On August 4, 2014, a mine waste dam in British Columbia, Canada breached, releasing 24.4 million cubic meters of mine waste (or tailings) sludge into the Fraser River watershed, a group of lakes and rivers that bear salmon and sustain the livelihoods of local First Nation communities.
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.
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.
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.
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.