BC Mining Resisters of the Year: Alyansa ng Novo Vizcayano para sa Kalikasan (ANVIK) / Alliance of Novo Vizcayanos for the Environment (In The Philippines)

Every year in May, the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) holds the “BC Mining Person of the Year Award” gala. Illustrious past winners include Pierre Lebel of Imperial Metals (Mount Polley Mine) and John McManus of Taseko Mines (New Prosperity Mine). This year, Mining Justice Alliance will hold our own gala to celebrate the recipients of the first ever BC Mining Resisters of the Year Awards. We will honour mining resisters who have stood up for rights, justice and self-determination, facing up to a powerful state-sponsored industry whose track record of injustice should not be celebrated. To find out more and nominate a BC Mining Resister of the Year, click here.

BC Mining Resisters: Alyansa ng Novo Vizcayano para sa Kalikasan (ANVIK) / Alliance of Novo Vizcayanos for the Environment

Nominated by: Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)

What are the issues faced by the nominee and local communities?

Water is life, and the lives of frontline communities in the province of Nueva Vizcaya are at stake with the depletion of their water table and pollution of their rivers from the aggressive operations of OceanaGold. For standing up against the Australian-Canadian mining giant, they have been met with militarization, harassment lawsuits, and illegal arrests from state authorities colluding with the province’s big mines. ANVIK remains uncowed by these attacks, as they continue to campaign against large-scale mining plunder in the face of tremendous odds.

What is most important and inspiring about the nominee’s work?

The ANVIK is the broadest and staunchest alliance of environmental advocates, church workers, indigenous communities, and other citizens in the province of Nueva Vizcaya. It has led the mounting of people’s barricades against mining exploration firm Royalco in 2013 to the expansion activities of OceanaGold in 2016. It has facilitated investigative and scientific missions to expose and oppose the destruction, pollution, and violence inflicted on the critical watersheds of Mt. Caraballo and the various communities it hosts.

How have governments and the company responded?

Local governments have recognized the advocacy of ANVIK and have recently joined efforts to investigate and oppose OceanaGold and other mining projects. OceanaGold itself was forced to indefinitely postpone its expansion and take strides in complying with environmental regulations because of ANVIK’s vigilance. However the organizers and conveners of ANVIK need international support and solidarity now more than ever, in the face of worsening militarization and human rights violations. International watchdog Global Witness in fact declared the Philippines as the second deadliest country in the world for environmental defenders in 2017. ANVIK’s organizers continue to struggle amid the heightening risks they face.

The BC mining company: OceanaGold Corporation, based in Vancouver and Melbourne (Australia)

The OceanaGold Corporation is one of the largest 100% foreign-owned big mining companies in the Philippines; these have caused massive water depletion and pollution. Oceana’s Didipio project covers 14,871 hectares of biodiversity corridors and watersheds in the province of Nueva Vizcaya, threatening the water supply of many downstream villages.

___________________________

Join us to celebrate BC Mining Resisters of the Year at the GALA OF RESISTANCE on Monday, May 7th in Vancouver, BC.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BC Mining Resisters of the Year: Bisha Mine Workers (in Eritrea)

Every year in May, the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) holds the “BC Mining Person of the Year Award” gala. Illustrious past winners include Pierre Lebel of Imperial Metals (Mount Polley Mine) and John McManus of Taseko Mines (New Prosperity Mine). This year, Mining Justice Alliance will hold our own gala on May 7 2018 to celebrate the recipients of the first ever BC Mining Resisters of the Year Awards. We will honour mining resisters who have stood up for rights, justice and self-determination, facing up to a powerful state-sponsored industry whose track record of injustice should not be celebrated. To find out more and nominate a BC Mining Resister of the Year, click here.

nevsun gala.jpg
______________________________________
The north-eastern African country of Eritrea may be far away but a Vancouver-based mine’s activities there connects us and makes Canada complicit in serious labour violations.

Nevsun Resources operates in Eritrea, benefiting from its program of indefinite conscription. The system has been called a form of slave labour by the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others. Forty eight former workers are currently moving forward with lawsuits against Nevsun in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, making it the first time a modern slavery case has been heard in a Canadian court.

