By the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition. Houghton, MI — Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) members and supporters are expressing outrage and frustration following news that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a surface use permit authorizing Orvana Resources – a subsidiary of Highland Copper – to begin exploratory drilling in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. According to the DNR, drilling began Sunday, before the agency’s press release had even been published. The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is well known for its hiking trails, rugged terrain, old growth forests, miles of wild and scenic Lake Superior shoreline, wilderness campsites, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. “The sulfide mining industry is leading the State of Michigan around by a leash….”
By Paola Totaro and Claudia Ciobanu for Reuters – LONDON, Jan 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Romania has asked the United Nations to make a Transylvanian village boasting 18th century houses and intact Roman mining shafts into a World Heritage site in a surprise 11th hour move that could protect it from a gold mine project. The request to list Rosia Montana was announced as the government of Dacian Ciolos handed over power this week to the incoming Social Democrat Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, who won elections last month. Romania’s outgoing culture minister said in a statement late Thursday that a request had been sent to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
By Paul Keenlyside for the Sierra Club. What connects two proposed gold mines, one in the high-altitude wetlands of Colombia and one in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania? Both mines would require huge quantities of cyanide and threaten watersheds used by millions of people for drinking water. One would damage a unique, legally protected ecosystem and the other would destroy an ancient, UNESCO-nominated settlement. Both have been opposed by scientific bodies, protested by tens of thousands of people, and restricted by domestic courts. And in both cases, the Canadian mining corporations behind the projects (Eco Oro in Colombia and Gabriel Resources in Romania) have responded to the mining denials by using trade and investment deals to sue the governments in private tribunals.
By Haul No! Grand Canyon, AZ — Energy Fuels Inc. is planning to poison the Grand Canyon including the precious Colorado River. Are we going to let our future be poisoned for thousands of generations by this greedy corporation? We say, “Haul no!”. #HaulNo! is an awareness & action tour that is being planned for Spring 2017 throughout Northern Arizona and Southern Utah along the proposed uranium haul route from Energy Fuel’s Canyon Mine to its White Mesa Mill. Volunteers from organizations such as Diné No Nukes, Clean Up The Mines, Grand Canyon Trust, and concerned community members have joined forces to spread awareness and empower action to ensure that the Grand Canyon, sacred sites, precious water, and our communities are safeguarded from the deadly and toxic threat of uranium contamination.
By Seeker. Australia – Eagles, those aerial takedown artists, are at it again. This time, they’ve taken out nearly all of the unmanned aerial vehicles dispatched to fly over mining lands in western Australia. According to ABC Science, wedge-tailed eagles are batting nearly 1.000 in the skies near the country’s mining town of Kambalda. All told, out of 10 drones to take to the air, nine have been sent to the ground by the eagles. Thus far, the site reports, South Africa’s Gold Fields, which has mining concerns in the area, has spent some $100,000 on replacement drones. The company uses the drones as surveyors. The flying eyes take high-resolution photographs and use them to create contour maps for future mining forays.
By Ian Zabarte of Native Community Action Council. Las Vegas, NV — Indigenous rights and environmental advocates from throughout the US condemned nuclear colonialism on what is recognized as “Columbus Day” Tuesday, October 11, 2016. Native Community Action Council held a press conference in front of the Thomas and Mac Moot Court at the Boyd Law School on the campus of UNLV for participants in the Native American Forum on Nuclear Issues at UNLV. Since 1951 the US and UK have conducted nuclear testing within Western Shoshone homelands causing a wide variety of adverse health consequences know to be plausible from exposure to radiation in fallout. The proposed Yucca Mountain high level nuclear waste repository, if licensed, will add significant risk factors to the lives of the Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute people.
