September 6, 2007
Washington DC: A coalition of anti-poverty and environmental organizations today called on the private sector arm of the World Bank to re-write and improve its new environmental and safety guidelines for large-scale mining projects. The coalition, comprised of WWF, Oxfam, EARTHWORKS, the Bank Information Center and the Center for Science in Public Participation (CSP2) released a 20-page analysis that found serious shortcomings in the draft guidelines.
The guidelines lack measurable standards for critical issues, such as preventing water contamination - a major concern with large scale mining - and disposal of toxic wastes. The new rules also do not ensure that mines will be closed down properly to avoid long-term pollution problems.
July 26, 2007
7/26/07 - "Today the U.S. Congress takes an important step towards reforming one of the last remaining public-resource giveaways.
The House Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals hearing on HR 2262, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007, addresses the need to update a law that is long past due for reform -- the 1872 Mining Law.
June 28, 2007
(Raton, June 27) - Members of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association (NMCGA) will celebrate the enactment of the nation's strongest landowner law at its Annual Mid-Year Meeting in Raton June 29. They will also release the Oil & Gas Accountability Project's "Landowner's Guide to the New Mexico Surface Owners' Protection Act" - a step-by-step handbook detailing what the law does for surface owners.
June 11, 2007
Reno, NV (06/11) - New information reveals that the Queenstake's Jerritt Canyon Mine in northern Nevada is releasing massive unreported amounts of mercury air pollution. The new emissions data, obtained from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (NDEP), indicates that the mine may have released as much as 6,000-8,000 pounds of mercury air pollution in 2005 and 2006, yet it reported only 300-400 pounds to state and federal agencies for those years.
"It's a staggering amount of mercury, and a tremendous threat to the health and wellbeing of Nevada families," said Dan Randolph of Great Basin Mine Watch.
May 29, 2007
(Glenwood Springs, May 29) -- Today Colorado Governor Bill Ritter will sign House Bill 1252, precedent-setting legislation that is one of the most powerful state laws in the nation in terms of protecting landowners right and the environment.
"This is a brilliant piece of legislation that gives landowners a powerful tool to negotiate with companies and it requires industry to use state-of-the-art technologies to prevent and reduce damages," said Oil & Gas Accountability Project member Jim Fitzgerald, a rancher from Bayfield, CO. "There is no other law in the nation that balances the rights of landowners to protect their land with the rights of industry to develop their oil and gas."
May 10, 2007
Washington, D.C. -- Local elected officials, Native Americans, and conservationists welcomed the introduction today of a new bill in Congress to protect clean water and western public lands from the impacts of metal mining. Championed by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV), the bill would overhaul the antiquated 1872 Mining Law, which allows mining of metals (like gold, copper and uranium) virtually anywhere on western public lands with few environmental safeguards and no return to the U.S. Treasury on the value of metals taken from those lands.
April 23, 2007
Washington, DC -- In advance of tomorrow's annual meeting of Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation, community groups from around the world urged the company to address human rights and environmental concerns at its gold mining operations and investments in Indonesia, Ghana, Peru, the United States, and Romania. The company's projects have been beset by protests, lawsuits, and controversies, prompting shareholders this year to file two resolutions calling on the company to review its policies on community engagement and waste disposal.
February 14, 2007
Feb 14, Reno, NV -- A new University of Nevada report entitled Mercury Air Concentrations in Northern Nevada documents startlingly high mercury concentrations in the air around a number of northern Nevada gold mines.
The highest mercury concentrations in the air were measured at three mines: the Marigold Mine (3120 ng/m3), the Coeur Rochester Mine (2326 ng/m3), and the Twin Creeks Mine (694 ng/m3) -- mercury concentrations that were over 600, 400 and 100 times that of normal background conditions (5 ng/m3), respectively. According to the report, "These concentrations were much higher than expected and approach concentrations where impacts to worker health and safety, particularly to women of child bearing age, should be assessed." In two cases (Coeur and Marigold), the highest concentrations were measured in the employee parking lots.
