Canadian Mining Companies

Canadian Mining Companies

Postby Oscar » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:32 am

Canadian Mining Companies

November 20, 2012

To the Editor,

The head office of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace [D&P] is in Montreal. This organization was established by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1967.

The mandate of D&P is to assist and fund poor and powerless communities to help themselves. The second mandate of D&P is to help the poor understand the causes of poverty.

For a number of years, there have been numerous reports of environmental and human rights violations in "third world" countries by Canadian mining companies.

So, a few years ago, in its annual educational program, D&P engaged all its Canadian parishes in a study of Canadian mining operations in foreign countries. It was learned and noted that some mining companies - in establishing mine sites - were not always considerate of the human rights of people living in those areas.

D&P then asked its supporters to sign cards of petition addressed to the Prime-Minister of Canada, asking him to appoint an "Ombudsman" to observe the mining practices of Canadian companies operating outside of Canada.

Primarily, the Ombudsman would report if companies were not following the same operating rules outside of Canada as they are required to follow here in Canada.

However, apparently, our government decided that appointing an Ombudsman would not be economically beneficial for Canada or more particularly, for mining corporations.

In 1996, in the Philippines, 1.6 million tonnes of toxic mine tailings were swept into the Boac River. The company responsible for the toxic tailings was the Marcopper Mining Corporation, a subsidiary of a Canadian company, Placer Dome. The Boac River was declared biologically dead. Hundreds of families lost their homes and livelihoods, their water
became contaminated, people suffered skin and respiratory problems. Three children died from heavy metal poisoning. Yet 16 years later, the people of the Boac River area have not been indemnified for their losses.

Recently, our Prime-Minister visited the Philippines to promote a mining project named "Crazy Horse".

It involved the sale of over 4 million hectares of Filipino land to a Canadian company.

Speaking on behalf of the Filipino people in the region, Clemente Bautista Jr., National Coordinator, Kalikasan PNA and Fr. Oliver Castor, stated that if Harper does not respect Filipino people's sovereignty, they should pull out their mining operations.

Baustista went on to say: "we ask him to "mine his own business" if their foreign capital does not benefit our communities, and be detrimental to our ecological integrity and community welfare."

In Guatemala, Goldcorp's Marlin Mine is so controversial that it is known as "the project of death".

Cyanide is used in the process of extracting gold and copper which requires the use of 250,000 litres of water daily. The contaminated water endangers the health of the indigenous people in that region.

The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights asked the Guatemala government to suspend the mine's operations. It has refused to do so.

Last year, Deodora Hernandez was shot in the face in front of her grand-daughter and left for dead. She had refused to sell her plot of land to the company. She survived but feels her life is in danger.

A young man, named German Chub, was shot and paralyzed from the waist down. He was the victim of thugs who single out activists opposing another Canadian mining company.

There are thousands of victims of mine-related violence throughout the Americas. They receive no help from their police or government, and certainly none from our Canadian government.

Leo Kurtenbach
Saskatoon, SK
Telephone: 306.653.5129
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