Press Release – Vancouver Court Clears Way for Slave Labour Lawsuit Against Canadian Mining Company To Go To Trial

Friends of MiningWatch

(Vancouver) The Supreme Court of British Columbia today rejected efforts by Vancouver-based Nevsun Resources Limited (TSX: NSU/NYSE MKT: NSU) to dismiss a lawsuit brought by three Eritrean men who allege they were forced to work at Nevsun’s Bisha Mine.

This marks the first time that a mass tort claim for modern slavery will go forward in a Canadian court, and the first time a case against a mining company for alleged abuses in overseas operations has been allowed to proceed in British Columbia.

Mr. Justice Patrice Abrioux rejected Nevsun’s position that the case should be dismissed in Canada and instead heard in Eritrea. Justice Abrioux ruled, “There is sufficient cogent evidence from which I can conclude that there is a real risk that the plaintiffs could not be provided with justice in Eritrea.” Justice Abrioux continued, “This is particularly the case if they then chose to commence legal proceedings in which they … call into question the actions of a commercial enterprise which is the primary economic generator in one of the poorest countries in the world.”

In prevailing on this issue, the plaintiffs overcame an argument that has permitted other companies accused of abuses to have Canadian cases dismissed in favour of foreign courts.

In another groundbreaking decision, Justice Abrioux determined that claims of crimes against humanity, slavery, forced labour and torture can go forward against Nevsun. It is the first time that a Canadian court has recognized that a corporation can be taken to trial for alleged violations of customary international law.

“Today’s historic judgment allows the case to move forward to a trial on the merits,” said Joe Fiorante, Q.C., of Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman, lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “We now intend to use the court’s discovery processes to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the truth of what Nevsun really knew about the human rights situation at the mine.”…

Read the full release here, on the MiningWatch website


Posted in Corporate Impunity, Local and Indigenous Rights, Nevsun Resources, Oh, Canada: Canadian policy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Report – Mining, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Conflict: OceanaGold and the El Dorado Foundation in El Salvador

The full report, executive summary, and a print version are available for download here, at MiningWatch’s website.

This report documents the current activities of the El Dorado Foundation, which was originally established by Pacific Rim Mining in El Salvador in 2005, and is now operated by its successor company, OceanaGold. The two companies have sought to develop a disputed gold mining project, which is currently stalled in the exploration phase, in the department of Cabañas in northeastern El Salvador. The project, which has not advanced in roughly ten years, is the subject of a controversial international arbitration process at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, D.C.

This report was produced in collaboration with the National Roundtable against Metal Mining in El Salvador and organizations in the department of Cabañas, El Salvador in response to their concerns about the Foundation’s activities. A three-person research team was formed to investigate and write the report, including Stuart Kirsch (University of Michigan), an anthropologist with extensive research experience on mining conflicts; Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada; and Jan Morrill, the former US/El Salvador Sister Cities Coordinator and former Coordinator of the International Allies against Metallic Mining in El Salvador.

The research and analysis presented in the report is based on a review of company reports, documents obtained from Salvadoran government ministries, and interviews. The research team spoke with local residents, current members and the former legal representative of the National Roundtable against Metal Mining, and government officials in Cabañas and San Salvador during visits to El Salvador in February and August 2015. Excerpts from interviews with local residents and organizations are presented anonymously given concerns about their personal safety. Attempts to speak with representatives of the Foundation El Dorado were unsuccessful.

Posted in Conflict and Repression, Local and Indigenous Rights, OceanaGold, Pacific Rim | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Film: Plundering Tibet – Sunday March 8th

Plundering Tibet – Environmental and Social Consequences of Resource

Film Screening and Discussion Forum

please share the info via the Facebook event page! (link below)

Date: Sunday March 8, 2015

Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Location: Library Square Conference Centre (350 West Georgia Street,

Room: Peter Kaye Room

 Suggested Donation: $10

 Sponsored by Canada Tibet Committee (

 From Wild Yak Films (

A film by Michael Buckley
A personal take on mining in Tibet
How much can an ecosystem take before it collapses?

