Labor, Environmentalists, And Indigenous Unite To Defeat Mining

The people of the southern Argentinian province of Chubut are celebrating more than just the holidays this December. After a fierce struggle against a recently enacted zoning law that would have opened the province up to large-scale silver, copper, and lead mining by multinational corporations like Canadian Pan American Silver, the governor was ultimately forced to backtrack. The law in question, which was approved on December 15, was repealed last Tuesday, just five days later.

From the night of the approval until the afternoon of December 21, the movement against the law spread rapidly throughout the province. In a context of growing austerity, unemployment, and poverty, thousands took to the streets to make their voices heard.

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Why Thousands Of Serbians Have Been Rallying Against Rio Tinto

For two weekends in a row, thousands of demonstrators across Serbia have blocked major roads and brought the country to a standstill, concerned their land, water and air risk being exploited.

They’re angry over what they’re calling a looming ecological disaster, and accusing the government of attempting to pass laws that would allow foreign investors to seize land, and disregard environmental regulations.

The most famous name among those investors is Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto, which plans to build Europe’s largest lithium mine in the Jadar Valley near the western city of Loznica.

The Serbian government decided on Wednesday to suspend two laws that would help Rio Tinto launch the mine, but tensions between it and protesters remain.

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Rio Tinto Workers Strike In British Columbia

Around 900 workers walked off the job at mining conglomerate Rio Tinto’s aluminium smelting facility in Kitimat and power plant in Kemano, British Columbia early Sunday morning. The workers, for whom Unifor Local 2301 is the bargaining agent, are striking against the highly profitable company’s ever-expanding use of temporary contract labour and its refusal to grant workers hired since 2019 defined-benefit pensions.

Talks between the Australia-based multinational, which is the third-largest mining corporation in the world, and union representatives began on June 7. Management immediately made clear its determination to enforce aggressive cost-cutting measures, even though the company raked in net profits of US $9.8 billion in 2020.

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Pueblo Of Zuni Blasts Administration’s Position Against Apaches

The Pueblo of Zuni would be remiss in this context to remain silent on the recent legal position taken by the Biden-Harris Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding Chi’chil Bildagoteel (i.e., Oak Flat) and the Resolution Copper mine in Arizona. The Administration’s stated position is unfortunate and extremely troubling, as it is in fact little more than a continuation of a policy of containment and erasure of Native peoples that directly contradicts in substance, content, and spirit the Administration’s own E.O. 13985. This position is a reinforcement and reproduction of racist legal legacies of Native dispossession in the United States that gives preference to and promotes resource extraction and environmental destruction to the detriment of the capacities Native people indelibly require for any advancement or support of equity.

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Alabama Miners Reject Tentative Agreement, Continue Strike

Striking mine workers at Warrior Met Coal overwhelmingly voted down the tentative agreement reached earlier this week between UMWA and the company. Workers will continue the strike until the contract addresses the central demands for better wages and conditions that workers have been demanding.

The results of the vote were overwhelming. A miner’s facebook group highlights that at one mine, the “no” votes were unanimous. In another, the vote was 256 No to 7 Yes. This is what a landslide looks like. The workers want to continue the strike until they get a better contract.

These workers have been on the picket lines for over a week and show no signs of stopping. Their struggle is strong, their conviction is stronger and the strike has the strength to be victorious.

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Tribal Nations Fight Proposed Gold Mine Near Death Valley

Lone Pine, CA – Perched high in the craggy Inyo Mountains, between the dusty Owens Valley floor and Death Valley National Park, looms a rugged, nearly roadless chunk of desert terrain teeming with wildlife and scarred by mining operations.

Conglomerate Mesa’s charcoal smelters helped give birth 150 years ago to the nearby rip-roaring silver town of Cerro Gordo, where ingots were produced and shipped off to the small pueblo of Los Angeles by steamboat and a 20-mule team.

Now, the 22,500-acre tableau of Joshua trees, piñon pines and limestone boulders bristling with fossil shells is turning to mining again. Spurred by the rising price of gold, K2 Gold Corp., of Vancouver, Canada, is drilling and trenching in hopes of selling its findings or partnering with a bigger company that would, perhaps, transform the public lands into an open pit cyanide heap leach mine, just a few miles from Death Valley.

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USDA Pauses Land Transfer Of Oak Flat To Mining Company

Washington, DC – Citing the Presidential Memorandum signed by President Joe Biden on Jan. 26 on tribal consultation and strengthening nation to nation relationships, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has put on hold the transfer of 5,439 acres of high-value conservation land in Arizona to Resolution Copper.

The acres include Chich’il Bildagoteel, known as Oak Flat, which is the heart of several southwest tribal religious and cultural beliefs.

During the last days of the Trump administration, federal officials attempted to speed up the transfer to Resolution Copper that would mine the land. On January 15, 2021, five days before Trump left the presidency, the Tonto National Forest released the Resolution Copper Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and draft Record of Decision (ROD) for objection.

