Reverend Rex RB Reyes: Defense of land is defense of life

A message for Canadians from Reverend Rex RB Reyes of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP). Reverend Reyes denounces the assassination of community activists in opposition to mining such as Licuben Ligiw and his two sons Fermin and Eddie (killed March 7, 2014) and William Bugatti (killed March 25, 2014).

The NCCP supports the work of social justice organizations such as the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA). The CPA campaigns against foreign extractive corporations in the Philippines, and has successfully resisted the incursion of Canadian-based Olympus Pacific Minerals into the traditional lands of the Binongan indigenous peoples in Baay-Licuan, Abra province.

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El Salvador groups accuse Pacific Rim of ‘assault on democratic governance’ (The Guardian)

This article by Claire Provost examines efforts of Pacific Rim to sue El Salvador for refusing to let the company dig for gold in its northern province of Cabañas. 

A multinational mining company has been accused of launching “a direct assault on democratic governance” by suing El Salvador for more than US$300m (£179m) in compensation, after the tiny Central American country refused to allow it to dig for gold amid growing opposition to the exploitation of its mineral wealth.

More than 300 NGOs, trade unions and civil society groups have signed a strongly worded letter accusing the Canada-based company Pacific Rim of using a little-known international tribunal to “subvert a democratic nationwide debate over mining and environmental health”.

Pacific Rim, now owned by OceanaGold, a Canadian-Australian firm, applied in 2004 for a permit to start operations at its El Dorado mine in the northern province of Cabañas.

The company seeks $301m from El Salvador in a protracted investment dispute that began in 2009. Pacific Rim claims El Salvador violated its own investment law by not issuing it a permit to dig for gold at the El Dorado mine. …. To view entire article, click here.

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Urgent Action – Call Goldcorp to Negotiate with Ejido or Close Mine

URGENT ACTION: Call on Goldcorp to Negotiate in Good Faith with the Ejido Carrizalillo or to Initiate Mine Closure Plan

Monday, April 07, 2014

Join the Ejido’s call for good faith negotiations without repression

Since the morning of Tuesday April 1, the Ejido Carrizalillo in Guerrero, Mexico has blocked operations at Goldcorp’s Los Filos mine in revindication of their territorial rights following expiration of the company’s land use contract with the community and its failure to negotiate a new one on time.

In their statement announcing the mine shut down, the Ejido’s negotiating team stated that they would “suspend mine operations until the company demonstrates greater disposition to negotiate or – failing that – demand that it begin to close the mine according to Mexican law to reduce the environmental and health damages that have occurred.” They requested the presence of Mr. Horacio Bruna, Vice President of Goldcorp’s Mexican Operations, at the blockade in order to proceed with talks.

In the flurry of news that has been coming out of the Mexican press, representatives of the Ejido emphasize concerns  they have about the long term environmental and health costs of Goldcorp’s highly profitable open-pit gold and silver operation located a mere kilometre from their community.

On Friday April 4th, the Ejido issued another statement indicating that they were filing a lawsuit for restoration of their lands as a result of the company’s continuing refusal to renegotiate a new land use contract under more just conditions for the ejido.

They also called for national and international supporters to be on alert for any acts of intimidation, reprisal or repression against them on the part of the company or related groups.

Please show your support for the Ejido Carrizalillo and call on Goldcorp to expedite good faith negotiations, without repression, intimidation or other provocations that could lead to violence, toward a new land use contract that respects the Ejido’s territorial rights.

Use this online action to send your message automatically or send your own message or comment to:
Brent Bergeron, Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Goldcorp

Anna M. Tudela, Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Secretary, Goldcorp

Jeff Wilhoit, Investor Inquiries


To Goldcorp Management:  

Since April 1, 2014, the residents of the Ejido Carrizalillo in Guerrero, Mexico have been exercising their territorial rights and taking back their lands given your company’s failure to negotiate a new contract with more dignified conditions for the community. It is the local population and not Goldcorp that has stopped work at the Los Filos mine, given that the company no longer has a land use contract for the coming year with the ejido.

Goldcorp should expedite good faith negotiations toward a new contract with the Ejido Carrizalillo that respects the human rights and land rights of the owners of more that 1,000 hectares that the company rents. The contract should ensure better conditions for workers and public health, as well as take responsibility for the serious damages that the project has already generated in the health of the local population, their lands and the environment.

We demand that at no point in this process that repression, intimidation, provocation of community divisions, or any other type of retribution or violence be used by the company or related groups against the population of Carrizalillo, respecting that they are exercising their rights in accordance with Mexican law.

If the company is not willing to fulfill its responsibility, or does not desire a new contract, it should immediately ensure and guarantee the return of ejidal lands. It should also make its closure and post closure plan for the Los Filos mine public. This plan should include all the relevent technical and financial aspects, including water management and monitoring for acid mine drainage, measures to protect public health, especially for people already suffering from diverse illnesses; measures to protect the environment and soils; the withdrawal of equipment and adequate management of toxic wastes; and an independently guaranteed financial surety to cover the full costs of this process with independent verification mechanisms.