January 29, 2007
Jan 29, Reno, Nevada -- "Exposure to mercury causes learning disabilities and memory loss. Not to mention memory loss," warns a new Reno billboard unveiled today by a coalition of conservation and native community groups concerned that mercury pollution from gold and silver mines is a public health risk. The groups, Great Basin Mine Watch, Western Shoshone Defense Project, and Earthworks, last month urged the State of Nevada to determine the need for fish consumption advisories for northeastern Nevada waterways due to mercury from Nevada's mines.
January 23, 2007
January 23: Eighty organizations across Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Canada, and the United States released a statement today highlighting the local, national, and international opposition to the Rosia Montana cyanide open pit gold mine project in Romania, refuting accusations of "exaggerations and misleading claims" in a recent film entitled "Mine Your Own Business." The film was financed by Gabriel Resources, the Toronto-based mining company that wants to build the Rosia Montana mine.
December 13, 2006
Dec 13, Reno, NV - Public health, sportsmen, native, and conservation organizations are calling on the State Division of Health to investigate the need for fish consumption advisories for mercury in Wild Horse Reservoir and other reservoirs, lakes and streams in northern Nevada.
Recent analysis by the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) of several fish samples collected from Wild Horse Reservoir found mercury concentrations at levels that present a public health risk, particularly to children and pregnant women. Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin which can cause developmental problems such as delayed onset of walking, talking and delays and deficits in learning.
December 13, 2006
December 13, Taos, NM - After an intense and hard-fought three-year battle, President Bush signed Representative Tom Udall's Valle Vidal Protection Act of 2005 into law yesterday. The new law will permanently protect the Valle Vidal, one of New Mexico's greatest natural treasures, by withdrawing the area from mineral leasing.
"The Valle Vidal Protection Act is a great step towards New Mexico's clean energy future, said Representative Tom Udall, the bill's sponsor. "Responsible management of our energy resources means that some places, such as the Valle Vidal, are simply off limits to development."
December 7, 2006
Dec 7, Washington, DC -- New scientific research unveiled today finds that faulty water quality predictions, mitigation measures and regulatory failures result in the approval of mines that create significant water pollution problems. Despite assurances from government regulators and mine proponents that mines would not pollute clean water, researchers found that 76 percent of studied mines exceeded water quality standards, polluting rivers, and groundwater with toxic contaminants, such as lead, mercury, arsenic and cyanide, and exposing taxpayers to huge cleanup liabilities. The release was issued by the Washington, DC-based conservation group EARTHWORKS and conservation groups in as many as ten western states affected by mining.
Groups Urge Jewelers, Miners to Provide Consumers with a Certified Alternative to "Blood Diamonds" & "Dirty Gold"
December 6, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC --- In advance of Friday's release of the new movie Blood Diamond, today international development organization Oxfam America and environmental group EARTHWORKS called on the jewelry and mining industries to ensure that gold, diamonds, and other minerals are independently certified to meet human rights, environmental and social standards. Since 2004, the groups' No Dirty Gold campaign (www.nodirtygold.org) has pressured companies to commit to protecting human rights and environmental standards in the gold-mining industry.
Since the launch of the campaign, more than a dozen jewelers have made the commitment to work toward certified gold.
November 15, 2006
Reno -- Glamis Gold Ltd. has been caught seriously under-reporting mercury pollution from its Marigold Mine in Humboldt County. The company recently changed its reported mercury emissions for the past four years. Glamis' changes come after three conservation groups filed a notice warning the gold mining company that they would take legal action if the company did not fully disclose their toxic mercury air emissions as required by the Community Right to Know Act. The notice of intent to sue was filed by Great Basin Mine Watch, Idaho Conservation League and Earthworks against Glamis Gold Ltd. in August.
September 21, 2006
'Prove it': Groups challenge World Bank to demonstrate the development impacts of its gold mining investments
September 18, 2006
Singapore and Washington, DC: Today, civil society organizations released a briefing paper which details social and environmental problems at gold mines supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector arm, and challenges the institution to prove that its mining projects are reducing poverty and improving people's lives. It calls on the IFC to report on development impacts on a project-by-project basis, and to invest in other areas if such projects are found not to be benefiting the poor.