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Protecting The Peatlands

In September, Kona Barreda, a teacher in the northern community of Air Ronge, was working on a lesson about “finding the courage” for her Grade 7 class when she came across a proposal from Quebec-based company Lambert Peat Moss Inc. The company had outlined its plan, with a timeline of 80 years, to mine peat in four designated areas south of nearby La Ronge, an area covering about 2,619 hectares. Shocked by the implications, Barreda, a Woodland Cree woman, started asking people in the community if they had heard about the project. Although Lambert claimed to have distributed letters among residents, no one Barreda spoke to had received one. Hoping to teach her students how to find the courage to fight for a cause, even when the opponent is a multimillion-dollar mining company, Barreda and the Grade 7 class launched a petition demanding that Lambert leave the northern Saskatchewan muskegs alone.

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Mary River Mine Protesters End Blockade, Announce Next Steps

After a week of blockading an airstrip and road to an iron mine on north Baffin Island, a small group of protesters are packing up their tents.

That’s according to protesters’ spokesperson Marie Naqitarvik, wife of protester Tom Naqitarvik.

She sent out a news release late Feb. 10, announcing the group would be decamping and moving to an observation position at a nearby hunting cabin, before heading to Pond Inlet Saturday to prepare for face-to-face meetings with community leaders and Inuit organizations.

The protesters call themselves the Nuluujaat Land Guardians, and they have been blocking access to Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s Mary River iron mine since the evening of Feb. 4.

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Protesters Say Mine Expansion Ignores Nunavut Agreement

Protests continue in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, on Saturday, as a two-week environmental hearing on an expansion at the Mary River iron ore mine wraps up.   

At noon Saturday, around 50 residents gathered outside the community hall where the hearings are happening. It was – 32 C with the windchill, according to Environment Canada.  

“We protested and chanted, ‘Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, protect our rights, protect our people, protect our animals’,” said resident Sheena Akoomalik. 

At the protest, she brandished a copy of the Nunavut Agreement. She said the legal agreement between Nunavut Inuit and the Canadian government, and its protections for land and harvesting rights, are being ignored. 

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Emotional Court Hearing Over Proposed Copper Mine At Oak Flat Sacred Site

Opponents of a copper mine project that would obliterate an Apache sacred site east of Phoenix asked a federal judge Wednesday to stop work on the project.

The group Apache Stronghold filed the first in a series of three lawsuits Jan. 12 to stop Resolution Copper from proceeding with a huge copper mine below Oak Flat, a site deemed sacred to many Apaches and other Southwestern tribes.

The suit was filed three days before the Forest Service issued the final environmental impact statement regarding the mine project on Jan. 15, starting a 60-day clock on a land swap that would turn the land over to Resolution. 

The site, currently a Forest Service campground, sits about 5 miles east of Superior just off U.S. Highway 60.

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Corporations Battle Apache Tribes To Build North America’s Biggest Copper Mine

“This place is very holy and religious to us.”

Wendsler Nosie Senior, an elder of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, is describing his people’s land, Oak Flat or Chi’chil Bildagoteel, in the Arizona desert in the US south-west.

The site in the Tonto National Forest is a popular camping and hiking ground and contains sacred cultural heritage locations that include rock carvings, burial sites and the Apache Leap, where Apache warriors jumped to their death after being driven to the edge of the cliff by the US cavalry.

But earlier this month, in the dying days of the Trump administration, the US Government handed over Oak Flat to two of the world’s biggest mining companies, Rio Tinto and BHP.

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Activists Occupy Site Of Proposed Lithium Mine In Nevada

On Friday, January 15th, two activists drove eight hours from Eugene, Oregon, to a remote corner of public land in Nevada, where they pitched a tent in below-freezing temperatures and unfurled a banner declaring: “Protect Thacker Pass.” You’ll be forgiven if you’ve never heard of the place—it’s seriously in the boonies—but these activists, Will Falk and Max Wilbert, hope to make it into a household name.

One of the activists is Will Falk, a writer and lawyer who helped bring a suit to US District Court seeking personhood for the Colorado River in 2017. He describes himself as a “biophilic essayist” and he certainly lyrical in describing the area where they set up.

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Indigenous Land Grab On The Horizon

BHP and Rio Tinto, two of the world’s largest resource extraction companies, have earned themselves a solid reputation for obliterating native lands and communities throughout the world. Leaders in the international mining market, the British-Australian companies are globally condemned for their labor, environmental and human rights abuses. Today, they’re hard at work to expand that reputation to Arizona, where their jointly-owned company Resolution Copper advances toward the destruction of ancestral Apache land Oak Flat.

Following the outcry caused by Rio Tinto’s deliberate gutting of 46,000-year-old Aboriginal sacred site Juukan Gorge in Western Australia, Rio Tinto and BHP voiced public concessions to work cooperatively with First Nations. 

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Apache Stronghold Lawsuit Over Oak Flat Halts Transfer To Mining Company

Apache Stronghold, on behalf of traditional Apache religious and cultural leaders, placed a lien on Oak Flat on Wednesday, January 13, with the Pinal County Recorder’s Office.  The lien prevents the planned transfer of Oak Flat, or Chi’chil Bildagoteel, to a foreign mining company until the recently filed ongoing Apache Stronghold lawsuit is finalized.

The lien and one of the lawsuit claims are based on the Treaty of Santa Fe of 1852 between the United States and the Apache which promises that Apache lands, at the center of which lies Chi’chil Bildagoteel, are to remain in Apache ownership.  The Treaty of Santa Fe is still in force.

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