News

Canadian mining companies will now face human rights charges in Canadian courts

“Canada is the undisputed powerhouse of the mining industry, home to 75 per cent of its companies — but the industry is plagued by allegations of rape and slavery abroad. Now those who feel harmed or violated can seek justice back in Canada,” according to an article published in The Narwhal on June 7, 2019 (Read full article here). In the piece, IRMA Executive Director, Aimee Boulanger is quoted where author Andrew Findlay says that Canadian companies need to do more to be responsible and cites IRMA as the independent standard that activists and industry are watching for as it becomes fully operational after its 12 years of development.

“‘We don’t yet have any Canadian mines that have come in asking to be recognized by system, but we hope some soon will,’ Boulanger says.”

The article also states: “Boulanger places mining in a similar phase as the garment and forestry industries more than a decade ago, when consumers and activists began placing their practices in a glaring spotlight, whether it was a sweatshop in Bangladesh or old-growth clear-cutting in B.C. Such pressure helped put corporate and social responsibility at the top of boardroom agendas in those industries; Boulanger believes mining’s day of reckoning is next.”

“‘My hope is that CEOs will realize that they won’t be able to avoid this level of corporate responsibility indefinitely,’ she says.”

Access the full article on The Narwhal.

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Can Lab-Grown Diamonds Ever Really Be Sustainable?

In recent weeks, we have seen several lab-created diamond producers move away from calling themselves “eco-friendly.” That’s largely due to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) warning to lab-grown diamond producers that they should stop using “general benefit environmental claims” like eco-friendly and sustainable, and in part due to a growing cry that companies need to actually prove their eco-friendliness, beyond saying bad things about diamond mines.

Natural diamond miners will soon get a chance to label their gems with a similar phrase—“responsibly mined”—thanks to the work done by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), Mathuram notes. That label could also be used to certify the gold and other mined metals used to create lab-diamond jewelry.

Read full article on JCK Online

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30 law and advocacy groups in Canada recognize IRMA

This is one of more than 60 recommendations released in British Columbia, Canada in May as part of a package of legal reforms launched by more than 30 mining advocacy and law organizations. The recommendations are calling for an overhaul in the way BC regulates exploration, placer mining and metal/mineral mining.

B.C. Mining Law Reform: A Plan of Action for Change is the result of two years of research begun by the Environmental Law Centre, with support from Indigenous advocates and groups like MiningWatch Canada.

Read the full article on The Narwhal.

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Renewables promising for miners, but edge may go to most responsible operators

The rise of renewable energy to meet global climate goals could be a boon for global mining companies but new customers may also bring higher levels of scrutiny to corporate responsibility practices in the sector.

Increased production of renewable energy resources to meet the goals set out by the Paris Agreement on climate change is expected to drastically boost demand for valuable materials including lithium, cadmium, silver, rare earth metals, aluminum and copper. As demand rises, a growing number of stakeholders are calling for close attention to the environmental, social and governance practices of mining companies crucial to the renewable energy supply chain.

Read the full article on Market Insider —>>

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50 NGO’s sign open letter recognizing responsible sourcing through IRMA

50 NGOs including Greenpeace, Earthworks, Global Witness and others signed an open letter to the World Bank stating that ‘where sourcing from mining operations is absolutely necessary, purchasers must insist that those operations adhere to stringent international environmental and human rights best-practices standards (such as those developed by the multi-stakeholder Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance) with independent, third-party assurance of compliance.’

The letter was signed on the launch of the Climate Smart Mining initiative in Washington DC. The leaders also stated that an ‘essential shift is necessary in order to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees and avert the most disastrous impacts of climate change. And yet, even as new renewable energy infrastructure ramps up, we are concerned about the impacts of extracting minerals.

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B.C. needs to act quickly to prevent future mine-tailings disasters

Loretta Williams, chairwoman of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining and Calvin Sandborn, QC, legal director of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria call on Premier John Horgan to act now to protect the workers and communities below tailings dams.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press.

About five years ago, both B.C. and Brazil got dramatic warnings of the danger that tailings dams pose. In 2014, the Mount Polley mine dam collapsed, creating one of Canada’s most epic environmental disasters. Only 15 months later, a tailings dam in Mariana, Brazil, collapsed, wiping out a neighbourhood, killing 19 and poisoning a vast watershed. Fish literally leaped out of the river to flap on the banks, trying to escape lethal effluent.

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Catastrophic spill from mining dam threatens thousands of lives

“Vale’s Brumadinho mining waste dam failure is all the more tragic because the mining industry knows how to prevent them, yet failed to act.” — Payal Sampat, Earthworks.

Photo Credit: BBC.

The Independent Catholic News reports that:  Hundreds of people are missing, 37 people have been confirmed dead and more than 24,000 people have been evacuated from the Brazilian town hit by a deadly mudslide unleashed by a ruptured mining dam, as rains raised fears a second dam could collapse. . .

Payal Sampat, the Mining Director of our US counterpart organisation, Earthworks, said: “Vale’s Brumadinho mining waste dam failure is all the more tragic because the mining industry knows how to prevent them, yet failed to act. 200 people are missing and some presumed dead because Vale and the rest of global mining industry haven’t adopted the Mount Polley Independent Expert Panel’s recommendations made in response to a similar catastrophic mining waste dam failure in 2014. These recommendations have been globally recognized, including by the United Nations Environment Programme’s 2017 assessment of tailings dams failures, and by the multi-sector Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance standard. Until these recommendations are adopted and independently verified, preventable mining disasters will continue to occur wherever the mining industry operates.

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