September 13, 2006
Washington, D.C. -- Though well-intentioned, the hardrock abandoned mine legislation passed today by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will do little to solve the problems from old mines. Instead, it creates new loopholes in environmental laws for mining companies.
In the West, the biggest obstacle to tackling water pollution from old mines is the lack of funding. States, local governments, and local non-profit organizations simply don't have the resources to act as "Good Samaritans" to clean up the rivers and streams. Chairman's Inhofe's substitute to the bill originally introduced by Colorado Senators Wayne Allard and Ken Salazar, S. 1848, falls short of its goal to reduce water pollution.
May 10, 2006
Washington, D.C. -- EARTHWORKS has been working for over a decade to bring attention to the serious issue of abandoned metal mines in the West. Communities, agricultural lands, and our fish and wildlife resources are at risk from the water pollution caused by these old mines. A real solution is needed to address this pervasive problem that affects many western watersheds.
April 13, 2006
Multinational companies that mine metals--such as gold, silver and copper--produce more toxic waste than any other industry in the country, according to the EPA's annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) released yesterday.
According to theTRI,1.1 billion pounds of toxics were released by the metal mining industry, also known as hardrock mining, in 2004--25% of all toxics released by U.S. industry overall. This includes 105 million pounds of arsenic, 369 million pounds of lead and 4 million pounds of mercury.
March 10, 2006
Gale Norton leaves a legacy of unprecedented kowtowing to extractive industries at the expense of the public interest. Among her actions on behalf of the mining industry she:
* eviscerated environmental mining regulations that protected the public and public waters from destructive mining practices;
* issued a legal opinion that effectively legalized unlimited toxic mine waste dumping on public lands;
* set a horrible precedent in permitting a gold mine that will pollute surface and groundwater for tens of thousands of years.
February 13, 2006
New York City- For the first time ever, eight of the world's top jewelry retailers have pledged to move away from "dirty" gold sales and are calling on mining corporations to ensure that gold is produced in more socially and environmentally responsible ways. The retailers, which are the Zale Corp., the Signet Group (the parent firm of Sterling and Kay Jewelers), Tiffany & Co., Helzberg Diamonds, Fortunoff, Cartier, Piaget, and Van Cleef & Arpels, are being praised by the No Dirty Gold campaign today in a full-page ad in The New York Times, timed to coincide with Valentine's Day, one of the biggest jewelry-buying holidays in the United States.
"Because jewelry retailers buy the majority of gold produced worldwide, they have the power to help clean up the mining industry," said Payal Sampat, co-director of the No Dirty Gold campaign and international campaign director for EARTHWORKS. "We applaud the leadership of these companies. It's an important first step."
February 2, 2006
On January 31, 2006, the Board of Directors of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector arm, approved loans amounting to USD $125 million for Denver-based Newmont Mining Company's controversial Afaho gold mining project in Ghana. Ghanaian and international human rights and environmental NGOs had previously called on the IFC Board to postpone loan consideration until IFC and Newmont had fully addressed the project's human rights and environmental problems.
January 30, 2006
A group of Ghanaian and international organizations is urging the World Bank to postpone funding for a new gold mining project in Ghana until the Bank addresses the project's human rights and environmental problems. Tomorrow, the Bank's Board of Directors is to consider loans of $125 million by the International Finance Corporation (the Bank's private sector arm) to Newmont Mining Corporation, one of the world's largest mining companies, for the development of the Ahafo gold mine project in western Ghana.
December 13, 2005
Today, December 13, 2005, Congressman Jim Gibbons (R-Nevada), Chairman of the House Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee announced that he was officially dropping the controversial mining provisions that he and House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-California) inserted into a budget reconciliation bill.
