Liberals ‘seriously’ considering mining ombudsperson, says federal corporate social responsibility adviser

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 12:00 AM
The Liberal government is “seriously reviewing” the creation of an ombudsperson to investigate Canadian companies implicated in wrongdoing abroad, says Canada’s corporate social responsibility counsellor for the extractive sector, Jeffrey Davidson.
After a year of getting its feet wet and dealing with top priorities, the government has turned its attention to Mr. Davidson’s office and the corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies of the previous Conservative government, he said in an interview with The Hill Times last week.
“[They’re] working through how they want to deal with this whole issue: the CSR issue, the conduct of Canadian companies overseas, not just in the extractives, but across sectors, and what they should do…above and beyond what exists,” he said.
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Justin Trudeau and the Sludge of Canadian Mining Companies

NY Times
MONTREAL — “Canada is back,” says Justin Trudeau, the charismatic and bilingual prime minister of Canada, at international gatherings, seeking to showcase the imprint he wants to put on Canadian foreign policy in contrast to that of his predecessor, Stephen Harper. The prime minister has used very precise terms in his speeches: justice, environmental care, democracy and human rights. He even dared to invoke some of them during his official visit to China in September, although the Chinese did not applaud him for it.
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Enough talk, Canada needs extractive industries ombudsperson

By Jean Symes, The Hill Times, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016
The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability has just released proposed legislation that would accomplish just that.
At least 44 people killed. More than 400 people injured. Hundreds more repressed and criminalized for defending their land, their health, and their livelihoods.
These figures are not from a war, although often it feels that way to those whose lives are being described.
Rather, these shocking details of human rights abuses were all connected with the activities of Canadian mining companies, throughout 13 countries in Latin America. And they represent barely the “tip of the iceberg.”
This according to The “Canada Brand,” a report released last week by the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project out of York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School.
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Guatemalans Appeal Case Against Tahoe Resources Mining Firm in Canadian court

Today, the British Columbia Court of Appeals in Vancouver, Canada will revisit a procedural motion in the case of seven Guatemalans who have brought a civil suit for battery and negligence against Tahoe Resources. The suit concerns the mining company’s role in a violent attack in April 2013, when Tahoe’s private security opened fire on peaceful protesters outside the controversial Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala. Video footage shows that the protestors were shot at close range while attempting to flee.

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The “Canada Brand”: Violence and Canadian Mining Companies in Latin America

The “Canada Brand”: Violence and Canadian Mining Companies in Latin America

Executive Summary
The Justice and Corporate Accountability Project has documented troubling incidents of violence associated with Canadian mining companies in Latin America. In general, neither the Canadian government nor industry are monitoring or reporting on these incidents.

What we found about the degree of violence and criminalization from 2000-2015.

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Protesters set fire to mining camp in southern Peru

Protesters set fire to mining camp in southern Peru Photo credit: Correo / Rudy Huallpa
Hundreds of protesters opposed to mining in their rural province fought police and set fire to a Canadian-owned exploration camp in the southern state of Puno on Tuesday.
Residents of the Orurillo district in Puno’s Melgar province announced a two-day protest for Tuesday and Wednesday against exploration activities by Solex del Peru, a subsidiary of Canadian miner Caracara Silver.
“They want to get a mining job which affects the district. They’ve started with the mining camp without conducing informational workshops, so on Tuesday and Wednesday a strike will take place in Orurillo,” Ricardo Noriega, an environmental lawyer leading the movement, told Correo. Noriega added that the strike would be peaceful and protesters would not try to block roads.
“But we must also be ready so nothing happens where, as we have seen, the police themselves infiltrate [the protest] to commit violent acts,” Noriega said.
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Justin Trudeau y el lodo de las mineras canadienses en América Latina

