On October 19, citizens all over the world came together to call for a moratorium on fracking, as well as other oil and gas stimulation activities that threaten human health and the environment.
In California, recently passed SB4 aims to regulate this kind of oil and gas development. But with Global Frackdown, citizens are instead calling for a moratorium on fracking -- perhaps because the track record of state enforcement across the country has shown state regulation is tantamount to no regulation at all. So with their call for a moratorium, communities are demanding their health be protected as a first priority, ahead of corporate profits.
A few years ago, when the movie Avatar was wowing audiences across the world, an indigenous community in India was embroiled in a struggle that paralleled that of the Na'vi : A group of people protecting their spiritually rich natural resources against a multinational corporation bent on extracting those resources. Campaigners cannily dubbed the issue the "real-life Avatar."
If you believe corporate accountability for human rights violations is a good thing, you'll love this news: Industry interest groups looking to tie up the Dodd Frank conflict minerals rule in court lost. This week, a federal court upheld the SEC rule that requires corporations to publicly disclose whether the minerals they source have helped finance armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Every year in Papua New Guinea, South African mining company Durban Roodepoort Deep Ltd (DRD Gold) dumps more than 160,000 tons of contaminated mine waste directly into the Auga-Angabanga river system.
Even worse, DRD Gold transports everything to and from the Tolukuma Gold Mine (TGM) by helicopter, including cyanide which is used for ore extraction. This risky transportation system failed in 2000 when one ton of cyanide was dropped from a helicopter over the Yaloge River Valley on the way to the mine. Community members attribute up to six deaths to the cyanide spill.
There are varied definitions for conflict minerals. I usually define conflict minerals as minerals that are mined and used to influence and finance armed conflict, human rights abuses, and violence.
I also like Global Witness’ definition of “conflict resources” as “natural resources whose systematic exploitation and trade in a context of conflict contribute to, benefit from or result in the commission of serious violations of human rights, violations of international humanitarian law or violations amounting to crimes under international law”.
Two years ago this term “conflict minerals” hit the US business community with a thud. See, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act had a small section, section 1502, that mandated companies fully understand their supply-chain and report whether or not they were using conflict minerals - in this case tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold - from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The definition used for this law is a specific one and only looks at conflict associated with minerals in the regions of eastern DRC.