By KiMi Robinson for Truthdig. The Democratic Republic of Congo is paying the price for being the world’s largest producer of raw cobalt, a vital ingredient in lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, smartphones, laptops and other rechargeable devices. As Congolese search for the valuable mineral—cobalt is the most expensive part of lithium-ion batteries—they are suffering a surge in child labor, poverty, pollution and rare birth defects. An investigation by The Washington Post unravels the complicated cobalt supply chain from mines in Congo to the world’s largest cobalt producers in China to the products that dominate Americans’ everyday lives. Reporter Todd Frankel found that companies such as Samsung, BMW and Apple buy batteries containing cobalt mined in Congo but declare that their products are free from materials related to human rights abuse.
By Staff of Native Sun News – PINE RIDGE –– The Oglala Sioux Tribe and activists scored a win on May 26, when federal administrative judges ruled that Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff has failed to take “a hard look” at cultural resources in recommending renewal of a uranium mining license for Crow Butte Mine, near here. The decision delays permitting. The tribe, intervening in the license renewal application for the mine inDawes County, Nebraska…
By Pratap Chatterjee for CorpWatch Blog. The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has ordered the government of Venezuela to pay $1.386 billion to Crystallex, a bankrupt Canadian gold mining company, for canceling a 2002 permit to mine for gold in the Imataca Forest Reserve. Crystallex brought its arbitration claim to the ICSID in 2011 stating that Venezuela had violated the company’s rights guaranteed under a bilateral treaty between Canada and Venezuela. Even though most national courts refuse to hear community claims against companiesfor environmental or human rights abuses abroad, a number of international ‘arbitration’ courts routinely rule allow companies to sue governments for investment ‘rights’ written into new bilateral and multilateral treaties. (ICSID alone is currently hearing 211 cases)
By Parson Young for In Defense of Marxism – The Shuang Mining Corporation, a state-owned mining company which employs over 61,000 workers, is valued at 7.5 billion RMB (roughly $11 billion USD) and is listed as the 38th most prominent mining company of China. The company has reportedly been owed its workers significant amount of monthly wages since 2014. The company has only provided workers 800 RMB ($123 USD) per month for living expenses when workers were supposed to receive a monthly salary of up to 1000 RMB ($154 USD). Many reported that they have not received their salaries for over two years.
By George Pauk for Popular Resistance. Oak Flat, Arizona – We are back at the mountain campsite that is the prime example of the persistent greed of our empire. The shame of us “whites” is palpable here in the beautiful high desert. Again, we find the Native Americans already here, —we are visitors. They welcome us, but we know it is long past due that we need to decolonize this land. It has been one year since a group of people of the San Carlos Apache tribe called out the dastardly actions of our Arizona Senators (McCain and Flake). The senators, joined by other politicians, slyly “gave” this sacred land of the Apaches to foreign corporations. The politicians have benefited financially for their campaigns. They blatantly continue their charade of pretend that the rape of this land and waters will benefit us. They wish to create another huge pit of rubble where the beauty of ancient, historic trees, wild animals and sacred culture now lives.
By EDUCA Oaxaca. Mexico – In the community of Cerro de las Huertas, Ejutla de Crespo (Oaxaca) representatives of 48 communities and 30 social organizations participated on January 29 and 30 in the Conference of Communities and Organizations against Mining, in which they demand the state and federal governments for cancellation of all mining projects in Oaxaca. The goal, according to the “Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios” and the organizing communities, was to create a space for reflection at the national level about the advancements and obstacles of the anti-mining movement in order to strengthen the resistance and defense of communities and organizations.
By Talli Nauman for Native Sun News – SUNDANCE, Wyoming – The Canadian company that has proposed to mine rare earth minerals near the culturally significant tribal landmark of Mahto Tipila, or Devils Tower, suspended activities Jan. 21, at the so-called Bear Lodge Project. The announcement by the company’s California law firm led the U.S. Forest Service to cancel open houses Jan. 23 in Sundance and Jan. 24 in Upton, Wyoming, which the agency had scheduled to inform the public of the plans contained in a draft environmental impact statement, or DEIS, for the project.