Canadá está de regreso”, ha dicho Justin Trudeau —carismático y bilingüe— en reuniones internacionales, como para mostrar la impronta que quiere darle a la política exterior canadiense respecto de la de su predecesor, Stephen Harper. El primer ministro de Canadá ha empleado en sus discursos términos muy precisos: justicia, cuidado medioambiental, democracia, derechos humanos. Incluso se atrevió a evocar alguno de ellos en su visita oficial a China hace algunas semanas, pero los chinos no lo aplaudieron por eso, sino por sus sonrisas y propuestas de negocios.
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How a Russian mining company used a Canadian investment treaty to sue Venezuela for $1.5 billion

Rusoro Mining declared victory yesterday in its four-year legal battle with the government of Venezuela over the nationalization of the gold industry in 2011. The company was awarded US$1.2 billion ($1.5B) by the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
The dispute began in 2011, when then-president Hugo Chavez nationalized the Venezuelan gold industry. Despite initially cooperating with the government, Rusoro later claimed that its right to mine was expropriated without compensation. In 2012, the company launched an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) case against Venezuela under the terms of the Canada-Venezuela Foreign Investment Protection Agreement, demanding $3 billion from the government for ending its mining concessions.
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Mexico environmental agency defends oversight of Goldcorp mine

Mexico's environmental prosecutor said it had kept regular oversight of the country's largest gold mine, days after a Reuters report on a prolonged leak of contaminated water there prompted activists to accuse the agency of failing its mandate.

Environmental prosecutor Profepa said that since 2013 it had completed five "administrative proceedings" on the Penasquito mine in Zacatecas state, which is owned by Canada's Goldcorp Inc.

It did not say whether the proceedings were related to the leak

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Peru: Maxima Acuña and Partner Attacked by Mining Firm's Guards

Peru's internationally-renowned environmentalist Maxima Acuña and her partner were severely hurt Sunday morning in an attack by alleged hitmen hired by the mining company they are fighting against, reported Acuña's daughter.

At around 9.30 a.m. local time, “people hired by mining firm Yanacocha illegally broke into the property and started damaging the lot with various tools,” said Ysidora Chaupe, daughter of Acuña and Jaime Chaupe

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Maduro says Venezuela signs $4.5 billion in deals that include Canadian and U.S. miners

President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that Venezuela had struck $4.5 billion in mining deals with foreign and domestic companies, part of plan to lift the OPEC nation's economy out of a deep recession causing food shortages and social unrest.
Maduro said the deals were with Canadian, South African, U.S. and Venezuelan companies, but did not specify whether contracts had been signed or just initial agreements.

The socialist leader, whose popularity hit a nine-month low in a survey published this week, said he expected $20 billion in mining investment contracts to be signed in coming days and that 60 percent of the income Venezuela received would be spent on social projects

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Canadian company tried to stop referendum on mine in Guatemala

By MARCO CHOWN OVEDForeign Affairs Reporter,  Thu., Aug. 11, 2016
A Toronto legal aid group is calling on the American securities regulator to investigate a Canadian mining company for failing to disclose a secret lawsuit aimed at preventing a referendum on its silver mine.
Even though the 2011 suit was rejected by the Constitutional Court of Guatemala — permitting a vote that overwhelmingly rejected the mine — local human rights groups say the mine’s parent company, Vancouver-based Tahoe Resources, failed in its legal obligation to disclose the lawsuit to investors.

How a Guatemalan murder trial could forever change Canadian overseas mining

By MARINA JIMENEZForeign Affairs Writer, Mon., June 20, 2016
The murder trial at the centre of a legal battle involving Toronto-based HudBay offers a glimpse of why Ontario courts took the landmark step of hearing a Guatemalan dispute in Canada.
EL ESTOR, GUATEMALA—The murder trial of Mynor Padilla, a former security guard for a mine owned by a then subsidiary of HudBay Minerals Inc., provides a fascinating glimpse into Guatemala’s problematic justice system.
Padilla, 52, is charged with killing Adolfo Ich, a Mayan Q’eqchi’ community leader, and shooting German Chub, a bystander, during a protest on contested land at Fenix nickel mine in El Estor, in eastern Guatemala, on Sept 27, 2009. 
These alleged crimes are also at the centre of a series of landmark lawsuits in Ontario Superior Court, where HudBay, a Toronto-based company, faces three negligence claims, launched by Ich, Chub and 12 other Q’eqchi’.
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Guatemalan Women’s Claims Put Focus on Canadian Firms’ Conduct Abroad

