Category Archives: Mining

Two log jail time to stop logging, strip mine expansion in Illinois

By James Anderson, April 2, 2014. Source: TruthOut

Police escort to their cars, two Ohio activists under arrest for a blockade intended to stop logging along Rocky Branch Road, a precursor to Peabody Energy's strip mining expansion and the closure of the road planned by the company. (Photo: James Anderson)

Police escort to their cars, two Ohio activists under arrest for a blockade intended to stop logging along Rocky Branch Road, a precursor to Peabody Energy’s strip mining expansion and the closure of the road planned by the company. (Photo: James Anderson)

Activists courted arrest recently in Harrisburg, Illinois, to stop Peabody Energy from continuing logging operations related to strip mine expansion.

Police arrested two activists at a blockade set up on Rocky Branch Road in Harrisburg, Illinois, early on March 28, 2014, to stop Peabody Energy from continuing logging operations as part of the company’s strip mine expansion.

Daniel Goering, 20, and Alice Fine, 19, laid down a tarp on the road to block the route to be used for logging that day. Along with other environmental activists and with the support of community residents directly impacted by Peabody’s operations, the two tried to forestall and possibly prevent further strip mining and the proposed closure of Rocky Branch Road.

Goering and Fine – a self-identifying “radical power couple” – are students at Oberlin College in Ohio who joined with other activists intent on stopping Peabody, the largest private-sector coal company in the world. It has been active in mining operations around Harrisburg since 1999. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Mining

Miners just took 43 police officers hostage in Bolivia

Note: Ben Dangl is a dear friend of Global Justice Ecology Project.  He is currently in Bolivia, where he studies and writes about social movements.

-The GJEP Team

By Ben Dangl, April 3, 2014. Source: VICE

Photo:  Juan Adolfo Apaza

Photo: Juan Adolfo Apaza

On Monday night, outside of Cochabamba, Bolivia, a conflict between police and miners protesting a new mining law left two miners dead and 50 people injured. The miners died of bullet wounds to the head. Forty-three policemen were also taken prisoner by the miners. The miners wielded dynamite against the armed police forces, though it’s still unclear who provoked the fight.

Before taking hostages, the miners had organized roadblocks across the country against a new mining law that would give the administration of President Evo Morales oversight of private tin, silver, and zinc miners’ transactions with private or foreign companies. (The Bolivian government also owns enormous public mines, which would not be effected by this aspect of the law.) The Morales administration wants to maintain oversight of sales and mining development in the private sector in order ensure that the resources benefit the country, rather than simply enrich private and foreign investors. The miners protesting on Monday all work in the private sector and, curiously, aren’t part of a leftist attempt for collective control of their mines—they simply want the right to be able to sell the minerals they extract to any person or company they please.

Congressman José Antonio Yucra of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS, the party led by President Morales) explained to the press that “there is great interest in million-dollar contracts that the cooperativist [private miners] would have with foreign [companies]” if the government did not regulate the industry. But the fight over the mining law is part of a much wider conflict across the Andes and Latin America. Who profits from the extraction of natural resources? Who pays when mining or oil exploration harms the environment and local communities? To what extent are local communities consulted about resource extraction that destroys their land, water, and livelihoods? Despite leftist rhetoric about protecting the environment and working on behalf of the region’s downtrodden, the presidents of Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, among others, are charging ahead with destructive mining, gas, and oil industrialization at a rapid pace.
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Guatemala: Anti-mining resistance celebrates two years of struggle

By Rob Mercatante, March 11, 2014. Source: Upside Down World

Photo: Upside Down World

Photo: Upside Down World

La Puya started, as many great movements do, with a single act of civil disobedience.

A woman, concerned by the sudden arrival of a gold mining operation in her community, decided to park her car sidewise across a dusty, rural road in order to stop a convoy of massive mining machinery in its tracks. Others quickly joined her, taking a stand in defense of their water supply, farmland, health, and environment.

This impromptu roadside gathering of community members became, essentially, a human roadblock, preventing tractors, dump trucks and other equipment from entering the Tambor mine site. Over time, the roadblock grew into the resistance movement known as “La Puya.”

La Puya – against all odds – celebrated its second anniversary on March 2.

“We never thought when we started this movement that we would make it to the two-year mark. For us, it is truly a victory and an example for many others,” said Álvaro Sandoval, community leader at La Puya.