Include a copy of your letter to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird

Canadian Ambassador to Mexico Sara Hradecky

The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board

General Secretary for the Government of Guerrero

Mexican Agrarian Attorney’s Office

SEDATU: Secretary for Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development

Secretary of the Economy of Mexico

SEMARNAT: Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico

MiningWatch Canada

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Barrick Gold Using Coercive Settlement Provisions to Perpetuate Legacy of Environmental Harm (EarthRights International)

This article by Michelle Harrison at EarthRights International concerns the actions of Barrick Gold, which purchased the Vancouver-based Placer Dome in 2006The piece examines Barrick’s insufficient settlement offer to Marinduque province in the Philippines, facing serious environmental contamination as a result of the Placer Dome gold mining operation.

After nearly a decade of litigation over environmental devastation in the Philippines caused by Placer Dome’s mining operations (now Barrick Gold Corp.), Barrick has reportedly given the Province of Marinduque a take-it-or-leave-it settlement offer that would prohibit the Province from spending a penny to clean up the damage the company left behind.

For decades, Placer Dome operated two mines in the Province of Marinduque, during which time it intentionally dumped hundreds of millions of tons of toxic mine waste into traditional fishing areas, and catastrophic dam failures flooded rivers with toxic mine waste. Notably, Placer Dome’s long time business partner during much of that period was notorious dictator Ferdinand Marcos, until he was overthrown. The company left the island soon after a massive toxic waste spill in 1996 that rendered the Boac River “biologically dead.”

The Province sued Placer Dome in Nevada nearly a decade ago. When Barrick acquired Placer Dome in 2006, it inherited the lawsuit, along with a legacy of harms around the world.

The parties have been engaged in settlement negotiations since 2011 and significant details have surfaced about the terms of Barrick’s offer. The amount on the table is reportedly $20 million USD, which, after litigation costs and attorneys’ fees, is expected to be closer to $13 million- far less than the projected cost of cleanup. …. View full article here.

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Forum featuring:

Marilyn Baptiste, council of Xeni Gwet’in, Tsilhqot’in Nation, speaking on Tsilhqot’in resistance to Taseko’s proposed mine at Teztan Biny (Fish Lake)

Marilyn Baptiste is a member of Xeni Gwet’in, one of the communities of the Tsilhqot’in Nation, whose territory largely lies to the west of the Fraser River and Williams Lake, BC.

A former Chief, Baptiste became known as a spirited speaker who traveled the province on behalf of the Tsilhqot’in Nation to explain the importance of Teztan Biny to the Tsilhqot’in people and to call for the cancellation of plans to destroy the lake in order to install a huge open-pit copper and gold mine. Taseko Ltd., the mining company that holds the claim, named the proposed mine ‘Prosperity’.

Tsilhqot’in people have spent three decades defending Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), Nabas, and the upper Dasiqox (Taseko) watershed from the threat of the massive open-pit gold and copper mine. In 2010 and 2013, two independent federal environmental review Panels investigated the mine proposal. After careful assessment, and months hearing testimonies of locals and environmental scientists, the independent panels have condemned the proposal – twice – because of the impacts to Fish Lake, grizzly bears and the Tsilhqot’in’s rights to protect their territory. Despite all this, Taseko is still pushing the federal government to allow the mine.

Oscar Morales, from San Rafael Las Flores, Guatemala, speaking on threats and violence related to Tahoe Resources’ Escobal Mine near his home.

Oscar Morales is an agronomist and the Coordinator of the Committee in Defense of Life and Peace in San Rafael Las Flores – community that has borne the brunt of the violence, militarization and environmental threats related to Tahoe’s mine.

More than half of the communities in the municipality of San Rafael Las Flores, where the Escobal project is located, have declared opposition to the mine. In five neighbouring municipalities, in the departments of Santa Rosa and Jalapa, the majority of the population – which numbers in the tens of thousands – has voted against the mine in municipal referenda. Nonetheless, Tahoe Resources reported in January that the Escobal mine is operational, claiming that: “unanticipated social issues have been addressed.”

Oscar is deeply concerned about the environmental and social impacts of Tahoe’s project and has been an advocate for the community consultations that have taken place throughout Santa Rosa.

The mine-related conflicts experienced by San Rafael Las Flores, and other communities in Guatemala, bring to the forefront the need for the Canadian government to facilitate access to justice for abuses committed in Canada and abroad. Oscar Morales is one of several Guatemalan delegates visiting Canada (Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia) as part of a speaking tour linked to the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability’s Open for Justice campaign. The CNCA campaign calls for legislated access to Canadian courts for people who have been harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies.

This event will take place on Saturday March 29 at 7 pm

1803 East First Avenue at Salsbury Drive. – Coast Salish Territory

Organized by Café Rebelde Collective

Endorsed by Mining Justice Alliance, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Streams of Justice,  Langara Social Justice Collective and Amnesty International.


