Mining the Earth: 16 Dec 2014
40 Years of Resistance on Black Mesa
*UN. Sweden is urging a new UN investigation into the 1961 death of respected UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold. New evidence has come to light, governments are being asked to release pertinent info from their secret archives (including CIA and NSA). And what does this have to do with mining? Well, Hammarskjold was negotiating between the Congolese government and rebels, mercenaries and mining corporations, particularly Belgium’s Union Miniere, in Katanga province when his UN plane was shot down under mysterious circumstances.
*US. SunCoke Energy is cutting US production “by more than 50%” due to losses and while trying to figure out how to “sell all or a portion of our Coal Mining business”.
*AZ. Major government-corporate cluster-you-know-what over at the Black Mesa mines results in grievous harm to Navajo and Hopi peoples. And now, Peabody coal wants a “lifetime mining permit” there. Sierra Club has joined Native Americans in a federal suit over this mess.
*AZ. The stealthy move to ensure block-cave mining by an Australian-British Rio Tinto subsidiary, Resolution Copper, on 2,400 acres of Apache sacred land succeeded. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) sugar-coated this very bitter pill by claiming it is “a game-changer for an area of Arizona facing grave economic challenges”—as though there are no better, earth-friendly ways to meet those economic challenges. Update: Local reaction to passage of this thing.
*CO. Canada’s Cline Mining Co., owner of New Elk coal mine near Trinidad, has filed for bankruptcy protection.
*CO. In contrast to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’s actions (see AZ above), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) fought to preserve “more than 100,000 acres of wilderness in southwest Colorado”. And won.
*PA. A couple has sued the Eighty Four Mining Co for “loss of enjoyment of their dream home [since they have been] without a potable water source for more than six years”. State tests determined the water was “not fit for human consumption”. E-coli.
*WI. Yeah, its inadequate franc sand mining rules expired 9 months ago and, nope, they haven’t gotten around to writing new ones, but the WI Dept. of Natural Resources continues to allow new frac sand mining operations all the same.
*WV. Alpha Natural Resources has reached an agreement that requires the company to meet Clean Water Act provisions from its four mountaintop removal coal mines. Amazing that in 2010 EPA discovered no Appalachia mining permits “took steps to prevent pollution that increases conductivity in streams”. Alpha agreed to the provisions, but without endorsing anything pertaining to “methods for measuring stream health.”
*WV. Another suit concerning stream conductivity (see above) is underway, this one against Patriot Coal Corp’s subsidiary Hobet Mining. “[M]ultiple ongoing violations of West Virginia’s . . . water quality standards at the mine complex” in Boone County.
*Canada. Members of the James Bay Cree Nation have arrived in Montreal, after their 850-km/528-mi march “to protest against uranium exploration and mining in Quebec.” Crees are opposed to uranium mining because it “would invade their territory, pollute the environment and threaten their traditional way of life.” Investments in uranium mining in Quebec have been falling for years now—with Strateco actually seeking $190 million in compensation for having its aspirations blocked.
*Canada. The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw First Nations have “published a new set of guidelines for mining and exploration” that cover territories of four bands near Williams Lake. No doubt there will be lawsuits.
*Nicaragua. Some 7,000 Nicaraguans have been “scheduled for removal to clear a path for Central America’s second interoceanic canal [with the] Nicaraguan Army . . . already providing security for Chinese canal firm HKND”. A villager in Obrajuelo said, “They want to run us off our properties—to scatter us like birds without a nest. . . . we would rather die here fighting than get forced off our [ancestral] land.” Apparently, the whole thing is shrouded in mystery—to be followed by misery. More, including Chinese capital’s push into Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
*Colombia. “Armed men” reportedly attacked the house of environmentalist Fernando Jaramillo in Jerico after Jaramilio published a newspaper article critical of the mayor’s support for mining. One of the attackers was identified as the mayor’s driver.
*Peru. 62% of Peruvian exports are from mining and petroleum, which also account for 75% of foreign investment in the country. Intense conflict over mining in the past. Quiruvilca, where Toronto’s Barrick Gold operates a copper mine, has benefitted from the “hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and royalties” paid to local government. Nonetheless, “unemployment and poverty remain endemic.” No jobs, people displaced, and now shantytowns. Don’t miss the video near the article’s end.
*Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Costa Rica have pledged to plant “hundreds of millions of trees and save over 1bn tonnes of CO2 a year—by 2020.
*India. Concern as the Indian government re-examines its relationship to coal following the Supreme Court’s decision to denationalize it. Some unions are already protesting the decision, while lawmakers debate how to handle the issue, including whether to nationalize or seizing it as “an opportunity to recast the [coal] sector.”
*India. While some are flirting with commercialization of the coal sector, the Steel & Mines Minister “has called for improved co-ordination between Centre and states to check illegal mining.” Among priorities in his efforts to improve relations with the states is “giving importance to environment concerns”.