Overseas subsidiaries have long acted as a shield for extractive companies, but cases describing negligence and rape could lead to new scrutiny.
LOTE OCHO, Guatemala — Her husband was away in the fields, she said, when the truckloads of soldiers, police officers and mining security officials arrived. A half-dozen armed men swarmed into her one-room house, blocking her exit and helping themselves to the meal she had made for her children.
For a long time, the woman, Margarita Caal Caal, did not talk about what happened next that afternoon. None of the women in this tiny village high in the hills of eastern Guatemala did, not even to each other. But that day, Mrs. Caal said, the men who had come to evict her from land they said belonged to a Canadian mining company also took turns raping her. After that, they dragged her from her home and set it ablaze.
“The fear is not over,” she said recently, staring down at her hands while her daughter served coffee to visitors. “I still fear, all the time.”
Mrs. Caal has taken her case to the courts, but not in Guatemala, where Mayan villagers like her, illiterate and living in isolated areas, have had little legal success. She has filed in Canada, where her negligence suit, Caal v. Hudbay Mineral Inc., has sent shivers through the vast Canadian mining, oil and gas industry. More than 50 percent of the world’s publicly listed exploration and mining companies had headquarters in Canada in 2013, according to government statistics. Those 1,500 companies had an interest in some 8,000 properties in more than 100 countries around the world.

New CEO David Garofalo sets realistic course for Goldcorp

David Garofalo has a graph that should appall any precious metals aficionado.
It shows how nine major gold producers’ share prices have fared over the past decade. Only one of those stocks – that of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. – actually achieved a lasting gain during the 10-year period.
All the other big global gold miners in the graph saw their share prices decline between 2005 and 2015. The sweeping, near-universal losses for investors in the sector – despite a gold price that shot upward over the time span – offer evidence of a massive case of value destruction.

Glacial progress on policing miners

The York University associate professor monitors the behaviour of Canadian mining companies in Latin America. The new Liberal government is said to plan no changes to the previous government's much-criticized Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor. Imani has been quoted as saying there is “really no point” to the office.

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Feds won’t change Harper-era mining ethics office

Peter Mazereeuw
The Trudeau government won’t be making changes to the role of a controversial corporate social responsibility counsellor for the mining sector, according to a government spokesperson.
The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor has been criticized in the past by advocates for tougher action by Canada on human rights abusesconnected to Canadian-owned mines abroad. 
The office, created by the Conservative government in 2009, was only able to produce reports on five disputes related to corporate social responsibility that were investigated during the four-year tenure of the first counsellor, Marketa Evans, who resigned from the role in 2013. As well, the mining companies involved in three of those disputes refused to take part in the full review process, according to reports published by the office. 



Communities Announce Protest Against HudBay Minerals’ Constancia Project in Peru

MiningWatch Canada
Source: Human Rights Without Borders, Cusco - Peruvian Observatory of Mining Conflicts
After failed attempts to dialogue with HudBay Minerals, the Velille Defence Front, community presidents, community boards, the Chumbivilcas Defense Front  and nearby districts have announced a preventative strike for 72 hours starting January 25, 2016 against the company’s Peruvian subsidiary HudBay Perú S.A.C.  HudBay’s open-pit Constancia copper project is located within the districts of Velille, Chamaca and Livitaca, in the province of Chumbivilcas, department of Cusco, Peru. The community organizations of Velille are demanding that the company meet various economic, social and environmental demands.
Among other things, residents of Velille demand:

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