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Dear Friend,

Today, on Human Rights Day, we are reminded that a world that fully respects human rights is key to a Just Recovery. The COVID-19 crisis is a call for individual and collective action. We now have an opportunity – and an imperative – to respond, recover, and rebuild on the basis of principles and values that put people and the planet first.
A Just Recovery for the work of MiningWatch Canada is based on three pillars: 

  1. Prevention of mining harms: There is an urgent need to reduce the demand for primary mining and to ensure better conditions for sourcing primary metals, including the promotion of low-carbon/low-material solutions to fight climate change. 
  2. Corporate accountability and access to justice: Corporations must be subject to stricter regulations and enforcement mechanisms, including human rights due diligence. In addition, those harmed by mining must have access to redress through legal avenues and robust remedy mechanisms. 
  3. Protection of the rights to self-determination and community consent: Mining projects must have social licence. There should be no barriers for frontline communities to exercise their rights to self-determination and free, prior and informed consent. 

We must seize opportunities to build solidarity and community with those most affected. We invite you to join the movement for a Just Recovery by taking part in the following actions.

Ask the B.C. Government to Reform its Mining Laws

Mining is an inherently destructive process that can cause long-lasting pollution and damage wildlife habitat and human health. Mining pollution can also impose direct costs on local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and on taxpayers who often bear the costs of mine cleanup. In British Columbia, it is not mandatory for companies to pay a bond for cleanup. In 2018, B.C. had a $1.2 billion liability gap between reclamation estimates and the actual funds collected by the province. The Tulsequah Chief mine in the far northwest will cost as much as $100 million for cleanup, and taxpayers may have to foot the bill.

As part of our work with the B.C. Mining Law Reform Network, we are calling for the effective implementation of the “polluter pays” principle in B.C.’s mining laws. Just as “The Campsite Rule” asks any user of B.C. Parks to leave the environment intact when they leave the campground, we are asking the industry to pay up front the full remediation costs for when they leave the mine sites, as well as for any possible damages caused to the environment, local communities and third parties.
Spread the word with this video “Polluters Should Pay: Apply the Campsite Rule” and sign the petition to make sure polluters actually pay. 

Acid mine drainage at the Tulsequah Chief mine. Credit: Chris Miller.

Call on the Canadian Government to Uphold Human Rights in the Philippines

MiningWatch and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP-Canada) have launched an electronic Parliamentary petition in response to extrajudicial attacks and human rights defenders in the Philippines since 2016. Canada is implicated in these human rights abuses, both through the role Canadian mining companies play in the country and through Canada’s military and development aid to the Philippines.
Canadian company OceanaGold’s copper-gold project in the village of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, has long been accused of serious human rights and environmental abuses. In 2018, local indigenous people, who have peacefully opposed the mine for years, were falsely accused of sedition against the state, making them targets for extrajudicial killings, and then this year a large police force violently dispersed a peaceful and authorized blockade of a road to the mine, even though the mine has been without a permit to operate since June of 2019. Even as the human rights situation has steadily deteriorated, Canada has continued to provide military aid to the Philippines.

Canada falls short in protecting Philippine human rights defenders both at the consular level in the Philippines and through its corporate accountability mechanisms at home. Join the call to the Canadian government to uphold human rights and impose rules for Canadian business operating overseas.

Sign used at protest in the Malabing Valley in Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines.

Tell Solaris Resources to Respect Indigenous Rights in 


MiningWatch has been supporting the Indigenous resistance by the Shuar Arutam People (PSHA) against Solaris Resources’ Warintza project in Southern Ecuador. The PSHA has formally rejected mining projects in their territory due to their unique and fragile ecosystems and have declared Warintza a protected area. 
Over the course of the year, Solaris Resources have engaged in a series of actions that contravene the principles inherent in a prior, free and informed consultation process. In March, at the conference of PDAC (Prospectors and Developer Association of Canada), Solaris presented the results of an alleged “prior consultation process” wherein two communities supposedly participated. And in September, the company issued a press release announcing the signing of Impacts and Benefits Agreements with the same communities. The PSHA has condemned these processes as they do not respect the political organization of communities in the region and are producing heightened tensions and security risks within the community. 
Take action to support the Shuar Arutam People and tell Solaris Resources to respect their rights to self-determination by signing on to this letter campaign.

Assembly of Shuar Arutam People present complaint against Solaris Resources to the International Labour Organization.

Call on Canadian Banks to Demand that Equinox Gold Negotiate in Good Faith in Mexico

On September 3, 2020, the Ejido of Carrizalillo shut down Equinox Gold’s Los Filos mine in Guerrero, México after two months of failed attempts at dialogue to address racist and discriminatory treatment, as well as breaches of their social cooperation agreement. This is the longest-running strike since the mine started operating in 2007. Instead of genuine efforts to achieve talks over a new agreement with the community, Equinox Gold, has resorted to provocation and threats, and is even suing the Ejido in Mexican courts.
BMO, CIBC, Scotiabank and the National Bank of Canada are funding this unnecessary conflict having participated in a $500 million credit agreement with Equinox in March 2020. These banks have a responsibility to demand Equinox stop putting communities, and investors, at risk.

Call on BMO, CIBC, Scotiabank, and the National Bank of Canada by participating in this urgent action to demand that Equinox negotiate in good faith without threats.

Community members look on Los Filos open pit mine in Guerrero, Mexico. Credit: Christian Leyva

Thank you for standing with us in 2020 and for working together towards a Just Recovery that is sustainable and equitable for all.

Please consider supporting our work by making a one-time donation or a regular monthly donation.
If you are already a donor – thank you!! But please do consider whether you can top it up, or better yet, get more people to donate!
Copyright © 2020 MiningWatch Canada, All rights reserved.

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