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

Thailand
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]

Ada Tepe gold mine

Bulgaria
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
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]  

Los Frailes Lead and Zinc Mine

Spain
Boliden Ltd.

The 1998 failure of the tailings dam at the Los Frailes mine wreaked widespread environmental havoc. The toxic mine wastes that were released caused a massive fish kill, damaged thousands of acres of farmland,[1] threatened a United Nations World Heritage Site[2] and eliminated 5,000 local jobs.[3] The Government of Spain spent $275 million cleaning up the waste.[4] The company is challenging a high court decision awarding the government $74 million in compensation and damages.[5] 

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

Omai Gold Mine

Guyana
Cambior Inc. and Golden Star Resources Ltd.
EDC:
$163 million political risk insurance[1]
MIGA:
reinsured $55 million
CPP:
$21 million (Cambior)
$14 million (Golden Star)[2]

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.[3]

Don Mario Gold Mine

Bolivia
Orvana Minerals Corp.
IFC: issued loans to and held equity in COMSUR,[1] a Bolivian company that was an Orvana shareholder until 2005[2]

The Don Mario mine is located in the heart of the Chiquitano Dry Forest.[3] This rare, globally significant ecosystem supports the headwaters of the Pantanal wetlands and is home to numerous endemic species.[4]  The Pantanal is one of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystems, recognized by UNESCO and the Ramsar Convention.[5]  The area is also of great cultural, economic and social importance to the Chiquitano indigenous people.[6]  In a complaint filed with the World Bank’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, an indigenous organization argued that the mine violates the rights of over 7000 indigenous communities.[7] Among other shortcomings, the ombudsman found that indigenous people were not adequately consulted by the project proponents.[8]

Sadiola Gold Mine

Mali
IAMGOLD Corp.
IFC: owns 6% of the operating company
CPP: $38 million[1]

Two villages were displaced in order to make way for the Sadiola mine.  The vast majority of relocated agriculturalists and pastoralists who did not possess title to their lands have seen their livelihoods diminish.  Replacement lands are less fertile and some are located far from villages.  Water resources are scarce.  Natural areas used by locals have been degraded through deforestation caused by the mine.  Mine workers live in poor conditions and locals report a rise in prostitution, alcoholism, drug use and the spread of HIV/AIDS since the arrival of gold mining.[2]

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