Eritreans on Nevsun’s site will regularly work 12 hours a day, for six days a week, working for the equivalent of $30 a month, and often much less. When one worker left the work site without authorization he was imprisoned for four months.

Eritrea established a National Service program in 1995 requiring adults to undergo 18 months of military training. The program quickly transformed into indefinite conscription that often lasts for years, and sometimes for 10 to 20 years. Conscripts are rarely engaged in duties related to the military, serving, instead, as labourers in state-run industries and projects like Nevsun’s mine.

Eritrea is also currently producing an incredible number of refugees. Of a population of fewer than 6 million people, 5,000 are leaving every month. Eritreans make up a large part of the thousands of people desperately trying to reach Europe and drowning in the Mediterranean or dying along the way every year.

Nevsun Resources is complicit in this refugee crisis and profits from supporting a brutally repressive regime. The Canadian Public Pension (CPP) Investment Board is one of the company’s investors, making workers paying into Canada’s public pension plan all shareholders.

Sign the petition: https://www.freedomunited.org/advocate/nevsun-in-eritrea/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BC Mining Resisters of the Year: Kanahus Manuel (Secwepemc territories)

Kahanus_BC_Resister

Every year in May, the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) holds the “BC Mining Person of the Year Award” gala. Illustrious past winners include Pierre Lebel of Imperial Metals (Mount Polley Mine) and John McManus of Taseko Mines (New Prosperity Mine). This year, Mining Justice Alliance will hold our own gala to celebrate the recipients of the first ever BC Mining Resisters of the Year Awards. We will honour mining resisters who have stood up for rights, justice and self-determination, facing up to a powerful state-sponsored industry whose track record of injustice should not be celebrated. To find out more and nominate a BC Mining Resister of the Year, click here.

BC Mining Resister: Kanahus Manuel

Nominated by: Gloria Pavez

What are the issues faced by the nominee and local communities?

On August 4th, 2014, the dam holding back a tailings pond at the Mount Polley mine, located on traditional Secwepemc territories of the Xat’sull and T’exelc (Williams Lake) First Nations, collapsed. Around 24 million cubic metres of mine tailings – containing toxins like arsenic, mercury, selenium, lead and copper – tore through the breach and down Hazeltine Creek into Quesnel Lake. Quesnel Lake is a source of drinking water and vital habitat for about a quarter of the province’s sockeye salmon. That toxin-infused sediment is still on the lake bottom, and the mine is still discharging wastewater directly into Quesnel Lake. Mount Polley was the biggest mining waste disaster in Canadian history, and it is ongoing.

What is most important and inspiring about the nominee’s work?

Kanahus Manuel has been organizing and speaking out about the Mount Polley mine since before the devastating tailings pond breach in 2014. She staged a demonstration at the Toronto Stock Exchange days after the spill, participated in the building of the sacred fire at the entrance to the mine, and helped to set up the Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe camp at the disaster site.

Kanahus is Secwepemc and Ktunaxa, a mother of four and a traditional Secwepemc birth keeper and handpoke tattoo artist. She appeared in a documentary film made by Doreen Manuel called Freedom Babies. She actively opposed the Sun Peaks Ski Resort development on Secwepemc territory and was arrested together with the water protectors at Standing Rock. She is a member of the Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society and a leader with the Tiny House Warriors—a movement of grassroots land defenders asserting Secwepemc jurisdiction in resistance to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion through more than 500 kilometres of Secwepemc territory. As a result of her activism, she has been named in several court injunctions and has been jailed by the Canadian state.

Kanahus has continued to speak out, raise awareness and organize resistance to unjust mining practices, including through loud demonstrations at Imperial Metals’ AGMs. On August 9, 2016—two years after the Mount Polley disaster—members of Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society, Ancestral Pride, and supporters occupied Imperial Metals’ offices in Vancouver, directly communicating their ongoing resistance to the company. In November 2017, the Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society and the Tiny House Warriors issued a Woman’s Declaration against Kinder Morgan Man Camps–temporary housing facilities constructed for predominantly male workers on resource development projects in the oil, pipeline, mining, hydroelectric, and forestry industries. Reports show a direct correlation between these encampments and violence against women.

How have governments and the company responded?

