October 20, 2004
Mr. Gilles Ross
Acting President and CEO
Export Development Canada
151 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 1K3
Dear Mr. Ross,
We recognize the changes that EDC has made over the past few years to enhance transparency, increase consultation and ensure internal compliance.
It is in this context of openness that we are writing to inquire whether you are considering providing any sort of loan, insurance, guarantee or other form of financial assistance for the troubled Inco Goro Nickel mine in New Caledonia, a project which would appear to violate EDC’s environmental guidelines.
You will recall that we sent a similar letter to this one on October 23, 2002. At the time, EDC indicated that it was unaware of any expansion plans on INCO’s part into New Caledonia. This may have changed. We would therefore appreciate it if you could inform us whether you are considering providing support for this project, or whether you have perhaps already declined support.
We are writing to express our deep concern about this proposed mine and about its significant environmental and social impacts as well as the significant financial and political risks involved with this project.
We are enclosing, in Appendix A, more details regarding environmental, financial, social, and health risks – including newly leaked documents regarding the potential risk from asbestos exposure -- associated with this mining operation. We would appreciate it if you brought these details to the attention of your environmental unit.
Coordinator, NGO Working Group on EDC
Attachments (prepared by Environmental Defense):
Appendix A: Environmental, Social, Political, Financial and Health Risks Potentially Associated with Inco's Goro Nickel Mine Operations
Appendix B: Toxicity of Antigorite [Asbestos] at Mine Site