By Lucy Pearce
March 17, 2011
Five weeks ahead of Anglo American plc's Annual General Meeting in London, MPs from Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Green parties have together co-sponsored an Early Day Motion (EDM 1606). The EDM notes MPs' concern about the proposed 'Pebble Mine' in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and calls on the Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to meet Anglo American plc to discuss these concerns.
Following a meeting between Alaska Natives and Martin Horwood MP (Lib Dem) in his role as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tribal Peoples (APPG) in November 2010, he has now tabled the EDM, co-sponsored by fellow APPG members Peter Bottomley (Cons), Jeremy Corbyn (Lab), and Caroline Lucas (Green), plus Mark Durkan (Social Democratic and Labour Party).
March 14, 2011
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) closed its comments period over a week ago on rules that would require companies to disclose their use of possible Blood Gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Many jeweler comments are now posted online. Even as controversy continues to grow over recent DRC gold shipments smuggled through Kenya and possibly South Africa to Dubai, the comments reveal that several large jewelry associations pushed for loopholes that could allow gold mining to continue to finance conflict in DRC.
The loopholes that these trade groups -- Jewelers of America, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America, the American Gem Society, and the Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association -- are calling for include: delaying implementation of the SEC rules for two or three years, furnishing disclosure on special reports (rather than "filing" in annual reports), broad exemptions on scrap metals, exemptions for retailers that contract for or have partial control over manufacturing, and allowing companies to just say they are "unable to determine" the relation of their gold to DRC conflict.
March 9, 2011
Yesterday was the deadline for comments on the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would require companies to disclose their use of probable "Blood Gold" from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Additional rules stemming from last year's Dodd-Frank Act will also require mining, oil, and gas companies to report on their payments to governments, and require mining companies to report on health and safety violations in annual reports.
Earthworks has requested the SEC to fully implement the law passed by Congress last year and finalize strong rules on these topics. A broad array of groups are supporting efforts to ensure that the rules are up to the task. These include Earthworks, the Electronics Take Back Coalition, the Extractive Industries Working Group, Global Witness, the Enough Project, Catholic Relief Services, the Publish What You Pay Coalition, World Resources Institute, the United Mine Workers, Calvert Asset Management and other investor groups, George Soros, and many others. A number of jewelers like the Ethical Metalsmiths, Fair Jewelry Action, and Toby Pomeroy weighed in in favor of strong rules on "Blood Gold" as well.
Meanwhile, dozens of companies and industry associations are weighing in to push for various loopholes in the rules. These range from mining companies (Anglogold Ashanti, Barrick Gold, Freeport McMoran, Newmont, Rio Tinto, and Vale) to gold miner associations (the National Mining Association and the World Gold Council), from oil companies (Anadarko, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell) and associations (American Petroleum Institute) to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
March 9, 2011
GRUFIDES, a sustainable development group in Cajamarca, announced yesterday the filing of a new lawsuit against Newmont Mining for taking people's lands when the company and its partner started up the Yanacocha mine in Peru in the mid-1990s. The community of San Andres de Negritos filed the suit yesterday against Newmont and the government of Peru for having taken more than 600 ha of their communal lands to build the mine.
This new lawsuit comes during recent and ongoing formal complaints and protests over a spill of acidic effluent contaminating communities' water supplies. The regional government of Cajamarca even issued a statement condemning the spill and taking note of protests.
March 8, 2011
Are Arkansas' earthquakes manmade? While scientists work to determine the cause of over 700 earthquakes in a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Guy Earthquake Swarm, alarms are sounding that the quakes are caused by waste disposal for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas.
Fracking is the process of injecting fluids into oil or gas wells at high pressure in order to fracture the formations and enable the oil or gas to flow more freely and be pumped to the surface. Some of the fracking fluid stays underground, and some of it returns to the surface as waste. Since 2009, natural gas drillers have been pumping fracking wastes, also known as 'produced water' into disposal wells in the region around Guy, Arkansas. Beginning in that same time period, the region began experiencing earthquakes, including last Sunday's quake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale.
The earthquake issue came to a head last week when two natural gas drillers suspended their practice of injecting fracking wastes underground.