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Victory! First Nations celebrate federal rejection of New Prosperity mine proposal

February 27, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry

Fish Lake (Teztan Biny)

Fish Lake (Teztan Biny)

Tsilhqot’in Territory, BC: Yesterday’s federal decision to reject the New Prosperity Gold-Copper mine proposal was welcomed by Tsilhqot’in Chiefs, AFN National Chief A-in-chut Shawn Atleo, Union of BC Indian Chiefs President, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and First Nations everywhere.

They now call on this to be the end of a costly, pointless battle that has dragged on since at least 1995, when Taseko Mines Ltd. was first told by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans not to waste any further time or money pursuing this unacceptable project.

The mine proposal was opposed vigorously by the Tsilhqot’in Nation with the unanimous support of B.C.’s and Canada’s First Nations and received an unprecedented two scathing independent expert panel reports which make clear that the project was unacceptable environmentally and in terms of its impact on First Nations’ rights and culture, and that these impacts were immitigable.

Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair for the Tsilhqot’in National Government said: “We are celebrating this decision to reject once again this terrible project, which threatened our pristine waters, fish and Aboriginal rights. Continue reading

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Filed under Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Victory!, Water

Ye’kwana and Sanema peoples of Venezuela threatened by illegal mining, lack of constitutional implementation

By Curtis Kline, February 14, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry

Caura river, Bolívar State, Venezuela (OSM)

Caura river, Bolívar State, Venezuela (OSM)

In the watershed between the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers in Venezuela, lies the Caura River basin. As Mongabay has reported, the Caura Basin is characterized by lowland tropical rainforest, and has remarkable levels of biological diversity. It also stores some 700 million metric tons of carbon, roughly the same amount released by 162 million cars each year.

The Caura Basin is also home to the Ye’kwana and Sanema Indigenous Peoples. There, the Ye’kwana live in huge conical collective dwellings while maintaining a strongly developed tradition of shifting agriculture. They have lived in the area at least as long as historical records recount. The Sanema (Northern Yanomami), a more mobile group of hunters, gatherers and budding agriculturalists, were pushed into the area from the south about a hundred years ago.

report from the Forest Peoples Programme discusses how these Indigenous Peoples have mobilized and organized themselves in the last decade or more to claim their rights and to protect the biological resources of their lands and territories. They have created a radio network; established a multi-ethnic, basin-wide Indigenous association; mapped their customary land use system; registered their knowledge as their own intellectual property and became the first ethnic group to apply for legal title under the new laws of Venezuela. Additionally, they have trained community members as ‘para-biologists’; carried out community-level workshops to review their customary institutions; called for the co-management of the existing protected areas; and built up their own institutional capacity, focused on improved interethnic relations and the empowerment of Indigenous women.

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Second chemical spill in West Virginia river

February 11, 2014. Source: AllVoices

Another chemical spill in W. Virginia; Kanawha Eagle Plant leaks coal slurry into Fields Creek.  Photo courtesy Jeremy Edwards

Another chemical spill in W. Virginia; Kanawha Eagle Plant leaks coal slurry into Fields Creek. Photo courtesy Jeremy Edwards

Another coal company has spilled an undetermined amount of chemicals into a West Virginia river, reported The Huffington Post Tuesday.

According to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, crude MCHM, the same chemical that leaked into the Elk River from last month’s Freedom Industry’s spill, leaked from a broken slurry line into the Kanawha Eagle preparation plant near Winifrede, sometime between midnight Monday and 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

More than 300,000 residents’ water was contaminated from the Jan. 9 spill from Freedom Industries but West Virginia American Water Company is confident this spill will not affect the water supply of any county because there are no immediate public water intakes downstream to this plant.

West Virginia America Water released a statement assuring the public that their employees were working together with state officials to gather more information on the spill. Continue reading

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Peru: US court action over Cajamarca repression

February 8, 2014. Source: WW4 Report

Peruvian police block the way to people carrying the coffins of three of the demonstrators who died during the protests against the Conga mining project in Celendin, Cajamarca, Peru, on July 6, 2013. Source: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/GettyImages

Peruvian police block the way to people carrying the coffins of three of the demonstrators who died during the protests against the Conga mining project in Celendin, Cajamarca, Peru, on July 6, 2013. Source: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/GettyImages

EarthRights International (ERI) on Jan. 24 filed an action in federal court in Denver on behalf of a protestor left paralyzed by police violence at the site of Colorado-based Newmont Mining‘s Conga mine project in Peru. ERI is seeking documents and information from Newmont to assist in pending legal proceedings in Peru related to the police repression of protestors against the Conga project.

