During these last few hours of 2014, it's a perfect time to reflect on the signs of hope and the abject fails provided by the multinational mining industry.
We leave it to you, dear reader, to decide whether the good outweighs the bad or vice versa.
Top 5 fails:
- Canadian miner sues Costa Rica for choosing environment over mining
In January, Canadian mining company Infinito Gold sued the government of Costa Rica under a trade treaty for rejecting a proposed mine that would have been built in a pristine forest area that is home to endangered species.
- Soma mine explosion, Turkey
In May, an explosion at a coal mine in Turkey resulted in the worst mine disaster in Turkey’s history, resulting in an underground fire that burned for 2 days and killed 301 mineworkers.
- Mount Polley tailings spill, BC, Canada
In August, Imperial Metals’ copper and gold mine in British Columbia poured 25 million liters of arsenic, lead and nickel contaminated mine waste into Polley and Quesnal Lakes.
Buenavista del Cobre sulfuric acid disaster, Sonora, Mexico
In September, Grupo Mexico’s copper mine in Sonora leaked 10 million gallons of sulfuric acid and other chemicals into local waterways, contaminating the water supplies of 25,000 people, causing “the worst ecological disaster in Mexican history.”
- Ecuadorean mining activist José Isidro Tendetza murdered
In late November, indigenous Shuar leader and anti-mining activist José Isidro Tendetza was murdered while on his way to a meeting of protestors against the Chinese-owned Mirador copper and gold mine in Ecuador.
Top 5 signs of hope:
- Dongria Kondh tribe in India defeats UK bauxite mining proposal
In January, the Dongria Kondh tribe in eastern India won a huge victory when the Indian government and Supreme Court rejected UK mining company Vedanta’s proposal to build a bauxite mine on tribal lands.
- Prosperity mine project canceled in British Columbia
In February, the Canadian government rejected an open-pit gold and copper mine due to environmental concerns and sustained opposition from the Tsilhqot’in First Nation.
- 100 retailers say “No” to dirty metals
In February, just in time for Valentine’s Day, the No Dirty Gold campaign announced that 100 jewelry and other retailers had committed to more responsible metals sourcing.
- Pebble mine proposal in Alaska on its last legs
Mining giants Anglo American and Rio Tinto both pulled out of the proposed Pebble mine project in Alaska, and in July, the U.S. Environmental Policy released its plan to restrict mine waste disposal in the Bristol Bay watershed where the giant mine would be built.
- IRMA draft Standard for Responsible Mining released
The multistakeholder Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), an effort to establish strong environmental, social and human rights standards for mining and independent, third-party verification of compliance, released its draft Standard in July.