Lake Issyk Kul

The Kumtor gold mine, operated by Centerra Gold, is located 4,000 meters above sea-level in the permafrost and glaciers of the Tien-Shan Mountains. The mine has endangered the welfare of nearby communities and the environment. In May of 1998, a truck crashed through a bridge near the village of Barskaun and dumped over 1.7 tons of sodium cyanide (and 935 kg of cyanide) into the Barskaun River. The company did not notify residents of Barskaun, who use the water for drinking and irrigation, until 5 hours after the accident. As a result, over 2,500 people were poisoned, 850 people were hospitalized and at least four of those patients died.

The Ahafo gold mine, Newmont's first mine in Ghana, has been implicated in human rights abuses and irresponsible practices since before it began operating in 2006. The mine is located in a farming region northwest of the country's capital Accra and has caused major displacement and social impacts.

In October, 2009, a cyanide spill occurred at the Ahafo mine that killed a large number of fish and threatened the water of local communities. A Ghanaian Ministerial Panel that evaluated the spill and its aftermath recommended that the company be fined $4.9 million for failing to prevent the spill or to properly report on and investigate the spill.

Rosia Montana

Located in the Apuseni mountains of west central Romania, the Rosia Montana project would have become Europe's largest open-pit gold mine operation if constructed by Toronto-based Gabriel Resources. But thanks to widespread opposition and court challenges by Alburnus Maior, a local community group, the Romanian government halted the approval process for the project in 2007, forcing Gabriel Resources to reconsider its mine plans and scale back its activities. The government of Romania, and the European Parliament, have also considered measures to ban cyanide mining, which would probably shut down the project for good.

Western Shoshone Nation

The story of the Western Shoshone is a long lesson in the ways that law can fail indigenous people threatened by mineral interests. The ancestral territory of this native American people encompasses an area stretching from southern Idaho, through eastern Nevada, to the Mojave Desert of California. Underneath this swath of over 240 thousand square kilometers (over 60 million acres) lie billions of dollars worth of gold. Nearly 10 percent of the world's gold production -- and 64 percent of US production -- comes from Western Shoshone land.

We can't do this without you!

Donate now!

Donate Now

Despite heated opposition from local communities, Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation began production in an open pit gold mine in the Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve in the Birim North District in the Eastern region of Ghana.

The mine occupies an area 1.65 miles long (2.6 km) and a half mile across (.8 km), and would create waste piles 60-100 m high. The mine would destroy an estimated 183 acres (74 ha) of forest in the reserve, threatening the Reserve's noted diverse wildlife and plant species, including several rare species of birds, amphibians, and mammals, and displacing the farming communities that live around the forest.

Espolon Valley

Residents of Chilean Patagonia's Espolon Valley fear that a gold, copper and silver mining project backed by Canadian company Kinross Gold Corporation and US company Geocom Resources Inc. could destroy much of the area's renowned wilderness and harm it's flourishing eco-tourism and fishing industry.

Kinross and Geocom have acquired a total of 14 square miles (3,800 hectares) of mining claims in the Espolon Valley in Provincia de Palena in Chile's Region de Los Lagos. The Espolon mining claim was explored in 2005 and 2006 by Geocom, and the companies then elevated the the claim to formal venture status in September 2007.

The northwest slope of the Ecuadorian Andes is known as the Intag. Since the 1990s, the Ecuadorian government, with the support of the World Bank, has promoted large scale metal mining in the area.

Mitsubishi Rebuffed
Mitsubishi arrived to Intag in 1993 and began exploring a deposit of copper, molybdenum, and gold. It left four years later -- after local communities burned the company's mining camp (after removing, inventorying, and later returning its contents).

DISH, Texas

A struggle with toxics in the Barnett Shale

By Megan Collins

A house in the country

I had always hoped for a nice, quiet, country setting where we could raise our children. Little did I know it would be the cause of unexplained illnesses and heartache.

In 2004, my husband Mike and I found this quiet little cul de sac in the small town of Clarke, Texas now known as DISH. At the time there were only two homes built, so we met with the builder and picked what we thought was the perfect lot. Just beyond the back fence there stood a single natural gas compressor station.