Length: 24 minutes

Plundering Tibet is a short documentary about the dire consequences of  China’s ruthless mining in Tibet. As a Canadian filmmaker, the narrator  has a personal take on this because of the involvement of Canadian  companies in mining in Tibet—and the railway to Lhasa. Following the  arrival of the train in Tibet in 2006, large-scale mining of lithium,
gold, copper, lead, crude oil, natural gas and other resources is under way to feed China’s voracious industrial sector. Tibetans have vigorously protested the defilement of their sacred mountains by Chinese mining operations. None of the mining operations benefit Tibetans. In fact, mining pollutes drinking water, kills the livestock, and degrades the
grasslands on which Tibetan nomads depend. A disaster of Biblical proportions is unfolding in Tibet—so big you can see it happening on Google Earth—the mines, the pollution, the environmental damage.

The environmental impact may go far beyond Tibet’s borders because of rivers that run downstream to ten Asian nations—including India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, Burma and Vietnam. Tibet’s abundant rivers supply large quantities of both water and power for mining operations. Chinese engineers are heavily damming Tibet’s mighty rivers to supply
power for large-scale mining operations: the building of mega-dams will immediately affect the nations downstream. The documentary uses undercover  footage and still photography shot on location in Tibet—including  cellphone footage of an anti-mining protest smuggled out of Tibet.  Although some photography of mine sites was shot within Tibet, it is extremely difficult to get to mining sites due to tight security in remote locations. For mining sites in Tibet, the film uses Google Earth flyovers to show what is happening on the ground, hidden from view.

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

COMING SOON to a mining city near you… March 28 Toxic Tour!

toxic web 1

amazing poster by: murray bush, flux design

Soon, Indigenous leaders, academics, scientists, activists and public intellectuals will converge in Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territories, to explore global resistance to the new face of resource capitalism in Canada as a State of Extraction.

On March 28th, in conjunction with the State of Extraction conference-convergence, please join us for:

Extractive Industries and Voices of Resistance:

A Toxic Tour of Vancouver

MARCH through the streets! in a lively procession to stand up for community self-determination.

SEE the sites! of fancy offices where corporate decisions lead to social and environmental injustices.

HEAR from indigenous and global communities! affected by Vancouver’s extractive companies.

Music! Snacks! Dance! Street Theatre! Testimonies! Family-friendly! Bring your drums and regalia!

Saturday March 28

12pm – 3pm

Starts at Vancouver Art Gallery (North side, Georgia and Howe)

Unceded Coast Salish Territories

RSVP on facebook:

Organized by: Mining Justice Alliance, Café Rebelde, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Council of Canadians, No One Is Illegal-Coast Salish Territories, Rising Tide-Coast Salish Territories

Endorsed by: Alliance for People’s Health; Beyond Boarding Collective; Canada Tibet Committee; Critical Criminology Working Group at KPU; In Solidarity With All Land Defenders; INDIGENOUS ACTION MOVEMENT-Coast Salish Territories; International Allies Against Mining in Latin America; International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS); Migrante BC; Red Sparks Union; Rights Action; Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG); SocialCoast; South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD); Stop Enbridge, Stop Kinder Morgan-Call to Action; Streams of Justice; Teaching Support Staff Union at SFU, The Purple Thistle, Vancouver Solidarity with Ayotzinapa, We Love This Coast, Wirikuta Vancouver Alliance

Thanks to: CUPE BC

Want more information? Is your group willing to endorse this event? Please get in touch! | @miningjustice

Posted in Community Resistance | Tagged , , | Leave a comment



carr clifton valley photo

The BC Government is expected to soon grant Imperial Metals a permit to discharge tailings at the Red Chris Mine site in the Sacred Headwaters area of northwestern BC. This area is one of the last intact ecosystems and source of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine Rivers. Approval of this permit is the final step Imperial Metals needs to begin large-scale industrial mining at the Red Chris Mine. Do you think this is a good idea?

Did you know that Imperial Metals operates the Mount Polley Mine, site of the August 2014 tailings pond spill, one of the biggest environmental disasters in modern Canadian history? The tailings pond proposed for the Red Chris Mine is based on the same design as the one that failed at the Mount Polley Mine. An outside review of the Red Chris Mine tailings pond has cited technical design flaws. Do you trust the safety record of Imperial Metals?

Indications are the BC Government will provide the final mining permit to Imperial Metals early in 2015. There has been further speculation that Imperial Metals will use the profits from the Red Chris Mine operation to finance two other mine projects in Clayoquot Sound. Do you remember the historic fight to protect Clayoquot?

Send a clear message to the BC Government before it issues a permit for Imperial Metals to start operating its Red Chris Mine in the Sacred Headwaters. We do not want another Mount Polley disaster, or worse! Take action now!

