The Marcopper mines are environmental disasters. Placer Dome’s partnership with repressive dictator Ferdinand Marcos enabled the company to mine within a protected area and to use Calancan Bay, the source of livelihood for 12 fishing villages, as a toxic dumping ground for 16 years. Both the Mogpog and Boac Rivers have been literally overrun with toxic waste. Two children died when they were buried in the Mogpog mine waste spill. Studies conducted by the United Nations, government agencies and academics show that communities, who continue to rely on these rivers and on Calancan Bay, are exposed to unsafe levels of environmental toxins. Placer Dome denies responsibility for these environmental disasters  and sold its stake in the project in 1997. The Province of Marinduque is currently suing Placer Dome and Barrick in the US, seeking damages for the environmental harm caused by the Marcopper mines.
In May 1998, a company truck spilt a load of sodium cyanide, a chemical used to extract gold, into the Barskoun River, raising the cyanide concentration in the water to 50,000 times the permissible level. In the days following the spill, hundreds, possibly thousands of local residents sought medical attention and several deaths were reported. Thousands were evacuated from the spill area. A study published by Natural Resources Canada  concluded that few, if any, significant environmental impacts were generated by the spill - conclusions that were questioned by an independent hydrogeologist.
For thirty years Inco enjoyed a cozy relationship with the repressive and corrupt Suharto regime.
Members of the Karonsi’e Dongi and Sorowako indigenous communities lost their most productive agricultural land when the PT Inco mine was built, and they received paltry compensation in return. Mining activity has degraded land and water resources, and initial monitoring suggests that smelter emissions affect air quality in neighbouring communities. Despite apparent efforts by Inco to resolve community claims in recent years, protesting residents report being threatened and intimidated by the Indonesian military and police.
CPP: $256 million
Thousands of tribal and low-caste people living in Kashipur, India prefer to die rather than abandon their lands to make way for Alcan’s proposed mine and refinery. Local residents have organized massive mobilizations against the project. Opponents describe a climate of fear and hostility, and claim that they routinely meet with police repression. In 2000, three protesters were killed and several others injured. Alcan suspended operations after the incident until it was satisfied that local authorities would responsibly enforce the law and keep order. The villagers have found an important ally in Canada. Alcan workers in British Columbia, represented by the Canadian Auto Workers union, have vowed that they will not smelt any alumina originating from Kashipur.
The now infamous, massive tailings dam failure at the Omai mine occurred in August 1995. Millions of cubic metres of heavy metal laden mine waste spilled into the Essequibo River, the country’s main waterway. Large fish kills were reported and the government declared the area a disaster zone. Amerindian indigenous people living along the banks of the Essequibo claimed major fish losses, contamination of freshwater supplies and adverse health effects, as a result of the spill. A class action lawsuit on behalf of affected Guyanese was thrown out by a Quebec court, which denied the Guyanese plaintiffs standing.
Glamis Gold Ltd.
IFC: US$45 million loan
CPP: $63 million
Marlin, which became operational in 2005, is the first major mining investment in Guatemala in 20 years and is an important test case. In January 2005, the break-up of a 40-day protest by the army resulted in one death. Later that year, indigenous Sipacapan communities affected by the mine overwhelmingly rejected mineral development in a popular referendum. In response to a community complaint, the World Bank’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) investigated the project. While the CAO found that some community concerns, particularly those involving impacts to local water supplies, were unwarranted, the CAO identified some serious shortcomings with project assessment and management. For example, the CAO described the lack of a clear policy on human rights as a “significant oversight” on the part of both Glamis and the IFC.
Conquistador Mines Ltd.
The town of Simiti, in northern Colombia, is the site of a gold mine whose ownership is a matter of dispute. The mine is claimed by both the Higuera-Palacios family and the 35,000 poor miners who have worked the deposit for 30 years. In 1997, at roughly the same time that Conquistador, through its subsidiary Corona Goldfields, expressed interest in the Simiti mine, paramilitaries began to appear in the area. They killed at least 19 people in towns around Simiti, beheaded one miner, and tortured and killed the Vice-President of a local miners association. Fearing for their lives, thousands of people fled the area. According to Francisco Ramirez, President of the Colombian Mine Workers Union, the death squads’ purpose was to displace small-scale miners in order to make way for foreign capital. Conquistador has since abandoned the project.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Brutal conflict, fuelled by the country’s extraordinary mineral wealth, officially ended in 2003 with the establishment of a transitional government. While a fragile peace has held since then, tensions remain high and the government lacks control over large tracts of the country. The Dikulushi mine began production in 2002. Two years later, Anvil provided logistical support to the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) to suppress a rebel uprising. The company supplied the FARDC with planes, vehicles, personnel and food. According to a UN mission, the FARDC utilized these resources to carry out a number of human rights abuses, including alleged summary executions.
Barrick Gold Corp.
CPP: $351 million
The Pascua Lama gold deposit is located high in the Andes, in an area rich with glaciers. Glacial run-off irrigates the productive Huasco valley, an agricultural centre just south of the Atacama desert. Barrick’s original plan to relocate portions of several glaciers was met with public outcry and was rejected by the Chilean government. Barrick now claims that it can extract the gold without damaging the glaciers or significantly impacting water resources in the valley. However, a government report reveals that exploration activity may already have caused significant damage to several glaciers. The Indigenous Diaguita community of Huasco-Altino claims that the concession includes part of its ancestral territory and is suing to recover the land.
The Aucaner (or N’djuka) Maroon community of Nieuw Koffiekamp is located in the heart of the Gross Rosebel mining concession. Relocated in the 1960s to make way for a hydroelectric dam, Nieuw Koffiekamp now faces a second relocation which, according to a human rights expert, “would be tantamount to [its] cultural and social death.” Maroon authorities were not consulted about the project, and groups within the community vociferously oppose relocation. Suriname lacks legislation that requires mine proponents to undertake environmental impact assessments and is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that does not recognize the rights of indigenous or tribal populations. Critics argue that the country’s draft Mining Act discriminates against these populations and a UN human rights body has called on the Government of Suriname to rectify this problem.