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14 March 2014


(1) 12-1:30PM FRIDAY 14 MARCH


PUBLIC LECTURE: UBC’s New Mining Institute and the Big Picture


UBC now hosts the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development (CIIEID), funded and mandated by CIDA to promote growth of Canada-based mining companies in their operations overseas. It partners with companies that have been accused of human rights abuses, bullying, and a transfer of far greater costs than benefits to communities and countries. Now through the CIIEID, our university departments may be legitimizing these abuses. The UBC community should have a say in the matter!

Three quarters of the world’s mining companies are headquartered in Canada, with around 1200 of them headquartered in Vancouver alone! Alain Deneault will discuss why Canada is the legal haven of choice for the world’s mining industry, and put the CIIEID in context with Canadian legal, financial, and foreign policies.

Alain Deneault teaches critical thought in the political science department at the Université de Montréal and conducts research for the Quebec section of the Tax Justice Network. He is co-author of the book Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption, etcriminalité en Afrique (Écosociété, 2008). His books most recently translated into English include Offshore: Tax Havens and the Rule of Global Crime (New Press, 2012) and Paul Martin and Companies: Sixty Theses on the Alegal Nature of Tax Havens (Talonbooks, 2005). His latest book Canada: A New Tax Haven will be released by Talonbooks in 2015.




SILENCE IS GOLD film & discussion of SLAPPs


Facing a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation – a SLAPP – is perhaps the worst nightmare for academics and journalists investigating and publishing original research that challenges the practices of large corporations. SLAPPs are meant to intimidate and silence critics: the high costs of a lengthy legal battle can exhaust and distract a researcher, and can lead to self-censorship. Learn about SLAPP legislation in Canada, and how Alain Deneault managed the lawsuits when SLAPPed by mining companies Barrick and Banro.

The film Silence is Gold raises key concerns about the practices of Canadian mining companies, the role of Canada on their behalf, the legal system that still allows corporations to intimidate researchers and journalists into silence, and points to the light at the end of the tunnel.

3) 5 – 6:30 PM FRIDAY 14 MARCH

With Dr. Stephen Collis
Forestry CAWP 2916

Howard Caygill, in ‘On  Resistance’, defines resistance as the building and maintenance of the  capacity to resist. In this talk Dr. Stephen Collis will discuss the  possibilities for building our capacity to resist within the existing  neoliberal university, in alternative, free universities, and beyond the university. Ultimately, drawing on his own experiences as an academic  and organizer, he proposes a “School for Resistance” that might take up  the interstices between the capacity building of universities and that undertaken by grassroots social justice movements.

The talk will be given by Stephen Collis, a poet, activist and professor of contemporary literature at Simon Fraser University.


These events are sponsored by the SOCIAL JUSTICE CENTRE

and are part of the RETAKING THE UNIVERSITY

student activism conference 12-14 MARCH 2014


Facebook: ubcsocialjusticecentre

Facebook event

Deneault events poster: Deneault_UBC_Lecture&Film_14MAR

We would like to remind everyone that this event and this university  are on unceded Coast Salish territory. While we are analyzing the  university and the world, it is important to acknowledge our place in  the on-going history of Canada as a colonial-settler state. The impact  of colonization continues to this day, affecting both our material  circumstances as well as our understanding of ourselves and the world.

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Sipakapa is still not for sale… (NISGUA)

Neither are San Rafael Las Flores, Nueva Santa Rosa, Mataquescuintla, Jalapa nor Santa Rosa de Lima.

In 2005, the communities of Sipakapa carried out one of the first community consultations on mining in Guatemala, taking a stand against Canadian giant, Goldcorp Inc., and sparking a movement that has resulted in over 70 referenda throughout the country to date. 

Communities opposing mining in their territory warn of environmental destruction, poisoned water sources and community division. Goldcorp’s Marlin mine, which began extracting gold in 2005, has soundly delivered on all three of the concerns outlined by affected communities, while Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine, which began commercial production a month ago, seems poised to follow suite. 

In addition to expanding the Marlin mine to include extraction from underground tunnels, Goldcorp and Guatemalan subsidiary EntreMares, have initiated development of a new open pit project named Los Chocoyos in neighboring Sipakapa. The Los Chocoyos license was granted in 2006 and renewed twice before the Environmental Impact Assessment was approved in February 2013, giving the go ahead for exploitation at the mining site. While Goldcorp lauds the municipal government of Sipakapa for its support of mining, the company fails to recognize that public opinion is divided and widespread opposition exists. 

In May 2013, the Maya Sipakapense Council and over one thousand supporters gathered in front of the municipality to express their opposition to the municipal government’s proposal to repeat the 2005 community consultation, which voted against mineral exploitation in their territory. In June, thousands marched to celebrate the eighth anniversary of their consultation. In September, hundreds of protesters temporarily blocked the Inter-American Highway to demand an end to Goldcorp’s Marlin operations. A month later, community members gathered again to call on the mayor to respond to concerns previously presented by communities and to put an end to the municipal government’s stigmatization of community leaders opposing mining. …. View the full article, with photos, here.

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