The Mount Polley disaster exposed the weakness of BC’s mining regulations which left BC residents on the hook for millions of dollars in ongoing issues related to the disaster. To date the company has faced no charges or fines. In 2015, the government-sponsored investigation recommended that no charges be laid and in April 2017, despite opposition from locals, the BC government issued a permit to Imperial Metals to discharge mine waste directly into Quesnel Lake. Later that year, the Province announced it would not lay any charges under the BC Environmental Management Act. Instead, residents will have to wait for the Federal government to decide whether to lay charges under the Fisheries Act. In the face of government inaction, first MiningWatch and then former Xat’sull chief Bev Sellers launched private prosecutions against the company that ultimately were quashed by the provincial government.

The BC mining company: Vancouver-based Imperial Metals

Imperial Metals has launched projects throughout the region known as BC, often facing opposition from local First Nations and other residents. The company currently operates the Red Chris copper/gold mine in Tahltan territory in northeastern BC, the Huckleberry open pit copper mine near Houston, BC and the Mount Polley open pit copper/gold mine on Secwepemc territory near Likely BC. The company also has mining claims on the copper deposits on Catface Mountain on Clayoquot Sound in Ahousat territory and the proposed Fandora mine on Tla-o-qui-aht Nation traditional territory near Tofino. It is pursuing the Ruddock Creek project, a proposed lead and zinc mine in the headwaters of the Adams River on Secwepemc territory near Kamloops.

___________________________

“… we will make a stand to stop Imperial Metals from violating our rights. Not one more mountain will be mined, not one more water way destroyed in the name of profit, not one more tree logged to create roads for these mines.” –Kanahus Manuel, Aug 2016

“These lands we are defending aren’t forgotten patches of wilderness; the land is our home. We remain the rightful, lawful defenders of this land we have never ceded.” – Kanahus Manuel (Feb 2018)

Join us to celebrate BC Mining Resisters of the Year at the GALA OF RESISTANCE on Monday, May 7th in Vancouver, BC.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BC Mining Resisters of the Year: Diocesan Coordinating Committee in Defence of Nature (CODIDENA) and the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa (In Guatemala)

MJA_resist_CODIDENA_turquoise

Every year in May, the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) holds the “BC Mining Person of the Year Award” gala. Illustrious past winners include Pierre Lebel of Imperial Metals (Mount Polley Mine) and John McManus of Taseko Mines (New Prosperity Mine). This year, Mining Justice Alliance will hold our own gala to celebrate the recipients of the first ever BC Mining Resisters of the Year Awards. We will honour mining resisters who have stood up for rights, justice and self-determination, facing up to a powerful state-sponsored industry whose track record of injustice should not be celebrated. To find out more and nominate a BC Mining Resister of the Year, click here.

BC Mining Resisters: Diocesan Coordinating Committee in Defence of Nature (CODIDENA) and the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa (In Guatemala)

Nominated by: Coalition Against Unjust Mining in Guatemala (CAMIGUA)

What are the issues faced by the nominee and local communities?

Endemic to Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mining project has been the criminalization, militarization and violence targeted at undermining the peaceful resistance to the mine. Xinca leaders have been kidnapped, tortured and on March 18, 2013, elder and secretary of the Xinka Parliament, Exaltación Marcos Ucelo was murdered. In April 2014, Topacio Reynoso, a member of youth collectives in the area was murdered for her role in resistance.

There has been constant resistance to the project including 18 local votes that were organized at the village and municipal level in which 10s of thousands of people voted against any mining activity in the area. Houses have been falling down in villages closest to the mine, there are early indications of water contamination and acid mine drainage from the mine, sources of water have dried up, and people have had to expend tremendous resources and energy to continually protest the mine for years. There are continuing threats of further criminalization and violence against the peaceful protest in Casillas that has been ongoing since June 2017.

What is most important and inspiring about the nominee’s work?