Stand firmly against this mining operation and destruction of the Sacred Headwaters, yet another pristine Canadian and BC wilderness. Join us in an act of peaceful solidarity to show the BC Government and Imperial Metals that we are opposed to corporations implementing more mining, tailings ponds, and further degradation of our environment.

January 22, 2015, 12-1:30 pm

on the sidewalk outside the offices of Imperial Metals at 580 Hornby Street

Environment Committee / Social Justice Committee
Unitarian Church of Vancouver

Posted in Environment and Health, Imperial Metals, Local and Indigenous Rights, Oh, Canada: Canadian policy | Tagged | Leave a comment

Rally to Support the Wilderness Committee for speaking out on Fish Lake

Wilderness committee graphic
You are invited to a gathering on the steps of the courthouse at Nelson and Hornby, Monday, January 19th, 8:30-9:30am.
The rally is  a gathering of friends and allies in defense of the right to speak and public participation, held in response to Taseko Mines Ltd.’s defamation suit against the Wilderness Committee.
The defamation suit was launched in 2012 at the time of a public comment period for the New Prosperity Mine. For background information you can check out the Wilderness Committee’s press release:
Joe Foy from the Wilderness Committee, Devon Page from Ecojustice and Grand Chief Stewart Philip will each say a few words. Media will be in attendance.
Posted in Community Resistance, Oh, Canada: Canadian policy, Taseko Mines Ltd., Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Interactive map shows scope of natural resource concessions in Guatemala (NISGUA)

From Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala‘s blog:

Those of you following NISGUA’s work on defense of land and territory over the past seven years may remember the story of how Goldcorp’s Marlin mine first gained access to indigenous lands in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, San Marcos. Company representatives told residents that they were interested in starting an orchid farm, when in reality they planned to open a massive, open-pit gold mine.
This first encounter – characterized by the withholding and distorting of information about the mine by the Guatemalan government and trans-national companies – has come to represent one of the key issues facing affected communities: Lack of access to clear, accurate and unbiased information about potential resource extraction on their territory, before extraction activities begin.
In an effort to confront this ongoing problem and to better understand the immensity of resource concessions in Guatemala, NISGUA supported the development of an online, interactive map entitled: Authorization of Natural Resource Exploitation.
How to use the map
To access the map online where it’s hosted on the Western Peoples’ Council (CPO) website, click here.
To access a downloadable copy to run offline, click here.
First, make sure the Google Earth plugin is downloaded onto your computer. The left-hand side of the map page includes the scope of information available. Select the category to be displayed (mining licenses, hydro-dams, protected areas etc.). You can choose the color for each layer of information by clicking the color square. For several subjects there is the option to select a group of records with specific characteristics. Finally, hit the “update map” button at the bottom of the page or use the map offline by selecting the “export KML” file button.
When the map is loaded, click on different concessions for additional information about the territory impacted, companies involved and resource sought.
Depending on the speed of the Internet connection, the type of information and the scale (i.e. the whole country or just one department), it may require more or less time to load/download the information from the maps. If needed, it is worth the effort to wait several minutes.
Outline of protected areas, mining licenses and areas that have held community consultations in northwestern Guatemala.
The map includes data about  mega-projects that are in the operation, construction or investigation phases, including difficult-to-find information on who owns the concession or license. The information included on the map was collected using government databases and public records, and as such, does not include projects by companies that are not officially registered in Guatemala. The map also highlights protected areas and territories and municipalities that have carried out community consultations. All the information comes from relevant parties: protected areas from the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP), mining and hydrocarbons from the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), and community consultations from the committees charged with their undertaking.

NISGUA support for community mapping and information sharing

The online map is one part of an ongoing process to support access to and sharing of information about government concession of licenses for mega-projects to multi-national companies. Since 2008 NISGUA has participated in community mapping projects in departments impacted by Goldcorp’s Marlin gold mine, including Huehuetenango and San Marcos, and more recently in Santa Rosa,Jalapa and Jutiapa as a result of Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine.

Community members participate in community mapping in Mataquescuintla, Jalapa  (Photos NISGUA)
The imposition of natural resources exploration and exploitation projects in Guatemala without accurate and timely information for impacted communities has led to an increase in conflict throughout the country. The conflict has manifested itself in intimidation and violence against communities, organizations and individuals opposing these projects, and the criminalization of their leaders. The lack of information and consultation is a violation of indigenous rights as outlined in ILO Convention 169 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Posted in Community Resistance, Environment and Health, Goldcorp, Local and Indigenous Rights | Tagged , | Leave a comment