camp were about to be evicted from the area they had been occupying for the past year. Once again, the displaced have to start all over again and try to rebuild what little semblance of normalcy they had attained in the past year.

government’s Prevention of Corruption Bureau is investigating a corruption scandal involving the compensation for some 900 people who were displaced to make way for AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita Gold Mine in Geita.  Mustafa is one of the complainants; here he is showing documents that state that he was promised over 60million shillings (55,000CAD) in compensation which he has never received.  AngloGold admits that 875 people have not received the compensation promised to them, but they claim to have given government officials the money needed to make the payments in 1999 and blame these officials “in their lust for money” for the disappearance of the funds.

The Tanzanian government’s Prevention of Corruption Bureau is investigating a corruption scandal involving the compensation for some 900 people who were displaced to make way for AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita Gold Mine in Geita. Mustafa is one of the complainants; here he is showing documents that state that he was promised over 60million shillings (55,000CAD) in compensation which he has never received. AngloGold admits that 875 people have not received the compensation promised to them, but they claim to have given government officials the money needed to make the payments in 1999 and blame these officials “in their lust for money” for the disappearance of the funds.

The home of the Luhanga family in Kahama. The Luhanga’s were among the thousands of families who had been forcefully evicted in August 1996 to make way for Sutton Resources’ Bulyanhulu Gold Mine, which was bought three years later by Barrick Gold.  According to Barrick’s own report, Social Development Plan for the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine, there were anywhere between 30,000 and 400,000 people living in the area before the evictions. The company claims that the people living there were nomadic illegal trespassers. But the communities argue that some of the villages in the area had existed long before colonial days.

The home of the Luhanga family in Kahama. The Luhanga’s were among the thousands of families who had been forcefully evicted in August 1996 to make way for Sutton Resources’ Bulyanhulu Gold Mine, which was bought three years later by Barrick Gold. According to Barrick’s own report, Social Development Plan for the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine, there were anywhere between 30,000 and 400,000 people living in the area before the evictions. The company claims that the people living there were nomadic illegal trespassers. But the communities argue that some of the villages in the area had existed long before colonial days.

Twelve years later, allegations continue that during the evictions in August 1996 fifty-two artisanal miners were buried alive in their pits by company bulldozers. The issue has developed into a bitter international dispute involving local communities, NGOs, and the governments of Tanzania, Canada, and the World Bank.  The company denies these allegations and maintains that “the way people left this site was in a peaceful, systematic fashion”, reports in the Tanzanian press at the time reported mass confusion, looting, robbery and bloodshed as people fled from police in riot gear. Numerous witnesses have testified in sworn statements that people were being beaten up by the police and were ignored when they told officers that there were still people inside some of the mineshafts as the bulldozers were filling in the pits.

Twelve years later, allegations continue that during the evictions in August 1996 fifty-two artisanal miners were buried alive in their pits by company bulldozers. The issue has developed into a bitter international dispute involving local communities, NGOs, and the governments of Tanzania, Canada, and the World Bank. The company denies these allegations and maintains that “the way people left this site was in a peaceful, systematic fashion”, reports in the Tanzanian press at the time reported mass confusion, looting, robbery and bloodshed as people fled from police in riot gear. Numerous witnesses have testified in sworn statements that people were being beaten up by the police and were ignored when they told officers that there were still people inside some of the mineshafts as the bulldozers were filling in the pits.

response to the companies’ and the government’s denials Melania, a Kahama resident, has been collecting these photos of people who claim to have witnessed the killings or lost loved ones during the evictions. “…This one was there when it happened … this one lost her son … this one went back afterwards to try and dig out his friends … this one lost her home and her grandchildren …”

In response to the companies’ and the government’s denials Melania, a Kahama resident, has been collecting these photos of people who claim to have witnessed the killings or lost loved ones during the evictions. “…This one was there when it happened … this one lost her son … this one went back afterwards to try and dig out his friends … this one lost her home and her grandchildren …”

Melania’s two eldest sons, Jonathan and Ernest were among the fifty-two miners who were allegedly buried alive during the evictions. The family owned the pit that they were working in at the time, so Melania lost her livelihood as well as her two children in August 1996.

Melania’s two eldest sons, Jonathan and Ernest were among the fifty-two miners who were allegedly buried alive during the evictions. The family owned the pit that they were working in at the time, so Melania lost her livelihood as well as her two children in August 1996.

Deogratios is the traditional witchdoctor, or medicine man, of the community. He was among the thousands of people who were evicted to make way for Barrick’s Bulynhulu gold mine. He remembers being forced from their home by heavily armed paramilitary forces only one day after the Minister of Minerals and Energy had issued an order giving the Bulyanhulu residents one month to vacate the area.  Deogratios and his family had nowhere to go so for two months after being forced from their home they were living in the bush. During this time his wife became ill. But with their home destroyed, and without access to his medicines, the healer could do nothing as he sat and watched his wife die.

Deogratios is the traditional witchdoctor, or medicine man, of the community. He was among the thousands of people who were evicted to make way for Barrick’s Bulynhulu gold mine. He remembers being forced from their home by heavily armed paramilitary forces only one day after the Minister of Minerals and Energy had issued an order giving the Bulyanhulu residents one month to vacate the area. Deogratios and his family had nowhere to go so for two months after being forced from their home they were living in the bush. During this time his wife became ill. But with their home destroyed, and without access to his medicines, the healer could do nothing as he sat and watched his wife die.

For more information:

Someone Else’s Treasure – Tanzania

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre