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Newmont Mining Opposes Human Rights Shareholder Proposal

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By Hilary Lewis

April 21, 2017

Yesterday, Earthworks and our partners at SumOfUs.org attended the Annual General Meeting of the world’s second largest gold mining company, Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation. The meeting is open to all shareholders and is where shareholders (and their proxies) vote on standard resolutions about corporate governance and CEO pay. Importantly for communities, shareholder-led resolutions are also considered.

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Tagged with: mining, newmont, maxima, agm


Norway Mining Activists Face Trial

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By Tina Andersen Vågenes

December 5, 2016

This week, I, along with nine other activists, went to trial for peacefully protesting a mining company’s proposal to dump mine waste into Norway’s iconic fjords. We pled not guilty, arguing that our act of civil disobedience was crucial to protect the Førde fjord.

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, norway


Global Conservation Body Votes to Ban Marine Mine Waste Dumping

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By Shreema Mehta

September 12, 2016

Mining companies move staggering amounts of earth to extract small quantities of minerals like gold and copper. Much of this waste is contaminated with heavy metals and chemicals used to extract metals from ore. Dealing with the resulting waste is a constant problem -- for the industry, environment and nearby communities.

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Tagged with: mining, oceans, iucn


International Seabed Authority: Protect Ocean Ecosystems

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By Payal Sampat

July 25, 2016

Deep-sea mining sounds like something out of a science fiction novel – and indeed, the claims by companies hoping to extract metals from cobalt crusts, manganese nodules, and hydrothermal vents on deep sea beds do seem to have their basis in fiction more than fact. As yet, there are no viable deep-sea mining operations – but many companies and governments are hoping that will change.

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Tagged with: mining, oceans, isa


Mine Waste Dumping: Batu Hijau

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By Shreema Mehta

July 22, 2016

Each year, mining companies operating throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific dump millions of tons of mine waste into oceans and rivers. Known by the industry as “tailings,” this muddy sludge is created during processing, when the desired mineral, such as gold, is chemically separated from the extracted ore.This is the first post in a series that highlight this worst of the worst practice --  — and the mining companies who continue to do it. For more information about the problem on a global scale, check out our infographic.

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, tailings


Save Dory’s Home

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By Shreema Mehta

July 5, 2016

You may be one of the millions of people who have seen Finding Dory.

In the movie, the spunky Dory is looking for her home. But what if that home is buried in toxic mine waste?

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Tagged with: mining, tailings, oceans


Mine disaster in Kazakhstan

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By Shreema Mehta

June 20, 2016

Pollution from a zinc  mine waste dump in the mining town of Ridder, Kazakhstan, spilled into the Ulba and Filippovka rivers, which flows near the Kazakhstan-Russian border, and headed toward the Siberian city of Omsk. Pictures of the polluted river look like freshwater was replaced by wet concrete.

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Tagged with: tailings, tailings dam, icmm, siberia, glencore, kazakhstan


Save Dory’s Home

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By Shreema Mehta

June 14, 2016

Later this week, the animated film Finding Dory will be in theaters, and I am excited to see it. But far less exciting are the threats that industrial mining poses to the real-life Dory's habitat.

The lovable Dory is a blue tang - a royal blue tropical fish that lives in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, where mining companies are dumping mine waste.

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Tagged with: mining, tailings, submarine tailings disposal, oceans


Victory: Mexico Seabed Mining Project Scrapped

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By Shreema Mehta

May 13, 2016

Coastal communities living in Baja California Sur, Mexico, achieved a huge victory recently in blocking an offshore mining project -- one of several proposed projects to dredge up minerals from the sea.

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Tagged with: mexico, offshore, deep sea mining, seabed mining, don diego, offshore mining, phosphate, turtle, endangered


Sirens for Mariana, Brazil

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By Fabiana Alves

May 6, 2016

Greenpeace has joined the #UmMinutoDeSirene collective to mark the six months passed since the tragedy that killed 19 people, an entire river, and also left a trail of destruction from the state of Minas Gerais to the beaches of Espírito Santo in Brazil.

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Tagged with: mining, tailings, brazil, tailings dam failure


Conga No Va! Newmont mothballs Conga mine as Máxima wins Goldman Prize

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By Payal Sampat

April 18, 2016

This week we’re celebrating two momentous wins for environmental justice and human rights in Peru.

First, we’re toasting the victory of Máxima Acuña de Chaupe, a subsistence farmer from the Andean highlands of northern Peru, who has been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her brave stand against Newmont, the mining company that has tried to evict her from her land to build the giant Conga gold and copper mine.

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Tagged with: mining, peru, newmont, conga, maxima, goldman prize, maxima acuna de chaupe


Victory! No Lawsuit for Norway Mining Activists

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By Tina Andersen Vågenes

April 11, 2016

In February, more than 100 people participated in civil disobedience actions to stop test drilling on the Engebø Mountain, near Førdefjord in Western Norway. Over 80 people were arrested and fined a total 100 000 pounds. The three-week action lasted three weeks was in protest of Nordic Mining’s controversial mining project, which would allow 250 million tons of mining tailings to be disposed of in the fjord.

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Tagged with: mining, tailings, protests, norway, fjords


Community rallies to oppose mine waste dumping in Norwegian Fjords

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By Shreema Mehta

March 7, 2016

Norway is a country known for both its affluence and progressive policies. But despite its sterling reputation, its government makes a highly destructive allowance to the mining industry: it permits mining operations to allow the direct dumping of toxic mine waste into the country’s famous fjords.

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Tagged with: mining, tailings, norway, fjords


No More Mine Waste Spills in 2016

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By Shreema Mehta

January 20, 2016

Last year, some of the world’s largest mining companies failed to control the massive dams in which they store the toxic waste that’s left over when minerals such as gold are extracted from ore. The result was spills that polluted rivers in Canada, Mexico and Brazil. 2016 must be the year that the world responds to the growing threat of toxic tailings dams — a ticking time bomb that has in fact, gone off several times last year.

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Are we going to sit back and wait for the next mine waste disaster?

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By Jennifer Krill

December 22, 2015

“If the dam had collapsed at night, everyone would have died”.

These chilling words came from Duarte Junior, a mayor of a city downstream from Samarco mine waste dam that failed last month in Minas Gerais, a state in southwestern Brazil.

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Tagged with: mining, tailings, spills, brazil, tailings dam failure


Brazil Mine Spill: Enough is Enough

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By Shreema Mehta

November 10, 2015

Yet another mine failure has caused yet another spill — this time with fatalities.

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Tagged with: tailings, mine waste, bhp billiton, brazil, mount polley, vale


The Dangers of Deep Sea Mining

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By Shreema Mehta

September 28, 2015

For the mining industry, technological advances have made the world’s oceans the new frontier. Both companies and governments have started exploration and even tout deep-sea mining as a safer alternative to the problems caused by mineral extraction. But they do so in the absence of any scientific consensus on the long-term impacts of deep-sea mining.

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Tagged with: papua new guinea, deep sea, nautilus, png, seabed, solwara


UNEP must act to avoid mine waste disasters

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By Shreema Mehta

August 31, 2015

One year ago in August, a mine waste dam failed. The breach sent 24.4 million cubic meters of a liquefied mixture of toxic heavy metals and other chemicals into the Fraser River watershed in British Columbia, Canada. To help prevent further toxic catastrophes, over 3 dozen environmental and social justice groups including Earthworks, Friends of the Earth, and Greenpeace sent a letter today to the United Nations Environment Programme urging the agency to call for global review and regulations to address threats posed by similar dams at existing and proposed mines around the world. As the global authority on environmental protection, UNEP can not only bring much-needed attention to this problem, but also develop international guidelines and assist countries to respond to this growing threat.

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Tagged with: tailings, canada, tailings dam, mexico, mount polley, unep, dams


Why we’re telling the Responsible Jewellery Council to clean up or shut down

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By Shreema Mehta

July 28, 2015

Last week, we blogged about a Peruvian news investigation that linked American and European companies to illegal and destructive gold mining in the Amazon rainforest.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, jewelry, responsible jewellery council, certification, amazon


The Jewelry Industry’s Role in Illegal Amazon Destruction

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By Shreema Mehta

June 29, 2015

A recently published investigative report by Peruvian investigative news site OjoPúblico traced some of the dirtiest gold  — illegally extracted, mercury processed gold from the Amazon — to large American and European companies — including two certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council, a controversial, industry-exclusive gold and diamonds certification system.

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Tagged with: gold, peru, jewelry, certification, rjc, responsible jewellry council, amazon


Deep Sea Mining Faces First Legal Challenge

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By Samantha Buchalter

June 22, 2015

The mining industry has set its sights on a new frontier – the deep sea. Seabed or deep-sea mining involves extracting minerals from hydrothermal vents, manganese nodules and cobalt crusts on the ocean’s floor. In just the past five years, the number of seabed mining permits granted by the International Seabed Authority has tripled, to a total of 26 – and counting. But while permits are granted at a rapid clip, we still have too little understanding of deep-sea mining’s ultimate impacts.

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Tagged with: mining, deep sea, ocean, nautilus, sea


EU Votes for Strong Conflict Minerals Regulation

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By Shreema Mehta

May 28, 2015

In a surprising turn of events, last week, the European Union voted 402 to 118 to pass a law requiring companies to certify to the government that the minerals they source do not fuel violent conflict and human rights abuses, a piece of legislation that parallels –and improves on -- the US Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.

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Tagged with: conflict minerals, congo, drc, europe, eu


Support Mothers Fighting Dirty Gold Mining!

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By Payal Sampat

May 8, 2015

Happy Mother’s Day! 

Large scale, industrial mining disproportionately impacts women.

So they’re often on the frontlines, fighting dirty mining projects and demanding responsible behavior from mining companies. Perhaps because they’re fighting for their children’s future, these women are often moms.

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Tagged with: mining, conga, maxima, mothers day


From Cajamarca to Wilmington: Why we went to Newmont’s Shareholder Meeting

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By Shreema Mehta

May 5, 2015

Mirtha Vasquez, an attorney based in Cajamarca, Peru, has two young kids and a full caseload protecting communities from irresponsible mining activity in the mineral-rich Andean region. Yet she made the long trip to Wilmington, DE to join Earthrights International and Earthworks to attend Newmont’s Mining Company’s annual shareholders’ meeting. Together, we called on CEO Gary Goldberg to address the armed repression of protesters, untreated pollution, threats to water availability and other issues of concern to communities in the area.

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Tagged with: gold, peru, newmont, conga, yanacocha, cajamarca


Xeni Gwet’in Mining Activist Wins Goldman Environmental Prize

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By Payal Sampat

April 20, 2015

We are thrilled to join the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world's largest prize for grassroots environmental activism, in honoring Xeni Gwet’in leader Marilyn Baptiste of British Columbia, Canada for her work to stop Taseko Mines' proposed Prosperity gold and copper mine.

We are thrilled to join the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world's largest award for grassroots environmental activism, in honoring Xeni Gwet’in leader Marilyn Baptiste of British Columbia, Canada for her work to stop Taseko Mines' proposed Prosperity gold and copper mine.

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Tagged with: mining, indigenous, canada, goldman prize, fish lake, first nations, marilyn baptiste


Stand with the Woman who Stood Up to Mining Industry Bullying

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By Shreema Mehta

February 12, 2015

Just  over a week ago, on February 3rd, police and security officers backed by Newmont invaded the Máxima Acuña Chaupe's  home to prevent her from making repairs to her house. Officers even destroyed parts of her home.  This was the third such invasion of her land in 2015 itself. We ask you to take action against Newmont and for sanctioning this violence.

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Tagged with: peru, newmont, conga, ifc, yanacocha, maxima acuna de chaupe


Update: Peruvian farmer harassed after lawsuit win against Newmont

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By Shreema Mehta

February 4, 2015

After being beaten, robbed and sentenced to prison for fighting to protect her property, Maxima finally got justice against mining behemoth Newmont two months ago. But despite the victory, police harassment, backed by the mining company, has not stopped.

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Tagged with: peru, newmont, conga, maxima, yanacocha, cajamarca, lawsuit, property rights, land rights


Newmont-backed Gabriel Resources Won’t Let Democracy Stop it from Mining

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By Shreema Mehta

January 22, 2015

Rather than accept unfavorable government decisions, such as a permit denial, some companies are suing countries under investment agreements that allow them to “seek international arbitration” in publicly inaccessible World Bank tribunals. Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources, which has the backing of US giant Newmont, is the latest mining company to resort to this tactic. Gabriel is threatening to sue the Romanian government if it does not get approval for its proposed Rosia Montana open-pit gold mine.

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Tagged with: world bank, gabriel resources, romania, investor risk, rosia montana, investors, investment, investor


2014 Year-End Mining Industry Scorecard

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By Payal Sampat

December 31, 2014

During these last few hours of 2014, it's a perfect time to reflect on the signs of hope and the abject fails provided by the multinational mining industry.

We leave it to you, dear reader, to decide whether the good outweighs the bad or vice versa.

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, irma, mount polley


Peruvian farmer wins land rights dispute against Newmont

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By Shreema Mehta

December 19, 2014

Máxima Acuña has been beaten, robbed and sentenced to prison for fighting to protect her property from mining behemoth Newmont. But last week, she finally got justice.

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Tagged with: gold, peru, newmont, conga, yanacocha, cajamarca


Criminal Charges for Mine Waste Dumping in Alaska

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By Shreema Mehta

November 24, 2014

Mine wastewater is nasty stuff – so much so that this week, a mining company was criminally charged for dumping it into water. While XS Platinum is being indicted, other mining companies around the world routinely dump toxic mine wastewater into rivers, lakes and oceans.

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Tagged with: mining, alaska, tailings


More Mine Waste Spills in Mexico: Where’s the Oversight?

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By Shreema Mehta

November 6, 2014

A few weeks ago, yet another mine spilled toxic waste into rivers in Mexico, this time in the northern state of Sinaloa – the third reported mine waste spill since August.

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Tagged with: tailings, mine waste, mexico, baja california sur, rivers


Mine Waste Pollutes More Rivers in Mexico

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By Shreema Mehta

August 27, 2014

Mexico has been hit hard these past few weeks with two separate mine waste spills. One was a toxic mine spill that occurred two weeks ago in the state of Sonora, which I blogged about previously. Here, 10 million gallons of sulfuric acid spilled from the Buenavista copper mine, contaminating two rivers and leaving thousands of people without access to water. Reports also found fish kills and cattle who drank the water dead. Just a week after, a tailings spill contaminated a river in Durango.

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Tagged with: water pollution, tailings, mexico


Another Orange River, Another Toxic Spill

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By Shreema Mehta

August 13, 2014

Just a week after the Mount Polley disaster, another mine waste spill has occurred, this time from a copper mine in Mexico. About 10 million gallons of toxic mine waste spilled from the Buenavista mine into nearby rivers. Water restrictions have been imposed on thousands of people.

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Tagged with: tailings, mine waste, pollution, latin america, spill, mexico, sonora


Earthworks Joins Brief to Peru Court Challenging Conga

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By Shreema Mehta

July 24, 2014

This week, Earthworks joined Earthrights International and the Center for International Environmental Law in filing an amicus curiae [friend of the court brief] to the Peruvian Constitutional Court in support of Grufides' case.

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, peru, conga


Coming Soon: A New Standard for More Responsible Mining

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By Shreema Mehta

July 22, 2014

Earthworks is part of a multistakeholder group working to develop the world's first certification system for more responsible mining. Today, the group releases the first draft of the standards for public comment. Here's a message from the committee about these groundbreaking standards.

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Tagged with: certification, irma, standards


Workers, Rivers, Mines: Mt Lyell in Tasmania

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By Shreema Mehta

June 23, 2014

The Mt Lyell mine in Tasmania, Australia, with its controversial track record of worker fatalities and river pollution, plans to restart operations at the end of June 2014.

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Tagged with: mining, water pollution, copper, australia, worker safety


Police brutally dismantle peaceful mining resistance in Guatemala

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By Shreema Mehta

June 19, 2014

Since March 2012, community members of  San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc have sustained a blockade of El Tambor gold mine in Guatemala. Known as “La Puya,” they have successfully blocked development of the mine despite repeated harassment, eviction attempts and even violence.

In May 2014, Guatemalan police officers laid siege to La Puya, standing guard as contractors of Kappes, Cassidy & Associates, the US company that currently holds the concession to the mine, brought in mining equipment.

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Tagged with: mining, human rights, fpic, protests, guatemala


US companies to come clean on minerals sourcing

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By Shreema Mehta

May 28, 2014

Next week marks a significant milestone in the effort to eliminate the brutal conflict minerals trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has funded armed insurgents responsible for mass murder and rape for the past twenty years.June 2 is the deadline for companies to comply with the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals legislation, and file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosing whether the tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold they have purchased have fueled conflict in the region.

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Tagged with: conflict minerals, sec, congo, drc, dodd frank, conflict gold


Moms Lead the Charge Against Dirty Gold Mining

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By Payal Sampat

May 9, 2014

It’s almost Mother’s Day! Whatever your feelings about manufactured holidays, it’s always a good idea to give thanks to mom. So call her, take her out to lunch, send her (fair trade) flowers, or have your kids make her a handmade card.

But think twice before buying her a shiny piece of gold bling. Mother’s Day is the second largest gold-jewelry buying day of the year in the United States. But many of us buying jewelry for our moms may unknowingly be hurting mothers and children who live in places where the gold is mined. Producing enough gold for a 0.3 ounce gold band generates 20 tons of mine waste — much of which is contaminated with chemicals such as cyanide or mercury. Massive pollution, huge open pits, devastating community health effects, worker dangers and, in many cases, human rights abuses have become hallmarks of gold and metals mining in countries such as Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, Guatemala and parts of the United States.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, mothers day


Over 80 groups sign statement opposing intimidation and forced displacement of mining protesters in Peru

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By Payal Sampat

April 24, 2014

This week, Newmont Mining Co. held its annual shareholders’ meeting.

As it has done for the past several years, the event took place at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware, more than a thousand miles from its headquarters in Colorado, and far from the protesters and media attention that typified its meetings when they were held in downtown Denver. 

But despite keeping its shareholder meeting under wraps, Newmont has not escaped either controversy or protesters.

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Tagged with: gold mining, human rights, peru, newmont, water, fpic, conga, cajamarca


Colombia moves to protect wilderness rapidly threatened by mining

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By Shreema Mehta

April 17, 2014

Here's some good news: Colombia recently announced the quadrupling in size of a protected wilderness area, the Santurban Regional National Park.  The expansion is intended to protect the unique high-altitude páramo ecosystem from large-scale mining and other extractive development. Home to both the Amazon and the páramos, Colombia is a country rich in biodiversity.

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Tagged with: mining, protected areas, colombia, santurban, paramo


Gold mining threatens historical site in Georgia

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By Samantha Hoilett

April 8, 2014

We’ve blogged a great deal about the mining industry’s social and environmental impacts. Now, in the country of Georgia, a mining company threatens a cultural heritage site – one that can shed more light on the origin of all humans.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, georgia


To Restore Olympic Shine, Start with the Medals

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By Payal Sampat

March 4, 2014

The Sochi Games couldn’t have gone much better for Vladimir Putin. He has successfully used the prestige of the Olympics to bolster his reputation in Russia—all while blanketing concerns like gay rights, free speech and corruption under a layer of wet Sochi snow. (Though his intervention in Ukraine may dwarf all). For the reputation of the Olympics, however, the Sochi Games leave a mixed legacy. The world is now wondering whether the Olympics, a showcase for values like excellence and fair play, are as morally agnostic as they seem.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, dirty gold, olympics


This Valentine’s Day, Say NO to Dirty Gold

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By Alan Septoff

February 12, 2014

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Whatever your stance on consumerism or manufactured holidays, it’s one of the biggest gift giving days of the year.  Millions of people in the United States and around the world will be expressing their love with gifts.

According to National Jeweler, 20 percent of these gift-givers will be giving jewelry, and they’ll spend $4 billion doing so. Unfortunately, much of this Valentine’s Day jewelry is tarnished with dirty gold that's tarnished by human rights abuses and pollution.

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, bristol bay, jewelry retailers, conga, valentine's day


Papua New Guinea Court Demands Cleanup at Mine

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By Shreema Mehta

February 4, 2014

It's remarkable to think about the things irresponsible mining companies get away with -- particularly in isolated and developing parts of the world.  For example, mining companies regularly dump toxic mine waste directly into the world's rivers, lakes and oceans – killing wildlife, contaminating drinking water and destroying livelihoods in the process. But recently, the tiny Pacific Island nation of Papua New Guinea, said: enough is enough. PNG's National Court ordered the huge Ok Tedi mine, formerly run by BHP Billiton, to stop dumping mine waste into the river.

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Tagged with: papua new guinea, troubled waters, png


An update from the field on the Conga Mine

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By Ross Geredien

January 30, 2014

I spent nearly a week in Peru’s Cajamarca region in spring of 2013 investigating the controversy around the proposed Conga Mine, which sits atop a plateau nearly 4,000 meters above sea level north of the city of Cajamarca, Perú. The plateau is a massive dome of uplifted metamorphic and sedimentary rock rich valuable minerals like gold, copper and molybdenum.  Lower in elevation than other parts of the Peruvian Andes, however, the area lacks snow and ice.  The hydrology instead is rain-fed, nourishing high-altitude grasslands called jalgas, as well as alpine lakes and wetlands, or bofedales.  These lakes and wetlands are the headwaters of all the streams, rivers, and drinking water for the surrounding areas, including most of Cajamarca’s 250,000 residents.

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Tagged with: mining, peru, conga


Selling Opposition to a Gold Mine to Santa Fe, New Mexico

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By Marc Choyt

January 29, 2014

When I learned last July of a proposed gold mine just south of my home in Santa Fe, I brought a group together and started a campaign. Earthworks offered support early; and last week, we published a study, Public Risk, Private Reward: an analysis of the Ortiz Gold Mine proposal. This report was part of a broader strategy—it followed my editorial in our local paper in September and the Stop Santa Fe Gold Facebook page. We needed to frame how public risk outweighs economic benefit.

I also made sure people knew I am a real Santa Fe jeweler and business man, a winner of sustainability awards. The selling of the opposition to a gold mine had to be rational, focused mainly on human impact, and tied to the bottom line. In a drought stricken region, the mine may consume the annual water supply of up to 7,000 homes, drain acid into the groundwater for generations and [Ortiz_map] create a massive tailing heap.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, jewelers


Retailers for Responsible Mining: Toby Pomeroy

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By Shreema Mehta

January 28, 2014

Earthworks' No Dirty Gold campaign is encouraged by growing consumer awareness of the importance of responsibly mined gold. We also appreciate the many retailers who are steadily building a market for ethical jewelry.

We continue our series interviewing NDG retailers, with Toby Pomeroy, who started jewelry making in college and built a business committed to ethical sourcing.

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


Mongolian Mining Activist Imprisoned

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By Shreema Mehta

January 23, 2014

Last November, I wrote about T.S. Munkhbayar, a community leader in Mongolia whose efforts to protect his country from an explosion in mining helped spur the long-overdue regulation of mining companies. Munkhbayar was arrested then during a protest to proposed amendments to repeal these regulations.

Recently we heard the sad news that Munkhbayar and his fellow protesters have been sentenced to 21 years each for the accidental (the arresting officer is on record as acknowledging this) discharge of a weapon and the possession of guns (which is not unusual in Mongolia) at the protest, under the charge of terrorism.

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Tagged with: mining, dirty gold, mongolia


Intel Goes Conflict Free

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By Shreema Mehta

January 15, 2014

Intel, the company that essentially makes the world run with its microprocessors, recently made a game-changing announcement at a Las Vegas electronics convention: this year, it would phase out all "conflict minerals"  from its microprocessors.

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Tagged with: mining, dirty gold, conflict minerals, congo, dodd-frank


A New Victory in Rosia Montana

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By Shreema Mehta

December 11, 2013

Our partners in Romania shared some good news with us yesterday: The Romanian Parliament rejected legal amendments that would have paved the way for the development of the proposed Rosia Montana mine by Canadian-owned Gabriel Resources. If built, the residents of Rosia Montana would have to be forcibly resettled because the mine would destroy the entire town.

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Tagged with: romania, rosia montana


Call for a Fair and Transparent Trial for Mongolian Mining Activists

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By Shreema Mehta

November 27, 2013

Last month, a group of Mongolian community activists led by Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2007, were arrested outside the Mongolian Parliament. They were at the Parliament protesting proposals to abolish mining regulations that would protect the country’s waterways from decades of destruction from irresponsible mining companies operating in a regulation-free environment. The activists were arrested after the accidental firing of a gun, according to Mongolian police.

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Tagged with: gold, mongolia


Romania Votes “No” on Rosia Montana Open-Pit Mine

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By Payal Sampat

November 12, 2013

Good news: The Romanian parliament rejected the proposed Rosia Montana open-pit gold mine on Monday, after months of protests on the streets of Bucharest and around the world. As we've blogged about before, this mine proposal epitomizes “dirty gold” for many reasons.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, romania, rosia montana, gabriel


Fish More Valuable than Copper: The EPA’s Decision on Bristol Bay

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By Aaron Mintzes

November 5, 2013

Bristol Bay, Alaska is home to the world’s largest commercial sockeye salmon fishery. Tens of millions of salmon return annually to spawn there where runs of King Salmon and Rainbow Trout comprise an essential part of an Arctic ecosystem alongside caribou, moose, grizzlies, and wolves. In addition to the spectacular wildlife, the Bristol Bay community supports considerable economic activity tied to a sustainable way of life for the Native residents spanning at least 4000 years.

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Tagged with: epa, bristol bay, pebble mine, clean water act, 404c, pebble limited partnership


Retailers for Responsible Mining: Johanna Mejía

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By Shreema Mehta

October 24, 2013

The No Dirty Gold campaign calls on retailers, from large department stores to small businesses, to sign the “Golden Rules,” pledging to commit to more responsible metals sourcing. Thus far, 94 retailers have signed on to the Golden Rules, and the list continues to grow. This is one of a series of occasional interviews in which we ask retailers about why they signed the pledge and how they work to implement the Golden Rules in their business. Note that the views expressed by retailers do not necessarily reflect the view of Earthworks.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, retailers, small scale mining, colombia


Why Anglo walked away from the planet’s richest undeveloped gold deposit

Jennifer Krill's avatar
By Jennifer Krill

September 27, 2013

The BusinessWeek story asks Why Miners Walked Away From the Planet's Richest Undeveloped Gold Deposit and partly answers its own question.

We appreciate the shout-out. But we also want to make it clear that the Bristol Bay Protection pledge and market pressure from the No Dirty Gold campaign are just one part of a broad effort in which dozens of tribes, conservation groups, and business played a part. Credit is due to this diverse coalition of Native Alaskans, commercial and recreational fishermen, chefs, students, and many others.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, bristol bay, anglo american, pebble, cynthia carroll, northern dyansty


Anglo American Pulls out of Pebble Mine

Shreema Mehta's avatar
By Shreema Mehta

September 16, 2013

Big news today -- Anglo-American canceled its investment in the Pebble copper and gold mine project in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The departure is great news for anyone who cares about preserving natural wilderness, but most of all for Alaska Native communities who depend on the Bristol Bay watershed for their livelihoods.

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Tagged with: gold, bristol bay, pebble mine, alaska, salmon


Of vampires and a zombie mine in Transylvania

Payal Sampat's avatar
By Payal Sampat

September 8, 2013

Transylvania, Romania, is known for its fictional vampires – this is the region where Bram Stoker set his classic vampire novel, Dracula, in 1897.  Over a century later, the region is threatened not by fictional vampires but a very real –and far scarier –monster: the Rosia  Montana mine.

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Tagged with: mining, dirty gold, newmont, fpic, gabriel resources, protest, rosia montana


Interview: Retailers for Responsible Mining

Shreema Mehta's avatar
By Shreema Mehta

September 5, 2013

Earthworks' No Dirty Gold campaign is encouraged by growing consumer awareness of the importance of responsibly mined gold. We also appreciate the many retailers who are steadily building a market for ethical jewelry.

Earthworks asks retailers, from large department stores to small businesses, to sign the No Dirty Gold pledge, and source their gold products exclusively from mines who uphold the Golden Rules  for responsible mining. We are heartened to see that 93 retailers have made a commitment to improved standards in gold.

This is a first in a series of blog post-interview with NDG retailers, about why they signed on to the Golden Rules and how they implement their values of sustainability in their business. Here we interview Brian Leber, one of the first signatories.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, golden rules, jewelry


Victory! Court Upholds Conflict Minerals Rule

Shreema Mehta's avatar
By Shreema Mehta

July 29, 2013

If you believe corporate accountability for human rights violations is a good thing, you'll love this news: Industry interest groups looking to tie up the Dodd Frank conflict minerals rule in court lost. This week, a federal court upheld the SEC rule that requires corporations to publicly disclose whether the minerals they source have helped finance armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

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Tagged with: international, conflict minerals, congo, dodd frank


Disclose- Just not Publicly: API Prevails in Suit Over Dodd Frank Transparency Rule

Aaron Mintzes's avatar
By Aaron Mintzes

July 3, 2013

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed in 2010. Section 1504 of that law required the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) to issue rules compelling companies that extract oil, natural gas, or minerals to publish payments they make to governments. The purpose here was to lift what is known as the “resource curse”- where some of the most mineral rich nations suffer with some of the poorest populations. The solution: shine the light of transparency on nations led by regimes where mineral riches go to only multinational corporations and corrupt government officials who exploit their indigenous populations.

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Tagged with: sec, 1504, dodd frank, eiti, api, useiti


Industry Interest Group Delays Conflict Minerals Rule

Shreema Mehta's avatar
By Shreema Mehta

July 3, 2013

In 2010, in response to unspeakable atrocities from the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congress did a powerful thing: It passed Section 1502 of the Dodds Frank Act,which requires companies to investigate and disclose whether they source minerals from this region for their products, and whether this sourcing contributed funds to armed groups.

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Tagged with: gold, conflict minerals, congo, dodd frank, tin


Jewelers Risk Tarnishing their Jewelry with ‘Responsible’ Jewellery Council certification

Shreema Mehta's avatar
By Shreema Mehta

May 31, 2013

This weekend, jewelers from around the world will gather in Las Vegas for the Jewelry Circular Keystone (JCK) conference, where they will attend jewelry exhibits, discuss the latest industry trends and even see Maroon 5 live.

What does this have to do with us -- and with you?

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Tagged with: mining, gold, jewelry, rjc, diamond


Mining Company Works to Remove Legal Protections for Sumatran Rainforest

Shreema Mehta's avatar
By Shreema Mehta

May 9, 2013

What happens when more than a million hectares of protected Sumatran rainforest stand in the way of mining development? For East Asia Minerals Corporation, the answer is to remove those protections.

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Tagged with: international, indonesia, biodiversity


AZ Legislators Seek to Give Sacred Apache Land to International Mining Companies

Aaron Mintzes's avatar
By Aaron Mintzes

February 15, 2013

Earlier this week Senators McCain and Flake, along with Representatives Gosar and Kirkpatrick, introduced the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013 (HR 687). The bill’s purpose is to facilitate a copper mine in federally protected lands east of Superior, Arizona. This bill, similar to the version in the 112th Congress, has been debated for years. The sticking point boils down to whether international mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton should dig for copper destroying areas sacred to the Apache Tribe and enjoyed by campers, climbers, and other recreationalists.

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Tagged with: oak flat, rio tinto, apache leap, resolution copper, land exchange


President Obama Selects REI Executive Sally Jewell as Next Interior Secretary

Aaron Mintzes's avatar
By Aaron Mintzes

February 6, 2013

Today, President Obama announced his choice to replace Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior. The President picked Sally Jewell, the current head of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI). REI is a well-known retail outfitter based in Seattle, Washington. The President had a number of excellent options available to him and we salute the selection of Ms. Jewell. If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Jewell will face a number of critical decisions related to the competing interests of expanding oil and gas development on public lands while preserving those lands for future generations.

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Tagged with: obama, doi, department of interior, sally jewell, interior


The Haile Gold Mine, the Loopholes, the Permitting, and the Push Eastward

Aaron Mintzes's avatar
By Aaron Mintzes

January 17, 2013

The Haile Mine near Kershaw, South Carolina first struck gold in 1827. Back then, the Carolinas lead the nation in gold mining until California’s 1849 Gold Rush drove our Manifest Destiny westward. Since then, most hardrock mining has occurred in the Mountain West where large tracts of public land allow mining companies to remove America’s precious metals for free under the 1872 mining law.

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Tagged with: mining reform, clean water act, loopholes, 1872, permitting, haile


We Stand with the People of El Salvador

Hilary Lewis's avatar
By Hilary Lewis

November 13, 2012

Yesterday I helped deliver a letter to the Canadian Embassy here in Washington, DC, about the lawsuit against the Central American country of El Salvador, by Pacific Rim Mining Corporation. The letter was coordinated by the Institute for Policy Studies and signed by Friends of the Earth, Center for International Environmental Law, Public Citizen, Sierra Club Greenpeace, Earth Island Institute and Foundation Earth (along with Earthworks).

Pacific Rim is a Canadian mining company exploring for gold in the mineral rich mountains of El Salvador. It is no surprise to geologists that Pacific Rim believes they can strike it rich there. Billions of dollars rich.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, fpic, el salvador, pacific rim, icsid


Extractive Industries Fail to See Their Way through Transparency

Aaron Mintzes's avatar
By Aaron Mintzes

November 2, 2012

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an international effort to provide a robust yet flexible standard for disclosing revenues paid to governments from oil, gas, and mining companies for the people’s valuable minerals. What’s unique about EITI is the process. Rather than some international institution or government ordaining regulations, EITI establishes a collaborative process involving representatives from industry, government, and regular folks who through consensus develop the right transparency rules to fit the society.

Follow The Money

The EITI road is a two way street. Industry publishes the taxes, royalties, and other payments they make to governments. And governments disclose the money they receive. This transparency is especially critical in developing regions of the world where riches under the ground have led to enormous conflict, corruption, and strife. For wealthier nations, the transparency standards create greater certainty and reassurance for investors and stronger accountability for elected officials. Right now, the United States is vetting nominees to serve on our own EITI working group.

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Tagged with: conflict minerals, sec, dodd-frank, extractive industries, eiti


Greenland: The Final Frontier

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By Christine Kiely

September 28, 2012

On an average summer, about half of the ice cover of Greenland thaws at its surface. This July, 97% of the surface ice of Greenland melted.

The first days of autumn are often a time to reflect on the fruits of summer, and these recent events in Greenland require nothing less.

China, which currently controls 90% of the world’s rare earth metals, reported in June that it is serious about acquiring new deposits, and is looking to Greenland.

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Tagged with: mining, climate change, rare earths, greenland


The Critical Minerals Debate: Silencing Community Voices to Ease International Markets

Aaron Mintzes's avatar
By Aaron Mintzes

September 14, 2012

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is set to consider rare earth mineral legislation possibly as soon as this month. The bill, S. 1113, the Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2012, resulted from careful negotiations between the committee’s chairman and ranking member incorporating many ideas offered by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senator Mark Udall (D-CO). Bipartisanship is at a premium in this town and the value of producing sensible and balanced policy is worth more than the minerals this bill intends to promote.

S. 1113 directs the Secretary of Interior to designate 10 critical minerals and develop and implement a series of studies and comprehensive regulatory reviews related to every aspect of the public input and environmental permitting process. This includes requiring the Secretary to create specific performance metrics designed to measure reductions in permit times for each stage of critical mineral mining operations. Studies are good. And government efficiency is too. The problem is that heavy-handed mandated reductions in permit approval times will reduce the ability of communities impacted by mining to voice their concerns.

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Tagged with: critical minerals, strategic minerals, rare earth, murkowski, s.1113,


Citizens United: Enviros Target the Oil-agarchy

Aaron Mintzes's avatar
By Aaron Mintzes

August 31, 2012

We all know the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission already has and will continue to have a dramatic effect on our elections. Even if we don’t follow politics but live in any swing state, we know the effect well: more political ads, more vitriol, more mud and negativity, less disclosure, accountability, and honesty. Citizens United tells us that corporations are people and money is speech.

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Tagged with: democracy, elections, citizen united


Sunshine for the Dodd-Frank Act?

Hilary Lewis's avatar
By Hilary Lewis

August 16, 2012

On August 22, 2012, over a year after the deadline given by Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) will have a meeting to discuss the implementation of Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The Sunshine Act Meeting is open to public and will, amongst other things, finalize controversial rules regulating the responsibility companies have to consumers to disclose whether or not their products contain conflict minerals.

Conflict minerals, in terms of the Dodd-Frank Act, are gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten, elements that are commonly used in the production of electronics, jewelry, and automobiles. They are called conflict minerals because revenues and trade in these minerals have also financed wars, armed conflict, and human rights violations in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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Tagged with: mining, conflict minerals, sec, dodd-frank, 1502


Conga No Va: A Ground-Level View of the Mining Conflict in Northern Peru

By EARTHWORKS

July 10, 2012

CAJAMARCA, PERU –– “Um, I think we have to find another place to meet,” I shouted into the phone on the morning of the Fourth of July.  I was supposed to meet a local professor in the downtown Plaza de Armas here in Cajamarca, Peru, but at our designated meeting time, police were throwing tear gas into the plaza, and I saw them kicking and beating people who were slow (or too defiant) to move out of the way.

I’m here researching mining conflicts – reading, observing, and interviewing protestors, government officials, NGO staff, community members, and other stakeholders. On Tuesday night, July 3, a State of Emergency was declared here in the city of Cajamarca and two neighboring provinces of Celendín and Bambamarca after clashes between police and anti-mining protestors turned fatal.  In Peru, a State of Emergency suspends certain constitutional rights such as freedom of assembly, gives police power to arrest without warrant, and gives the armed forces a frighteningly broad mandate to help the police maintain order.  That evening, tear gas and violence swept through downtown Cajamarca, as described by OnEarth Magazine’s George Black.  Many activists interpret the crackdown as a piece of a bigger puzzle: the criminalization of social protest in Peru.

 

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Tagged with: mining, peru, newmont, conga, violence, protests


Environmental activist arrested and brutalized for opposing Newmont’s Conga gold mine

Payal Sampat's avatar
By Payal Sampat

July 5, 2012

What is going on in Peru?

On July 4, riot police in Peru surrounded Father Marco Arana, a Catholic priest and human rights and environmental activist, as he sat peacefully on a bench Cajamarca’s town square.  The police officers proceeded to kick, punch and beat Father Marco,  forcing him to the ground and surrounding him – all of which was captured on cell phone video cameras and immediately posted online. He was then arrested and forcibly taken to the police station, where we learned through his Twitter feed, he continued to be beaten and brutalized.
 

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Tagged with: mining, gold, peru, conga


Earthworks Joins Groups Calling Electronics Companies to Break from US Chamber on Conflict Minerals

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

June 28, 2012

Today Earthworks joined Global Witness, Enough Project, and a group of other organizations calling for electronics companies to break from the US Chamber of Commerce for its stance of conflict minerals. The Chamber continues to pressure decision makers to overturn a key section of the Dodd-Frank Act designed to curb the deadly trade of conflict minerals from eastern Congo. The minerals covered under the 1502 provision of the Dodd-Frank Act are commonplace in most all electronics, and increasingly in the automotive industry.

Recently, electronics giants Microsoft, General Electric, and Motorola Solutions rebuked the Chamber’s opposition of 1502 by announcing they do not support its stance against the conflict mineral provision. These companies have come to realize the role they can play in breaking the link between the global trade in minerals and violence in eastern DRC. It’s time for the rest of the electronics industry to follow suit; not to mention the jewelry and automotive industry that have yet to distance themselves from The Chambers opposition to the conflict mineral rule in the Dodd-Frank Act.

You can read the entire press release after the jump

 

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Tagged with: human rights, conflict minerals, congo, media, 1502, dodd frank, electronics


New Report: Murders of Environmental Activists on the Rise

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

June 26, 2012

Last week Global Witness released the report, A Hidden Crisis?, documenting the murders of environmental activists around the world. The report examines reported killings of journalist, activists, and community members that have been killed because of their involvement in the defense of the environment. Spanning back to 2002, the report finds that 711 people have been killed in the last decade, or more than one person a week. The report paints a stark picture of the threats community members are facing as the mining industry, logging, and cattle ranching look to develop new lands. Killings have skyrocketed in the past years. Global Witness reports that there were over 106 murders in 2011 alone.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, human rights, mexico, guatemala


Deja Vu: Newmont’s annual meeting held amidst growing mine conflicts and clean water fights

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

April 26, 2012

Yesterday I attended Newmont Mining Co.’s annual shareholder meeting. The meeting took place in a small hotel banquet room in a Wilmington, DE hotel. The Denver-based company has held its annual meeting here ever since 2007 after meeting in Denver became a lightening rod for annual protests against their irresponsible mining operations. However, while Newmont may have hidden away from protestors outside their meetings, they continue to face criticism inside their shareholder meeting.

Earthworks went up to the meeting to voice our concerns regarding Newmont’s continued lack of a robust community consultation and a free prior and informed consent (FPIC) policy for their mine projects, most recently at their proposed Minas Conga project in Peru. Here’s our statement and question to the Newmont Board of Directors:

 

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Tagged with: gold, dirty gold, peru, newmont, water, fpic, conga, latin america, agm, consent


House Majority Pushes USA to Mine More Like the Chinese

Aaron Mintzes's avatar
By Aaron Mintzes

April 24, 2012

The House Majority recently introduced HR 4402 a bill called the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012.  The authors cleverly spell out the purported purpose in a series of whereas clauses that form the bill’s preamble.  Ostensibly, the problem wants to solve is a dearth of domestic production of so-called rare earth or critical minerals.  These minerals consist mainly of those elements in the bottom two rows of the periodic table and have varied applications in electronics, hybrid technology, renewable energy, and defense industries.

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Tagged with: critical minerals, rare earths, house of representatives, china


Philippines Mining Activist Wins 2012 Goldman Prize

Payal Sampat's avatar
By Payal Sampat

April 16, 2012

Today is a red-letter day for grassroots mining activists around the world: Fr. Edwin Gariguez is awarded the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize for his work to stop irresponsible mining development on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. I’m looking forward to seeing Fr. Edwin receive his award at the San Francisco Opera House this evening, along with 5 other amazing Prize recipients from around the world. (By the way, if you can’t be there, make sure you watch this video clip about Fr. Edwin, narrated by Robert Redford.)

Fr. Edu, as he is affectionately known, is being recognized by the Goldman Prize for working to defend the Indigenous communities and biological diversity of Mindoro from a giant nickel mine proposed by Intex, a Norwegian mining company. The mine would be built in two key biodiversity areas, and within one of Mindoro’s major watersheds, which provides drinking and irrigation water to many lowland communities. If developed, the nickel mine would destroy vast swaths of tropical forests, and would produce several million tons of toxic waste. Mindoro’s Mangyan Indigenous communities would also be hurt by the mine, as the proposed mining area is within their ancestral land. As Fr. Edu has said, “For the indigenous Mangyan people living on Mindoro Island, the struggle to protect our threatened ecology is a matter of survival.”

 

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Tagged with: mining, human rights, nickel mining, goldman prize, philippines, intex


Ecuador signs contract for 1st ever large-scale mine; communities react with ongoing protests.

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

April 5, 2012

Last month Ecuador did something it had never done before. It signed contracts for the first large-scale mining project in the history of the country. Prior to President Rafael Correa's championing of mega-mines in Ecuador, Ecuador was the last Andean country without a large-scale mine. It was also the last Andean country to not have to deal with major water contamination from cyanide run-off. It was the last Andean country to not have to deal with the millions of tons of toxic mine tailings each mine site must dispose of, often in water sources. That's all changed now.

Despite growing protests because of Correa's decision to open up the country to multi-national mining corporations, the President has remained defiant and steadfast in his decision. Even as thousands of people poured into the streets last month for a two week march in defense of water and in opposition to large-scale mining, Correa proclaimed: "We will not be beggars sitting on a sack of gold.";

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Tagged with: mining, gold, indigenous, kinross gold, ecuador


Troubled Waters – and no bridge to cross them

Payal Sampat's avatar
By Payal Sampat

February 28, 2012

The 313 million people who live in the United States send about 120 million tonnes of trash to landfills every year. That’s a lot of trash  - just think of all the photos you’ve seen of landfills overflowing with mountains of discarded refuse.

But that number pales in comparison with the amount of waste that mining corporations dump into oceans, rivers, and lakes around the world each year, which tops 180 million tonnes. These wastes can contain arsenic, lead, mercury, cyanide and over thirty other dangerous chemicals.

The staff at Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada have spent the past year investigating this egregious - and outdated – practice; we report our findings in a new study, Troubled Waters: How Mine Waste Dumping is Poisoning Our Ocean, Rivers and Lakes.

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Tagged with: gold, water pollution, tailings, submarine tailings disposal, mining waste, copper, mining watch canada, std


Macy’s told to dump dirty gold this Valentine’s Day

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

February 13, 2012

Today, activists from the No Dirty Gold campaign left Macy’s a message at its downtown Washington D.C. storefront.  The activists decorated the Macy’s front entrance with a giant balloon banner reading: “Macy’s, Don’t Break our Hearts. Dump Dirty Gold!” - referring to Macy’s failure to sign on to the No Dirty Gold campaign’s “Golden Rules” for responsible metals’ sourcing.

The activists showed up at Macy’s the day before Valentine’s Day to let shoppers know that Macy’s has thus far taken no action to help rid the jewelry industry of dirty gold: gold that may have been produced at the cost of human rights abuses, labor violations, and environmental destruction, among others.

Valentine’s Day is one of Macy’s busiest shopping seasons in the year, with the jewelry departments full of shoppers looking to buy gold jewelry for their special someone. Some of these prospective shoppers in Washington DC were greeted today by the large banner, held by over 3 dozen helium balloons, floating over the store’s main entrance informing shoppers about Macy’s dirty secret.

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, dirty gold, golden rules, macys, action


Colombia town outlaws open-pit mining, bucks displacement attempts from Gran Colombia Gold

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

January 26, 2012

Colombia is in the middle of a mining bonanza. The national geology and mining regulation body, Ingeominas, reports that between 2008-2010 over 15,000 applications for mining operations were submitted. According to the new report “Mining in Colombia: at What Cost?” (PDF) nearly 40% of Colombia lands are under extraction and exploration licenses. Over 8.4 million hectares have been leased solely for mining, or just about 4x the size of New Jersey.

In the Colombia highlands mining is not a new way of livelihood. Artisanal mining has been a cornerstone of community sufficiency for generations, as is the case in Marmato. Marmato is a small village, in the department of Caldas, with a 500-year history of small-scale artisanal mining. In many ways the community of Marmato embodies the growing struggles of communities that sit on Colombia’s resource rich lands. In this case it’s gold. Marmato sits on “Montana de Oro”, or Mountain of Gold, so it is no surprise that large multi-national mining companies are anxious to tap into the area’s known deposits.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, human rights, dirty gold, gran colombia, displacement, colombia


Vote Freeport McMoRan for 2012’s worst corporation on earth

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

January 19, 2012

If communities in West Papua, Indonesia had anything to say about it Freeport-McMoRan would certainly be named the worst corporation in the world. Now you can help get Freeport-McMoRan listed as 2012’s worst corporation in the world.

Every year the Public Eye Award is given to the world worst corporation on earth. Previous winners include; Chevron, for their oil disaster in Ecuador; Newmont for their irresponsible mining and pollution in Ghana and Peru; AngloGold Ashanti, for it’s contamination of land and poisoning of people with its gold mining in Ghana. This year Freeport-McMoRan joins this shameful company as a finalist for the “award”.

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Tagged with: human rights, indonesia, freeport mcmoran, public eye awards, grasberg


SEC delays conflict mineral rules as human rights abuses continue

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

January 12, 2012

There are varied definitions for conflict minerals. I usually define conflict minerals as minerals that are mined and used to influence and finance armed conflict, human rights abuses, and violence. 

I also like Global Witness’ definition of “conflict resources” as “natural resources whose systematic exploitation and trade in a context of conflict contribute to, benefit from or result in the commission of serious violations of human rights, violations of international humanitarian law or violations amounting to crimes under international law”.

Two years ago this term “conflict minerals” hit the US business community with a thud. See, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act had a small section, section 1502, that mandated companies fully understand their supply-chain and report whether or not they were using conflict minerals - in this case tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold - from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The definition used for this law is a specific one and only looks at conflict associated with minerals in the regions of eastern DRC.

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Tagged with: gold, dirty gold, international, conflict minerals, sec, congo, dodd-frank, corporate accountability, drc


The Wizards Behind The RJC Curtain Are Losing Control

Marc Choyt's avatar
By Marc Choyt

December 23, 2011

RJC logo

“[The] Responsible Jewellery Council’s Chain of Custody destroys value […]
The Chain of Custody is a fiction that cannot truly be verified.”
– Chaim Even-Zohar, one of the most prominent, respected journalists in the jewelry trade press.

The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) website declares that its 350+ members are

    “committed to promoting responsible ethical, human rights, social and environmental practices in a transparent and accountable manner throughout the industry from mine to retail. “

These are noble sentiments.  How to square them with Even-Zohar’s quote?

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Tagged with: dirty gold, jewelry retailers, responsible jewellery council, fair jewelry action usa


Give Macy’s a ring today! (Not the gold kind)


Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

December 20, 2011

Over 16,000 people have urged Macy’s – by letter or by Facebook – to speak out against dirty gold, and sign the Golden Rules for Responsible Metals Sourcing.

Unfortunately, they haven’t.Yet.

So it’s time to ramp up the pressure.

Can you take a minute from your busy holiday week to call Macy’s? Think of it as caroling against dirty gold. We need to call Macy’s and tell their people (Jim and Beth) to sign the Golden Rules.

Jim Sluzewski, Senior VP, External Affairs 513-579-7764  &
Beth Charlton, Director Issue Management & Special Projects, 513-562-6928

We’re asking for 1 minute of your day to call Macy’s and ask them to sign the “Golden Rules” for responsible metals sourcing. We want to call two representatives at Macy’s - if you can only make one call, that’s ok!

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules, jewelry, macys, action


Macy’s passes the buck on responsibility

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

December 14, 2011

The past two weeks Earthworks and Change.org members have sent over 14,000 petitions to Macy's calling for them to sign the "Golden Rules". Macy's remained silent.

This past week people concerned with Macy’s inaction to help curb irresponsible gold mining took over Macy’s Facebook page. Over 200 people flooded the Facebook page asking Macy’s to take a stand against irresponsible metal mining, join the over 80 other jewelry retailers, and sign the “Golden Rules”. For the first few days, Macy’s seemed to be ignoring people’s questions and concerns.

Today, Macy’s has posted a reply on its Facebook page. The response lays out precisely why we need Macy’s, as a major jewelry retailer, to sign on to the “Golden Rules”

 

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules, jewelry, macys, action


“Occupy” Macy’s Facebook page and urge them to say no to dirty gold!

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

December 12, 2011

Today people are occupying Macy's Facebook page to tell them it's time to sign on to the "Golden Rules"!

Do you think Macy's customers want their gold jewelry:
mined by children's hands,
poisoning communities' drinking water,
or violating human rights?

We think they don't.
But dirty gold does all these things. That's why we created the Golden Rules of Responsible Metals Sourcing: to enlist jewelry retailers – who account for more than 80% of the world's gold mine production – to pressure the mining industry to eliminate dirty gold.