"We applaud Congressman Gibbons' decision to drop the mining subtitle from the budget reconciliation bill," said Stephen D'Esposito, president of EARTHWORKS. "We welcome the call of Representative Gibbons, and the call of Senators around the West from both parties, to consider meaningful mining reform in the coming year and we look forward to working with all parties to promote the multiple goals of protecting communities and our public lands, safeguarding our natural resource heritage, and ensuring economic development and responsible mining practices."
November 15, 2005
EARTHWORKS, Oxfam America, and Westerners for Responsible Mining applaud commitment by nation's leading retail jewelers to protect America's treasured public lands, including the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness
Washington, DC--Jewelers of America, the nation's largest retail jewelry trade association, sent a letter to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on Monday night urging him to strip controversial 'mining' provisions from the House budget reconciliation bill. The letter, signed by Jewelers of America President and CEO Matthew A. Runci, expressed grave concern that the mining provisions authored by House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-California) "would result in a massive giveaway of public land giveaway to corporations and private interests."
October 18, 2005
Accra, Heidelberg, and Washington DC: Today, EARTHWORKS, FIAN International, and the Wassa Association of Communities affected by Mining (WACAM) are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ghana to conduct an environmental audit of Bogoso Gold Limited's gold mining operations in Prestea in the Western Region of Ghana, and to renew the suspension of the mine until community concerns about environmental pollution and human rights abuses are addressed. Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL) is a subsidiary of US-Canadian gold mining company Golden Star Resources. Golden Star Resources is a member of the London-based World Gold Council, an international association of gold mining companies operating in 22 countries.
October 14, 2005
NEW ORLEANS, LA. -- Flooding associated with Hurricane Katrina deposited a layer of sediment in many areas of south east Louisiana. On September 16, 2005, Subra Company was assisted by Altamont Environmental with sediment and surface water sampling in five residential areas in New Orleans, Chalmette and Meraux that were impacted by flood waters from Hurricane Katrina. The sampling was conducted to assess potential organic and inorganic contamination of those residential areas.
September 27, 2005
Washington, DC - Thousands of music fans and college students from around the country are sending letters to singer-songwriter Alicia Keys who was featured this past summer in Vogue and Vanity Fair as part of a new jewelry advertising campaign launched by the World Gold Council and its member mining companies to boost gold consumption. Thus far, over 2,500 supporters have written to Keys' publicists and management team.
September 23, 2005
Washington, DC - House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) has written draft legislation for the budget reconciliation bill that would alter the 1872 Mining Law and repeal a 10-year moratorium on the selling of public land to multi-national mining companies. Congress plans to start the budget reconciliation process this month.
If the patent moratorium is repealed, treasured places throughout the West could be permanently removed from America's system of public lands. As a result, those Americans who hunt, fish, hike, and recreate in these areas will be permanently denied the access they currently enjoy. The fate of rivers and streams running through these lands, providing water for agriculture and municipalities, will be left largely to mining companies to determine, as will the health of wildlife and game habitat.
August 10, 2005
June 22, 2005
Juneau, Alaska - The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) today issued a precedent-setting permit that will allow a mining company to dump 4.5 million tons of chemically-processed mine waste directly into Lower Slate Lake on the Tongass National Forest, effectively turning the freshwater lake into a dead zone. The permit clears the way for final approval of Coeur Alaska's proposed Kensington gold mine, whose facilities would stretch across the Berners Bay watershed, which is home to sea lions, humpback whales, four species of wild salmon, bald eagles, brown and black bears, and moose.
May 11, 2005
Washington, DC - The Environmental Protection Agency released the 2003 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data today, which documents gold mines as the largest source of mercury air emission in the tri-state region of Utah, Idaho and Nevada. These toxic emissions are largely released by mines that use ore roasters to process the gold. Under this process, the mercury residing in the ore is released into the air when the ore is heated to extract the gold. Although these ore roasters are located in Nevada, air emissions from these mines can travel great distances, affecting a broad geographic area, including neighboring states Idaho and Utah.
The Cortez Gold Mine, owned by the Canadian company Placer Dome, is the largest source of mercury in the area, reporting a releasing 1,378 pounds into the air in 2003. Barrick's Goldstrike mine reports a release of 1,057 pounds.
