Ada Tepe gold mine

Dundee Precious Metals
CPP: $11 million [1]

Dundee Precious Metals hopes to construct the Ada Tepe gold mine in the East Rhodopi mountains, near the town of Krumovgrad.  A substantial majority of local residents, concerned about the mine’s impact on agriculture, tourism and historic monuments, oppose the project.  In 2005, the Municipal Council of Krumovgrad passed a resolution rejecting the project on environmental grounds.[2]  Nearly 10,000 people, representing close to 90% of eligible voters, endorsed the resolution by signing the document.[3]  In July 2006, Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court blocked a complaint brought by the company against the Environment Ministry for its failure to issue a decision regarding the company’s environmental impact assessment.[4]

Monywa copper mine

Burma Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.
CPP: $32 million [1]

Burma is ruled by a repressive military junta.  The government, which is accused of committing egregious human rights violations, is the subject of international sanctions.  In 1990, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi handily won Burma’s first multi-party elections in 30 years.  The junta refused to relinquish control and has detained Aung San Suu Kyi for years.  In 1991 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[2]  Since 1996, Ivanhoe has invested over $90 million in a 50-50 joint venture with the ruling junta to develop the Monywa mine.[3]  The company reports that it consulted with the Canadian government before initiating business with the military regime.[4]  

Marcopper Copper Mines

The Philippines
Placer Dome Inc. (Placer Dome was acquired by Barrick Gold Corp. in 2006)
EDC: US$1.36 million loan [1]
ADB:  US$40 million loan [2]
CPP: $351 million (Barrick) [3]
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.[4]  Both the Mogpog and Boac Rivers have been literally overrun with toxic waste.[5]  Two children died when they were buried in the Mogpog mine waste spill.[6]  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.[7]  Placer Dome denies responsibility for these environmental disasters[8] 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.[9]

Udon Thani Potash Mine

Asia Pacific Resources Ltd. (Asia Pacific was acquired by SMRT Holdings, a New Brunswick company, in 2006)

Critics are concerned that the Udon Thani mine will generate significant salt pollution, destroying farmland and water sources, affecting the source of livelihood for 20,000 people.[1]  Even the company’s environmental assessment, which has been criticized by Thai academics, politicians and environmentalists, predicts that land in the concession area will sink as much as 70 cm.[2]   The Asia Times reports that leaders of the Udon Thani Conservation Group, who question the project, have received death threats from representatives of companies that were promised contracts for the mine by Asia Pacific.[3]

Gross Rosebel Gold Mine

Cambior Inc.
EDC: $100(+) million political risk insurance[1]
CPP: $14 million[2]

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.”[3] Maroon authorities were not consulted about the project, and groups within the community vociferously oppose relocation.[4]  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.[5] 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.[6] 

Cortez Gold Mine

United States of America
Placer Dome (Placer Dome was acquired by Barrick Gold Corp. in 2006)
CPP: $351 million (Barrick)[1]

The Cortez gold mine is located in the ancestral territory of the Western Shoshone indigenous people. The Shoshone argue that the mine, which was constructed without their free, prior and informed consent, violates their treaty rights.[2] In 2006, the United Nations called on the U.S. government to immediately cease the transfer of Shoshone land to multinational extractive companies, a practice that the UN argued could cause irreparable harm to indigenous communities.[3]

Cerro San Pedro Gold and Silver Mine

Metallica Resources Inc.

When Metallica arrived in Cerro de San Pedro in 1995 to build an open pit mine, local residents, human rights organizations and environmental groups formed the Broad Opposition Front (FAO) to halt the operation that they say would destroy their 400-year old town.  The company’s own environmental impact assessment reveals that if built, the mine would require the relocation of the community and would cause “significant adverse” impact to the area’s only aquifer.[1] The latter is of particular concern.  Water is extremely scarce in the State of San Luis Potosi and the National Water Commission of Mexico reports that it is already being exploited at an unsustainable rate.[2]  Local residents, whose property has been adversely affected by Metallica’s exploration activities, have sued the Government of Mexico over its decision to issue the company a permit.[3]  

Uktal Bauxite Mine and Alumina Refinery

Alcan Inc.
CPP: $256 million[1]

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.[2] Local residents have organized massive mobilizations against the project.[3] Opponents describe a climate of fear and hostility, and claim that they routinely meet with police repression.[4] In 2000, three protesters were killed and several others injured.[5] Alcan suspended operations after the incident until it was satisfied that local authorities would responsibly enforce the law and keep order.[6] 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.[7] 

Pascua Lama Gold Mine

Barrick Gold Corp.
$351 million[1]

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.[2] Barrick’s original plan to relocate portions of several glaciers[3] 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.[4] However, a government report reveals that exploration activity may already have caused significant damage to several glaciers.[5] The Indigenous Diaguita community of Huasco-Altino claims that the concession includes part of its ancestral territory and is suing to recover the land.[6]