Unfortunately, Macy's – unlike eight of the other top 10 gold retailers in the U.S. – has refused to commit to the Golden Rules. That's why over ten thousand people emailed Macy's last week demanding they help clean up dirty gold. Now the message is spreading to Facebook. People are flooding Macy's Facebook page to tell them to sign on to the Golden Rules. We want to keep the pressure on!

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, golden rules, macys


Children paid in dirt: Could gold from these mines be sold at Macy’s and Costco?

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

December 7, 2011

Last night NBC aired “The Price of Gold”. The program traveled to the west African country of Mali to explore the gold mines of the region that have boomed since the spike in gold prices. Richard Engel sits down with young boys who work in the mines only to be paid in bags of dirt, he hears stories of children being pulled from school to mine from gold, and visits families that are constantly exposed to the highly toxic mercury and its fumes during the crude separating process.

The report is as disturbing as it is important.

Video after the jump.

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


Peru declares state of emergency as opposition grows against Conga gold mine.

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

December 6, 2011

Late last night President Humala, in a nationally televised address, declared a State of Emergency in four provinces in the state of Cajamarca. The provinces have been the center of the country’s anti-mining protests for the past months because of the record-breaking $4.8 billion Conga gold mine project.

The declaration comes after nearly two weeks of sustained protests in the region calling for the Conga Project, owed by Denver-based Newmont Mining, to be cancelled permanently. Communities and farmers claim that the project threatens the water that has been relied on for livelihood and survival for generations.

"We are not radical. It's just that the Conga project has no legitimacy in the eyes of the people." Milton Sanchez, one of many protest leaders

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, gold mining, peru, newmont, fpic, conga


Newmont Mining suspends Conga gold mine development indefinitely

Nick Magel's avatar
By Nick Magel

December 1, 2011

In the wake of Peru's Ministry on the Environment raising concerns over an Environmental Impact Study, growing community opposition, and strong political blowback the Humala Administration yesterday requested that Newmont suspend all operations at the Conga mine site. In turn, Newmont has agreed to suspend their Conga gold mine development in Northern Peru, indefinitely.

Statement from Earthworks Executive Director, Jennifer Krill, on the suspension of the Conga project:

Earthworks welcomes this week's decision by Newmont Mining Co. to suspend the development of its controversial Conga mine in northern Peru at the request of President Ollanta Humala. The Minas Conga development has been at the center of many weeks of protests by community members and elected officials who are concerned about the project's impacts on the environment, water supplies, health and livelihoods. The project is a partnership between Newmont, Peruvian company Buenaventura, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).

We urge the company, government and communities to open up a meaningful dialogue process that is undertaken in good faith. We also encourage all parties at the table to take the necessary time to build trust and address concerns.

Newmont Mining operates Latin America's largest gold mine, Yanacocha, in northern Peru, and this is not the first time that Newmont's Peruvian operations have been mired in controversy. In 2000, a truck carrying mercury from the Yanacocha deposit spilled 330 pounds of the toxic chemical along a road near the town of Choropampa, sickening hundreds of people, including children. In 2004, Newmont Mining was forced to suspend plans to develop the Cerro Quilish deposit after residents blockaded roads and protested the project."

You can read the complete statement HERE.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, peru, newmont, fpic, conga


Attention Shoppers: Macy’s has special on dirty gold. Help us stop it!

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By Nick Magel

November 30, 2011

Today Earthworks is cranking up the pressure on Macy’s!

Why?

Macy’s has a dirty little secret they are hiding from their customers this holiday season. Dirty gold.

TAKE ACTION: Today we launched this petition calling Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren to sign the Golden Rules and step up for human rights, environmental protection, and fair labor, this holiday season!

We’ve been waiting for Macy’s to do the right thing and sign on to the “Golden Rules” for responsible metals sourcing for over a year now. In that time, gold mining communities have been kicked off their lands, drinking water has been polluted, and massive labor violations have taken place.

When it comes to gold, Macy’s may not be steering the mining equipment or the bulldozers, but it is in the driver's seat. Jewelry demand accounts for over 80% of annual global gold mine production, and companies that sell jewelry, such as Macy's, can play a powerful role in demanding more ethically produced gold.

By signing the Golden Rules for responsible sourcing, a number of jewelry retailers have taken an imortance stance against destructive mining. What's Macy's waiting for?

While over 80 other major jewelry retailers have stepped up to the task, Macy’s has yet to do the right thing.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules, jewelry, macys


Protests, resignations, and flawed EIS plague Newmont’s Conga gold mine in Peru

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By Nick Magel

November 29, 2011

Opposition is stacking up higher and higher against Newmont’s $4.8 billion mega gold project in Peru. Here is a quick run down of things that are beginning to impact whether this project is longer feasible, or not.

Political -
Today the Deputy Minister of the Environment, Jose de Echave, resigned in protest. Echave said that the Humala government "lacks an adequate strategy for dealing with social conflict." He also raised concerns about the weakening on the Ministry Environment after being restructured to defer to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers

La Republica: Jose de Echave renuncio al viceministerio del ambiente
Washington Post / AP: Peru environment official resigns amid protests by peasants who fear mines will harm water

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, water pollution, peru, international, newmont, conga, yanacocha


Tell Kay and Jared Jewelers (owned by Signet) to say no to dirty gold from Pebble Mine

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By Bonnie Gestring

November 17, 2011

The world's greatest wild salmon fishery - in Alaska's Bristol Bay - is at risk!  And, you can help.

Alaskans are asking Signet, the world's largest jewelry corporation to promise not to use gold from the proposed Pebble Mine - a massive copper gold mine that threatens the world's most valuable wild salmon fishery. Over fifty major jewelers have already promised.

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Tagged with: bristol bay, jewelry retailers, bristol bay pledge, signet jewelers, jared jewelers, kay jewelers


Take 3 minutes: Help Protect Oregon’s Wild and Scenic Chetco River

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By Bonnie Gestring

November 11, 2011

The Wild and Scenic Chetco River is legendary for the beauty and clarity of its waters. And, it has whopping salmon and steelhead runs!

Although Congress protected the Chetco in 1988 by adding it to the National Wild and Scenic River System, the 1872 Mining Law gives mining preference over all other values and uses. Now proposals to suction dredge along much of this extroardinary river threatens allt he values the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act seeks to protect.

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Tagged with: chetco river, oregon, national wild and scenic river, suction dredge mining


Newmont’s Conga mine brings major clean water problems

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By Nick Magel

November 9, 2011

The proposed Conga Mine project, located in the Cajamarca and Celendín provinces in Northern Peru, sits just to the Northeast of Latin America’s largest gold mine, Yanacocha.

As with most mines in this region, water is a major issue with the Conga project.The campesino communities and larger more developed centers rely heavily of the water sources of the region.

It is because of this reliance, and gold mining’s checkered history of contaminating clean water sources, that many communities near the Conga project are protesting the mega mining project.

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Tagged with: gold, peru, newmont, clean water, conga, yanacocha, latin america


Conga: Peru’s communities won’t trade clean water for Newmont’s mega gold mine

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By Nick Magel

November 7, 2011

Peru is once again front and center in Latin America’s new gold rush. Gold is trading at record prices, and multinational mining corporations are developing at record speeds to firm their grip on the precious metal. This blitz, however, is bringing with it a renewed wave of social conflicts and community resistance to these mega mines. It is, in it’s simplest terms, between clean water and dirty gold.

One project making major headlines is Newmont’s Conga project is Northern Peru.

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, peru, newmont, water, conga, yanacocha, latin america, cerro quilish


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