April 18, 2005
San Francisco, CA: Stephanie Roth, a mining activist in Romania, has been awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. Considered the Nobel Prize for the Environment, the Goldman Environmental Prize is awarded each year to outstanding grassroots environmentalists from each of the six continental regions. Roth is this year's European winner. The award draws attention to the considerable environmental and human impacts of gold mining.
April 13, 2005
APRIL 13, 2005 - A widely-used oil and gas production technique is threatening drinking water supplies in many states and should be regulated to protect human health and property values, a panel of experts said today.
During a national teleconference discussion on "hydraulic fracturing" (also known as "fracking"), an Environmental Protection Agency whistle-blower joined municipal water managers, geochemists and private landowners from across the country in calling on Congress and the EPA to protect drinking water supplies from fracking. The technique has impacted drinking water supplies in at least three states.
April 12, 2005
PHOENIX --- Twenty-three state and national groups have sent a letter to the Arizona Congressional delegation urging them not to introduce a land exchange bill that would allow a foreign-owned mining company to mine under Oak Flat Campground, a popular recreation area near Phoenix. The groups argue that not only does this land exchange bill threaten an important recreation and cultural area, it also sets a chilling precedent for other areas currently withdrawn from mining due to their unique recreational, ecological or cultural values.
"We urge the Arizona delegation to keep public recreational and cultural areas such as Oak Flat protected for future generations," said Roger Featherstone of Earthworks.
March 4, 2005
London and Washington, DC: Today, Oxfam America, EARTHWORKS, and Global Witness are calling on jewelers to provide consumers with meaningful guarantees that the jewelry they buy is not tarnished with human rights abuses, environmental destruction, or conflict. The global jewelry industry is holding its annual meeting in Hong Kong from3-6 March 2005. Organized by the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO), the meeting's theme this year is "Maintaining Consumer Confidence."
February 11, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC --- Valentine's sales of gold jewelry in the U.S. will leave in their wake more than 34 million metric tons of waste worldwide, according to estimates from EARTHWORKS and Oxfam America, leaders of a major consumer campaign aimed at changing the way gold is produced and sold. (The estimates are based on gold sales in the first two weeks of February.) The "No Dirty Gold" campaign, which is celebrating its first anniversary this week, has targeted gold sales because gold mining is arguably the dirtiest industry in the world---and most of the gold mined worldwide is used for jewelry.
November 10, 2004
Washington, DC - An Indonesian government-convened panel concluded its studies this week showing that sediment and fish in Buyat Bay, Indonesia, are contaminated with mercury and arsenic at levels that pose a human health risk. Buyat Bay is the site of Newmont Mining Corporation's Minahasa Raya gold mine, which closed down in August 2004.
The panel was convened by the Indonesian government following allegations that U.S.-based Newmont's gold mine had polluted Buyat Bay and harmed human health. The panel consists of experts drawn from Indonesian government agencies, academia, non-governmental organizations, and technical consultants. Its findings were officially accepted by the Indonesian Environment Minister on Monday.
September 16, 2004
Washington, DC - The FY2005 Interior Appropriations bill, introduced yesterday by Interior Subcommittee Chair Conrad Burns (R-MT), includes a provision that would delay the increase in the claim maintenance fee that mining companies must pay to maintain an exclusive option to mine on public land.
The fee increase, which was written into rule by the Bush Administration this past July, would raise the fee from $100 to $125 per year. This increase was the first attempt to raise the fee since its original authorization by Congress in 1993. The claim fee, along with a $25 fee to initially stake a mining claim, are the only payment to the public for mining on public lands and are intended to cover administrative costs rather than act as a fair payment to the public. The public does not receive a royalty for the $1 billion in minerals extracted from public lands each year.
September 8, 2004
Washington, D.C. - Earthworks will be presented with the Award of Achievement by the Natural Resources Council of America for the best environmental media campaign of the year for its "No Dirty Gold" campaign. The awards ceremony will be held at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. tonight. Other award winners include Ted Turner who will be presented with the Award of Honor for his lifetime contributions to conservation, and John Turner, a member of both Bush Administrations, who will receive the Award for Public Service.
