EARTHWORKS

Media Releases

ASARCO Bankruptcy To Leave U.S. Taxpayers With Billion Dollar Clean-Up Bill

August 10, 2005

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Tagged with: mining, abandoned mines, taxpayers, bankruptcy


Corps Permit Undermine Clean Water Act

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.

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Tagged with: mining, epa, gold, alaska, clean water act


EPA Cites Gold Mines as Largest Source of Toxic Mercury Air Emissions in Nevada, Utah, Idaho

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.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, toxics, mercury, tri


Communities Urge Gold Miner Newmont to Reform

No Dirty Gold campaign

April 27, 2005

Denver - Representatives from Ghana, Indonesia, Peru, Romania, and Nevada today called on Newmont Mining, the world's largest gold producer, to urgently reform its human rights and environmental practices at its global operations. Speaking at the company's annual shareholder meeting, representatives demanded that Newmont fully respect human rights, stop intimidation of farmers, community members and individuals critical of its operations, and stop dumping mine wastes into the ocean. They also called on the company to permanently cancel plans for new, open-pit mines on densely populated farmland in Romania, in a Ghanaian forest reserve, and on a mountain in Peru that is a source of community drinking water.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, newmont, western shoshone, grufides, wacam, wahli


Romanian Gold Mining Activist Wins Prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize

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.

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Tagged with: mining, international, romania, goldman prize


EPA Whistleblower, Experts Issue Warning on Hydraulic Fracturing

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.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, public health, congress


Groups Urge Arizona Congressional Delegation Not to Introduce Land Exchange Bill

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.

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Tagged with: mining, arizona


Groups Call on Jewelry Industry to Combat Conflict Diamonds and Dirty Gold

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."

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, conflict minerals


VALENTINE’S GOLD JEWELRY SALES GENERATE 34 MILLION TONS OF MINE WASTE

No Dirty Gold campaign

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.

"Gold loses its luster when it is produced at the expense of healthy communities, clean water and human rights," said Payal Sampat, International Campaign Director with EARTHWORKS. "Retailers and consumers are saying this price is too high."

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, mining waste, valentines day


Valentine's Gold Jewelry Sales Generate 34 Million Tons of Mine Waste

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.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers


Expert Study Shows Buyat Bay, Indonesia, Polluted; Newmont at Center of Public Health Controversy

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.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, public health, newmont, international, mercury


YALE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS LOBBY CLASS RING RETAILERS, CAMPAIGN AROUND ANNUAL SALES, CITING GOLD INDUSTRY'S EGREGIOUS PRACTICES

No Dirty Gold campaign

October 22, 2004

Starting this week, university students on a number of college campuses will take action against class ring retail giants Jostens, American Achievement Corporation (AAC) and Herff-Jones.

For years, college students have raised America's public consciousness through social activism: anti-war marches, apartheid sit-ins, sweatshop protests. Now, students have embraced a new cause. Yale students are part of a larger campaign called No Dirty Gold, an international effort to educate consumers about the harmful impacts of gold mining and to build consumer support for industry reforms.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, class rings, american achievement corporation, jostens, herff-jones, yale


Senate Attempts to Thwart Bush Mining Fee Increase

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.

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Tagged with: mining, public lands, congress, bush


What Do Ted Turner, Bush Appointee John Turner, and EARTHWORKS Have in Common?

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.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold


Mining Claim Fee Increases by $25

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.

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Tagged with: mining, public lands, interior department


Mining Industry Hides Toxic Releases

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.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, toxics, mercury, tri


Public Lands Giveaway Revealed by New Website

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.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, public lands


CONSUMER CAMPAIGN SAYS, "IF YOU LOVE MOM, DO SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE HER PROUD THIS MOTHER'S DAY"

No Dirty Gold campaign, WACAM, Western Shoshone Defense Project

May 5, 2004

Washington, DC -- This Mother's Day, leaders of the No Dirty Gold consumer campaign are calling on husbands, sons, and daughters to protect mothers around the world from being harmed by destructive gold mining practices. Mother's Day is the second largest gold jewelry- giving holiday of the year after the Christmas season.

"Many of our mothers have been impoverished and can no longer feed their children because mining operations have taken over their farmland and contaminated their drinking water supplies," said Hannah Owusu-Koranteng of the Wassa region in Ghana, where families have suffered in the wake of a cyanide spill from a gold mine in 2001. "The human cost of gold mining is simply too high."

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, indigenous, jewelry, mothers day


Communities Hurt by Newmont Seek Compensation

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.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, newmont, international


EARTHWORKS Launches Earthworks@HOME

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.

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Tagged with: mining, oil and gas


Tiffany & Co. Stakes Bold Position on Responsible Mining

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.

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, montana, rock creek mine, miningwatch canada, tiffany and co


Mineral Policy Center Becomes EARTHWORKS

March 1, 2004

Washington, DC -- Today Mineral Policy Center announced that it has changed its name to EARTHWORKS (www.earthworksaction.org).

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Tagged with: media


No Dirty Gold Campaign Launch

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."

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers


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