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]

Tambogrande Gold and Silver Mine

Manhattan Minerals

When Manhattan Minerals proposed an open pit gold mine in the town of Tambogrande, local residents came together and stopped the project. The San Lorenzo valley is a lush oasis in Peru’s barren desert coast. The area was transformed into an important agricultural centre with the installation of a World Bank-financed irrigation system. Area residents were concerned that the environmental risks associated with gold mining would threaten their thriving agricultural economy. The municipality held a popular referendum on the proposed project – the first referendum of its kind in the world. The vote, which was monitored by international observers, registered virtually unanimous opposition to the mine. The Tambogrande referendum, which played a vital part in halting the project, has since been replicated by other communities[1] threatened by mining projects.[2] 

PT Inco Nickel Mine and Smelter

Inco Ltd.
EDC: loans of $60 and $200 million[1]
CPP: $130 million[2]

For thirty years Inco enjoyed a cozy relationship with the repressive and corrupt Suharto regime.[3]

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.[4] Mining activity has degraded land and water resources,[5] and initial monitoring suggests that smelter emissions affect air quality in neighbouring communities.[6] 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.[7]

Simiti Gold Mine


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.[1]

Bulyanhulu Gold Mine


Sutton Resources Ltd. Mine acquired by Barrick Gold Corp. in 1999.

EDC: $173 million political risk insurance[1]

MIGA: US$172 million guarantees[2]

CPP: $351 million[3]

Bulyanhulu is among the most controversial Canadian mining operations in the world.  Artisanal miners were forcibly evicted from the concession area by Tanzanian troops in 1996 when the concession was held by Barrick’s predecessor, Sutton Resources.[4] A storm of allegations surround the evictions including one that as many as 52 miners were buried in mine shafts.[5] Barrick denies these allegations. A former Tanzanian Attorney General and an international team of researchers, lawyers and NGOs have called for an independent inquiry into the evictions.[6] The World Bank Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) found that the evidence regarding the alleged deaths was unconvincing and did not recommend an independent inquiry, deferring this decision to the Government of Tanzania.[7] No inquiry has been held, and the CAO report has been widely criticized by NGOs.[8]   

Los Frailes Lead and Zinc Mine

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]