July 2, 2004
Washington, DC- Yesterday, the Department of the Interior announced an increase in the fee that mining companies must pay to maintain an exclusive option to mine a claim on public land - from $100 per claim per year to $125 per year. This fee, along with a $25 fee to initially stake a mining claim, are the only return the public receives for the $1 billion dollars in minerals extracted from public lands each year.
June 23, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC -- Multinational companies that mine metals and minerals such as gold, silver and copper - produce more toxic waste than any other industry in the country, according to the EPA's annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) released today.
According to the TRI, 1.3 billion pounds of toxics were released by hardrock mines in 2002 - 27% of all toxics released by U.S. industry overall. This includes 384 million pounds of arsenic, 348 million pounds of lead and 4.7 million pounds of mercury.
May 10, 2004
Washington, DC - On the 132nd anniversary of the signing of the 1872 Mining Law, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a new investigative website, Who Owns the West? detailing widespread mining industry control of public lands. The interactive website reveals that one out of every 11 acres of public land is open to the multinational mining industry. It also sheds new light on a massive taxpayer rip-off and giveaway of millions of acres of public lands to private corporations and individuals for rock-bottom prices - in some cases as little as 84 cents an acre.
April 28, 2004
Denver, Colorado, 4/28 -- Shareholders gathering today for Newmont Mining Corp.'s annual meeting will be met by rosy financial reports, but for thousands of people living near its gold mines in Indonesia, Peru, and Nevada, living conditions continue to deteriorate. Critics charge the company's operations have polluted drinking water, contaminated fisheries and farmland, and led to serious health problems, which the multi-billion-dollar company has refused to acknowledge to its shareholders as a significant financial and social liability.
April 21, 2004
Washington, DC, 4/21 -- Coinciding with the 34th annual Earth Day Celebration this week, EARTHWORKS today announced a new tool to aid consumers and communities in making responsible choices at home that will help protect the environment and communities around the world from the impacts of mining, drilling, and digging.
Earthworks@HOME will provide information and practical suggestions and tips that will help consumers make informed choices about everything from jewelry to cell phones. The focus will be on steps that people can take in their everyday lives to tread more lightly on the earth's surface -- conserving resources, producing less waste, and protecting communities.
March 24, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC Today, Tiffany & Co., one of the leading jewelry companies in the world, issued a call for protection of an important wilderness area threatened by a silver mine as well as reform of the outdated U.S. mining law regulating the industry supplying it with much of the gold, silver and platinum for its jewelry.
The jewelry company made its statement in an open letter to the Forest Service in today's Washington Post. Tiffany & Co. states that the "opponents fears are justified" in regard to the controversial Rock Creek silver and copper mine in a pristine Wilderness Area in Montana, a poster child example of why the 1872 Mining Law badly needs updating. This is the first time that a major jewelry company has taken such a highly visible stance calling for reforms to the main U.S. law regulating mining, and could be an early sign of fears of consumer backlash from the destructive impacts of mining on the part of retailers of jewelry and high-tech products that use gold, silver and other metals.
March 1, 2004
Washington, DC -- Today Mineral Policy Center announced that it has changed its name to EARTHWORKS (www.earthworksaction.org).
Tagged with: media
February 11, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC -- EARTHWORKS/Mineral Policy Center and Oxfam America today announced the launch of No Dirty Gold, a consumer campaign intended to shake up the gold industry and change the way gold is mined, bought and sold. The two organizations have targeted the gold jewelry market for the major consumer campaign, because gold mining is arguably the dirtiest industry operating in the U.S. and in many parts of the world.
"Gold doesn't seem so shiny when you consider the colossal damage gold mining inflicts," said Payal Sampat, International Campaign Director with EARTHWORKS. "We're asking consumers to consider the real cost of gold, and we're enlisting their help to put an end to mining practices that endanger people and ecosystems."