We are inspired by the tenacity and clarity of the local resistance over 7 years among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the area. Of their ability to share leadership among many people in order to avoid individualizing the struggle and making people more of a target of criminalization and violence. We are also amazed that the strength of the broad opposition at the local level has led to five mayors refusing royalty payments from the company since 2015, even though these could actually double their municipal budgets in some cases. Avoiding dependence on the short-term economic benefits from the mine is important to maintaining the commitment to fight for healthy water, land and social fabric. Young people have played a dynamic and creative role in sustaining this long-term struggle against the project. Despite her tragic death in 2014, Topacio continues to inspire young people in the area.

How have governments and the company responded?

The company, its supporters (e.g. contractors and suppliers) in collaboration with the Guatemalan government responded with a militarized security strategy that has continuously sought to demonize and criminalize the peaceful resistance with the aim of weakening and fragmenting it. The resistance, however, has had some success in Guatemalan courts that have recognized the legitimacy of local votes as a means of setting public policy at the municipal level, as well as the failure of the Ministry of Energy and Mines – and by extension Tahoe Resources – to consult or even recognize the presence of Indigenous peoples in the affected area of the mine.

The BC mining company: Vancouver-based Tahoe Resources

Tahoe Resources is the brainchild of former Goldcorp CEO, Kevin McArthur. It was exclusively to develop the El Escobal silver/gold mine in Eastern Guatemala. Goldcorp had been frustrated in the western highlands of Guatemala, with highly organized and persistent opposition to its Marlin gold mine (though this massively destructive open pit mine was ultimately pushed through.)

Opposition to the Escobal mine began almost immediately after the announcement of its go-ahead in 2007. Leading opposition were indigenous leaders from the Chorti, Pocoman and Xinca nations. Despite this resistance the project was nonetheless was rammed through, with the final license being granted on April 3, 2013, at a meeting with mining officials, government officials of the corrupt President Otto Perez Molina (now in jail) and the Canadian ambassador to Guatemala at the time.

___________________________

“They talked about money and not about the problems that the mine would cause. What am I supposed to say to my neighbours when they tell me there’s no more water? What am I supposed to say to the people who can’t sell their vegetables because the water is polluted? How am I going explain to my children’s children the reason why they live in a polluted village? Am I just supposed to hand them some money?” — Hugo Loy, mayor of Mataesquintla

Join us to celebrate BC Mining Resisters of the Year at the GALA OF RESISTANCE on Monday, May 7th in Vancouver, BC.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Communities denounce Tahoe Resources for trying to provoke conflict while operations at Escobal mine continue to be suspended

Courtesy of NISGUA:

The Xinca parliament and the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa spoke out in a press conference on February 21 against attempts by Tahoe Resources to generate conflict in their communities. The company, whose Escobal mine has been legally suspended since July, “insists on visiting communities to try to coerce people to accept its project” despite the countless public expressions of community opposition. At the press conference, the Resistance denounced the Guatemalan media for its misleading and defamatory coverage of opposition movements in the region, “using language that seeks to criminalize social protest.” This media coverage has significant impacts on the communities organizing to protect their lands from mining who, since 2011, have faced multiple acts of state violence and efforts by the company to criminalize its leaders as a strategy to undermine opposition.

The Xinca Parliament and the Peaceful Resistance believe that media strategies of sensationalizing organizing efforts in the region is part of a broader attempt to influence the outcome of the legal case that has led to the mine’s suspension. The Guatemalan Constitutional Court is currently tasked with determining if the Xinca People’s right to free, prior, and informed consent was violated by the Ministry of Energy and Mining in granting the Escobal license – a decision that could close the mine permanently.

On March 7, nearly five months after the case came under its jurisdiction, the Court ordered academic and state institutions to provide them with anthropological studies regarding the presence of indigenous Xinca people in the municipality where the mine is located. In response to the court’s request, the Xinca Parliament’s legal counsel, Quelvin Jiménez, stated, “It is not up to the Constitutional Court to decide if we, the Xinca people, exist or not. This is not a disputed fact. According to jurisprudence set by the Inter-American Court, no court has the right to place in doubt the self-identification of a people. According to the same jurisprudence, as Indigenous people, we have the right to free, prior, and informed consent over large projects – like the Escobal mine – that impact our lives and territory.”

Read the full press statement here and more about the latest court decision here.