Elmer Eduardo Campos Álvarez, a 32-year-old resident of the Cajamarca department, where the Conga project is planned, lost a kidney and his spleen and was paralyzed from the waist down on Nov. 29, 2011, when National Police officers shot him in the back while he was peacefully protesting. Campos was among at least 24 protestors injured by police that day.

The Yanacocha mining company, Newmont’s local subsidiary, contracted with the National Police of Peru to provide security services at the planned mine site.Officers involved in the repression of November 2011 have told local prosecutors that they were providing security to the company. The proposed Conga mine has generated strong community opposition; the project would mean the destruction of lakes held sacred by local people, who also depend on them as a water source. Continue reading

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Moroccan villagers occupy silver mine

February 1, 2014. Source: WW4 Report

An activist with the Berber flag. Protesters have occupied a hilltop above a silver mine for more than two years. Photo: Leila Alaoui for The New York Times

An activist with the Berber flag. Protesters have occupied a hilltop above a silver mine for more than two years. Photo: Leila Alaoui for The New York Times

A Jan. 23 profile in the New York Times put a rare spotlight on the ongoing occupation camp established by Berber villagers at Mount Alebban, 5,000 feet high in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, to protest the operations of the Imiter Mettalurgic Mining Company—whose principal owner is the North African nation’s King Mohammed VI.

The occupation was first launched in 1996, but broken up by the authorities. It was revived in the summer of 2011, after students from the local village of Imider, who were used to getting seasonal jobs at the mine, were turned down. That led the villagers—even those with jobs at the complex—to again establish a permanent encampment blocking access to the site of Africa’s most productive silver mine.

A key grievance is the mine’s use of local water sources, which is making agriculture in the arid region increasingly untenable. Protesters closed a pipe valve, cutting off the water supply to the mine. Since then, the mine’s output has plummeted—40% in 2012 and a further 30% in 2013. But Imider farmers say their long-drying wells are starting to replenish, and their shriveled orchards are again starting to bear fruit.

In addition to protection of local waters, villagers are demanding that 75% of the jobs at the mine be allocated to their municipality. But more general demands for Berber cultural rights and dignity also animate the protest, with the Berber flag flying above the encampment. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Corporate Globalization, Mining, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Water

Great Barrier Reef authority approves dredging and dumping to expand port

By Bridie Jabour, January 31, 2014. Source: The Guardian

The reef: the spoil will be dumped about 24km from Abbot Point, the gateway to the world heritage-listed reef. Photograph: Grant V Faint/Getty Images

The reef: the spoil will be dumped about 24km from Abbot Point, the gateway to the world heritage-listed reef. Photograph: Grant V Faint/Getty Images

Three million cubic metres of sediment from dredging to expand a coal port will be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef marine park, after the park authority approved the move on Friday.

The spoil resulting from the Abbot Point port project is to be dumped 24km away at a location near Bowen in north Queensland.

The expansion, which hinged on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s approval of the dumping, means an extra 70m tonnes of coal each year, worth between $1.4bn and $2.8bn, will go through the port, which is also a gateway to the world heritage-listed reef.

The authority granted approval with strict conditions on Friday afternoon. Continue reading

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Indonesia: Conflict with mining company, Motoling Picuan community members shot by police

By AMAN, January 27, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry

Image: North Sulawesi Province, Indonesia (OSM)

Image: North Sulawesi Province, Indonesia (OSM)

Three members of the Motoling Picuan indigenous community in North Sulawesi were seriously injured when a conflict between the community and PT Sumber Energi Jaya, a gold mining company operating in the area, escalated around midday last Monday, 6 January.

Sernike Merentek, a member of the Motoling Picuan indigenous community was shot by police from behind with the bullet penetrating his stomach. He was taken to Kando Malalayang hospital, Manado, in a critical condition. He is now reported to be conscious and able to communicate, though minimally.

In addition to Sernike, Hardi Sumangkut, 36 years old, and Asni Runtunuwu, 40 years old, were also both injured by police gunfire. Another victim, Terok Jefri, 38, was wounded in the arm by arrows fired by hired thugs working for the company.

Other community members have also since been arrested. “Six members of the indigenous Motoling Picuan community are reported to have been arrested and mistreated by police. They are still being held,” said Second Deputy to the Secretary General of AMAN, Rukka Sombolinggi. Continue reading

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