Posted in Community Resistance, Conflict and Repression, Local and Indigenous Rights, Tahoe Resources | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open Letter to Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte re: Human Rights Defenders Tagged in Terror List

12 March 2018

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals in Vancouver, BC, Canada, express our grave concern on the recent spate of attacks against human rights defenders, activists, and political dissenters in the Philippines, through the inclusion of the names of more than 600 individuals in a Justice Department petition to proscribe the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations. Such listing repressive motives behind the said act.

The use of Human Security Act of 2007 to suppress legitimate dissent is a dangerous and underhanded move that indubitably worsens the climate of impunity in the Philippines. We deplore this and other acts that intimidate, threaten, harass, target and criminalize persons and defenders who have been working for people’s rights and welfare.

We call on the Philippine government to:

  • Junk the baseless, malicious and arbitrary Justice Department petition and stop the criminalization of the work of activists, human rights defenders, and political dissenters through the practice of filing trumped-up criminal charges;
  • Stop the labeling of members and leaders of progressive people’s organizations and patriots as “terrorists” both in the national and international forums. Stop the threats, intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders;
  • Repeal the Human Security Act of 2007 and all legislative, administrative, executive and judicial acts that violate human rights;
  • Effectively address and immediately prosecute and punish acts of terrorism and human rights violations by agents of the State;
  • End the counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan which directs and funds State security forces to threaten, harass, arbitrarily and illegally arrest individuals tagged as “enemies of the State”;
  • Immediately abolish the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA), a body created by the PNP and the AFP, which further legitimizes and systematizes the political persecution and illegal arrest and detention of rights defenders and activists;
  • Continue the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and comply with its obligations and commitments under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which includes the right to freedom of thought and expression, freedom of conscience, political beliefs and practices and the right not to be punished or held accountable for the exercise of these rights, and the right to free speech, press, association and assembly; and
  • Adhere and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and all major Human Rights instruments that it is a party and signatory.

Sincerely,
• Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)
• Alliance for Peoples’ Health (APH)
• Canada Palestine Association
• Cafe Rebelde Collective
• East Indian Defense Committee
• International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Vancouver)
• Kagawasan Campaign in Solidarity with Negros
• Mining Justice Alliance (MJA)
• Migrante BC
• Sanctuary Health (Vancouver)
• South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD)
• Jocelyn Billie Pierre, Nlaka’pamux nation, Canada
• Dr. Valerie Raoul, Professor Emerita, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, University of British Columbia
• Kamal Gautam, CUPE BC International Solidarity Committee
• Rev. Stuart Lyster, United Church of Canada
• Shehnaz Montani, CUPE BC International Solidarity Committee

Posted in Conflict and Repression | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dec 12: Almaden Minerals out of Ixtacamaxtitlán! Solidarity Picket

 

Vancouver-based Almaden Mineral’s Ixtaca Project is a gold and silver open pit mine, currently in its “advanced exploration” stage. The project is located in Ixtacamaxtitlán, in the Sierra Norte region of Puebla, Mexico—a region that many argue should be protected given its importance for the environment and cultural diversity.

A recent community-led Human Rights Impact Assessment of the project found that the presence of Almaden Minerals in Ixtacamaxtitlán puts at risk the human rights to water, a healthy environment and the health of the population, and increases competition for water and land. But communities believe Almaden Minerals has lied to investors, regulators, governments, and the people of Ixtacamaxtitlán about the imminent and potentially devastating impacts of the project.

A mixed delegation of indigenous and rural residents of Ixtacamaxtitlán, together with international organization PODER (www.projectpoder.org) and local civil society organizations in Mexico, is traveling to Vancouver to raise awareness about the real human and environmental impacts of Almaden’s activities.

Please join us to support delegates from Mexico as they call on Almaden to respect their rights.

Almaden Minerals out of Ixtacamaxtitlán! Solidarity Picket

Tuesday December 12

4:30-5:30 pm

Meet at 1575 Johnston St., Granville Island (outside the Public Market)

RSVP on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/380411799082599/

From the Public Market, we’ll march together the short (5 min.) distance to Almaden’s offices at 1333 Johnston St.

This event is being held on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations.

Hosted by Mining Justice Alliance and Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER)

Posted in Almaden Minerals, Environment and Health, Local and Indigenous Rights | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment