Wednesday, 22 July 2009


22 July 2009

Barrick Gold's Lake Cowal Gold Mine

Please note for more information and links please go
to this post on The Network

Neville Chappy Williams,
who has consistently opposed the open-pit mine
at Lake Cowal in the middle of the Murray-Darling Basin,
is delivering documents to the Canadian Embassy
and the Minerals Council of Australia in Canberra
as part of the Global Day of Action against open-pit mining.

is a Traditional Owner of Lake Cowal
and has fought many court cases
against mining at Lake Cowal.

“It is my sacred duty to protect Lake Cowal
and our ancient cultural heritage.
We will never give up.
I will fight to the bitter end.”

Currently, he has halted the proposed expansion of the gold mine in Barrick v Williams in the NSW Court of Appeal.

“The Lake Cowal gold mine operated by Barrick Gold from Toronto, Canada is desecrating our sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri between the Kalara/Lachlan and the Murrumbidgee rivers in central west New South Wales. "

Lake Cowal is an ephemeral lake and also a wetland of international significance – home and breeding ground to thousands of water birds when full, including numerous endangered species.

“The open-pit cuts into the ancient lake bed and already there have been at least twenty landslides as the pitwall collapses, at times covering blast holes full of explosives and endangering workers’ lives.”

Barrick is importing 6090 tonnes of sodium cyanide into the floodplain of Lake Cowal and the Kalara/Lachlan river, which becomes an inland sea during major flooding.”

“We have even been to Barrick’s AGMs and to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to stop this madness. But the governments seem hand in glove with the mining company.” Neville Chappy Williams concludes.

Neville Chappy Williams
0447 841 560 s

Eleanor Gilbert
Please note Eleanor
is the widow of renowned Australian
of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi peoples

  • Neville Chappy Williams speech to UN Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2008
  • The Manila Declaration of the International Conference on Extractive Industries and Indigenous Peoples
  • Global Day of Action Call Out – 22 July 2009
  • Websites: and

1. Neville Chappy Williams speech to
UN Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2008
7th United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,
United Nations, NY
Agenda Item 4.2: Pacific/Sustainable development
Joint submission by
Friends of the Earth International
on behalf of
Lake Cowal Mooka and Kalara United Families
within the Wiradjuri Nation,
Murray Darling Basin,
Central new South Wales, Australia
Akali Tange Association Inc. Pogera Enga Province,
Papua New Guinea
joined by
Western Shoshone Defence Project, Nevada, USA
Laura Calm Wind, Kitchenuhmay Koosib Inninuwug
Indigenous Peoples Links
Centre for Organization Research and Education (CORE)
Indigenous Environment Network (IAN)

Brothers and Sisters,
I am Neville Chappy Williams
a Custodian and Traditional Owner of Lake Cowal
within the Wiradjuri Nation.

Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples hold many of the solutions to heal our Mother, the Earth, from her rape by colonialism, which is now causing climate change. But many rogue mining companies and other extractive industries operate with impunity and impact our Nations and Peoples at the very core of our being, at the very essence of our existence, through the desecration of our sacred sites and sacred waters.

Our people become weakened through the assault on our spirituality, leading to depression, division, oppression and even death. Yet at this time of climate change Indigenous Peoples need to be strong and influential in caring for our Earth and each other. Our Peoples have already lived through global warming and global cooling, which caused the Ice Ages. Our collective traditional knowledge and wisdoms hold the keys to survival and, right now, it is our Mother, the Earth, who is crying out for a rest from mining and other extractive industries and unsustainable practices.

The mining and extractive industries held a forum and concluded that mining was sustainable development and then used their PR machines to spin this message. But from our perspective as custodians, this is a crazy claim. To us sustainable development is taking from the Earth only what we need for our spiritual wellbeing and our health. Mining and extractive industries are fuelled by greed for profit, resulting in bogus people being put up to sign deals, desecrated sacred sites, degraded lands, polluted waters, divided communities and a legacy of mining waste, contaminated soil and poisoned drinking water and polluted fishing grounds. How can this be called ‘sustainable’?

In our case, Lake Cowal in the middle of the Murray Darling Basin, Australia, we have no right of veto and have been trying for years and years to stop the Canadian company, Barrick Gold, from desecrating our sacred lake and destroying our marked trees and cultural objects. One gram of cyanide can kill a human and we fear their practice of bringing in 6000 tonnes of cyanide a year into the floodplain of the lake and the Kalara river, which forms an inland sea during a major flood. But, whenever I try to access the area, I am told I am trespassing and mining security call the police.

We took Barrick Gold to court many times. We formed alliances with environmental groups around the world, but now Barrick Gold has gone ahead and are digging a huge mine pit into the lakebed itself and have built massive tailings dams, where once thousands of our people have camped, back from the sacredness. When I flew over Lake Cowal in March this year in a small plane, I saw that the mine pit wall had collapsed after heavy rains at the end of a long drought. Barrick Gold had not told the public, but we asked questions in parliament and the Minister for Mineral resources admitted the landslide has buried blast holes full of explosives. What is sustainable about this?

We are very aware that the four countries that opposed the Declaration of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US are the source of many of these rogue companies.

We have seven Recommendations:

Although the World Bank has stated in this forum that their policies are consisted with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, there is a big difference between consultation and free prior and informed consent. Nevertheless, we
recommend that the Permanent Forum:

1. Calls for activation of the 2005 Extractive Industries Review and for activation of the previous interventions to address the impact and legacy of extractive industries on Indigenous Lands, territories and natural resources;
2. Urgently calls for funding through ECOSOC for a World Conference to seek solutions for Indigenous Nations and Peoples affected by extractive industries in order to complete Recommendations by 2009 for the 2010 Commission on Sustainable Development;
3. Investigates how to set up an Indigenous arbitration system, a regulatory regime, to control the practices of the trans-national mining companies, other extractive industries, forestry and fisheries;
4. Requests UN agencies to build on the research done by NGOs to document the holistic impact of mining on Indigenous communities, including environmental justice, the legacy of mining waste, desecrated sacred sites, degraded lands and poisoned waters;
5. Forms an agency to evaluate the amount Indigenous communities involuntarily subsidise by mining industry and other extractive industries through their natural resources, which are seized with minimal compensation, if any, by forms of colonialism perpetrated by trans-national companies;
6. Call for an expert workshop drawing on all expert investigations into mining impacts on Indigenous Nations and Peoples, such as CERDs observations that both Canada and the US must regulate their transnational corporations impacting Indigenous communities outside their borders;
7. Request a Joint Report before 8th Permanent Forum from the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on business and human rights and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous Peoples identifying transnationals and their types of behaviour which breach the inherent rights detailed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
8. Create an Indigenous Network on Mining Activities (INMA). We call on everyone at this forum to begin this network.

Thank you.
Neville Williams,
For and on behalf of Mooka and Kalara United Families
within the Wiradjuri Nation.

7th Session of the
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Agenda Item 5 on
dialogue with the Special Rapporteur
on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms
of Indigenous Peoples and other special rapporteurs
Intervention of Friends of the Earth International
by Mooka and Kalara United Families
within the Wiradjuri Nation,
Murray Darling Basin,
Central New South Wales, Australia
New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council
Agenda Item 5 – Human Rights

I acknowledge the Traditional owners, whose land we are on.

Brothers and Sisters …
One of the greatest human rights abuses in Australia is the denial of our spirituality, the denial of our religious freedom. Ours are the oldest living cultures in the world based on the Law of the Dreaming with song-lines, dreaming tracks, interweaving across the entire continent. Our culture is maintained by synergy - the co-operation of the spirit world with humanity in the process of regeneration. It is our fundamental freedom and responsibility to maintain our connection to Country.

Our spirituality is bonded our lands and waters and denial of access severely harms our spiritual, mental, social and physical well-being to the degree that our Peoples have some of the worst social indicators in the world. Oppression is a health hazard. Racism is a health hazard. Criminalising our difference is a health hazard. Access to culturally appropriate health services, education and housing are all important, but will not address the core issues, unless our Peoples have the right to self-determination and the right to spiritual and religious freedom. It is our sacred duty to defend and protect our sacred lands and waters.

Many sacred sites connect with the energy flows of the metals and minerals in our Earth. The so-called ‘mineral wealth’ is, in reality, part of our Mother, the Earth, who is enduring a desecrating and ongoing rape. As Aboriginal People we have absolutely no power within the colonial legal system to protect her. We have no right of veto. There is no recognition of Aboriginal sovereignty over natural resources. Under the Native Title Act, Traditional Owners can only agree to benefit from the desecration and destruction of our Mother. This is an abuse of our human rights and many of the rights in the Declaration.

We are trying to protect our sacred lake, Lake Cowal, within the Wiradjuri nation, from Barrick Gold, the Canadian gold mining company, which is desecrating the sacredness, poisoning our waters and also bringing in 6000 tonnes of cyanide a year into the floodplain. But the National Native Title Tribunal advised us that if we claim the minerals in the earth as part of our inheritance, our native title claim will not pass the Registration Test, will not even get through the first gate. But, in the Federal Court, we are continuing to assert that Wiradjuri sovereignty has never been ceded and our case continues.

At Lake Cowal, Barrick Gold only had to ‘consult’ with Aboriginal representatives, not even Traditional Owners. There is no need for ‘free, prior and informed consent’ for a CONSENT TO DESTROY sites.

Brothers and Sisters - Australia has not endorsed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are asking: Why the delay? When will Australia sign on to the Declaration?

We recommend that this 7th Permanent Forum requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate the Australian Government’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples and:
• Examine and report where the Australian Government is operating in breach of its ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination;
• Evaluate Aboriginal claims that ‘sovereignty has never been ceded;
• Evaluate the assertion by Indigenous Peoples that their fundamental freedom of spiritual and religious freedom in denied in most areas;
• Evaluate the importing of the UN Genocide Convention into domestic law and report on the restriction that only the Attorney-General can take a genocide case and if she refuses there is no right of appeal and no obligation to give a reason for refusing;
• Evaluate the denial of fundamental freedoms by the administration of the Native Title Act 1993, which primarily extinguishes rights to lands and waters, and does not recognize proper land rights;
• Evaluate the processes needed for the Australian Government to implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
• Advise of the processes necessary for full and fair reparation for the gross violations of human rights perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples;
• Evaluate the discriminatory nature of the Australian Constitution, which permits laws to be made for the detriment of Indigenous Peoples;
• Evaluate the need for the Australian Government to enter into a sovereign treaty or treaties with Indigenous Peoples for future peaceful co-existence.

Thank you.
Neville ‘Chappy’ Williams

2. The Manila Declaration of the
International Conference on Extractive Industries
and Indigenous Peoples
23-25 March 2009
Legend Villas, Metro Manila,

When all the trees have been cut down,
When all the animals have been hunted,
When all the waters are polluted,
When all the air is unsafe to breathe,
Only then will you discover
you cannot eat money.
- Cree prophecy


Treat the earth well,
it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.

We, Indigenous Peoples and support organisations from 35 countries around the world and representing many more Indigenous Nations, have gathered together in this International Conference on Extractive Industries and Indigenous Peoples. As Indigenous Peoples we have a unique cosmic vision, diversity of languages, histories, spirituality and territories which have existed since time immemorial. However, we now find ourselves within the borders of States which have established norms and laws according to their interests. On account of this situation, we have suffered disproportionately from the impact of extractive industries as our territories are home to over sixty percent of the world’s most coveted mineral resources. This has resulted in many problems to our peoples, as it has attracted extractive industry corporations to unsustainably exploit our lands, territories and recourses without our consent. This exploitation has led to the worst forms of, environmental degradation, human rights violations and land dispossession and is contributing to climate change.

Environmental degradation includes, but is not limited to, erosion of our fragile biological diversity, pollution of land, air and water, and destruction of whole ecological systems. Extractive industries, and particularly those relating to fossil fuels, also have significantly contributed to the climate change that is destroying our Mother Earth.

Human rights violations range from violations of Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination (which includes the right to determine one’s own economic, social and cultural development), rights to lands, territories and resources, as well as displacement and violations of the most basic civil and political rights, such as arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, enforced disappearances and killings.

Our cultural diversity has also been grossly eroded because of the destruction of biological diversity and lands, territories and resources by extractive industries upon which our cultures are based. This erosion of our cultural diversity is also a result of the imposition of colonial systems and the settlement of non-Indigenous Peoples. Corporations enter into our territories with the promise of “development” through employment, infrastructure building and payment of governmental taxes. Despite these promises, there still exists a situation of dire poverty in those living close to extractive industry projects. This situation has fuelled conflicts between Indigenous Peoples and the State and extractive industry corporations, as well as causing divisions within the Indigenous communities themselves.

On 6-16 May 1996, a first “Mining and Indigenous Peoples Conference” held in London produced the “Indigenous Peoples’ Declaration on Mining”. This declaration highlighted conflicts occurring between our communities and corporations. It reiterated that Indigenous Peoples need to be the decision makers on whether or not mining should take place in their communities and under what conditions this may occur.

Almost 13 years have passed since this conference was held, but overall our situation on the ground has not noticeably improved. The opportunities and threats since the 1996 conference include:-
• the welcome adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) by the UN General Assembly on 13 September 2007;
• new UN mechanisms for the protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, such as the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
• a greater interest on the relationship between human rights and corporate behaviour, including the work of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises;
• the recognition of corporate social responsibility and a claimed willingness on behalf of corporations to negotiate agreements directly with Indigenous Peoples, although so far much of this seems to be more on paper or promises, as opposed to practice;
• the climate change crisis, coming about mainly because of dependence of the current economy on fossil fuels. These resources are mined on our land and many of our peoples are disproportionately affected by such activities; and
• the global financial crisis, caused by the unregulated liberalisation of finance.

Based on the foregoing observations, we assert that:-
• Indigenous Peoples are rights holders, with an inextricable link to their lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired, and should not be treated merely as stakeholders. We have a right to self-determination of our political condition and to freely choose our economic, social and cultural development (UN DRIP Article 3);
• our rights are inherent and indivisible and seek recognition not only of our full social, cultural and economic rights but also our civil and political rights;
• all doctrines, policies and practices based on the presumed superiority of colonial peoples and worldviews should be condemned;
• we contribute to the diversity and richness of the cultures that make up humanity and believe that we can teach valuable lessons to the rest of the world through our values and world views in how to tread gently upon the earth;
• destruction of Indigenous Peoples sacred sites and areas of spiritual and cultural significance by extractive industries must stop;
• the vulnerable position of women and youth with regard to the impacts of extractive industries, including loss of livelihoods, violence and impacts on health and well-being must be recognized;
• the development model premised on unsustainable consumption and production, and corporate globalisation, which fuels the entry of extractive industries onto our lands, must be rejected;
• respect for the preservation of life on earth, and our right to food, must have precedence over extractive industry projects;
• extractive industry projects must not take precedence over our right to land – regardless of whether our rights are based on legal recognition or usufruct rights;
• there must be an immediate end to the criminalization of community resistance, the violent intimidation, harassment, and murder of our leaders, activists and lawyers, who are working for the defence of our lands and lives;
• extractive industry projects must not take precedence over the human right to water. Water is especially important in our lives and is sacred to us. In addition the major reserves of fresh water are found in our territories;
• the right to water is a fundamental human right which must be recognized. We therefore condemn the conduct of the World Water Council which demotes the right to water a “basic need”;
• negotiations about climate change should not be conducted by States and international organisations unless there is full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples. Furthermore, mitigation and adaptation measures related to climate change must be designed and implemented in keeping with Indigenous Peoples’ rights;
• the failure to hold extractive industries to account in host and home countries must be addressed and mechanisms for accountability and enforcement must be created immediately; and
• implementation of interstate infrastructure initiatives – such as the South American Regional Infrastructure Initiative (IIRSA) – that lead to mega-projects on our lands and territories without first obtaining our free prior and informed consent (FPIC) are destructive to our cultures and survival, and a denial of our right to self determination.
Given the above, in order to ensure respect for the rights recognized in the UN DRIP, as well as the ecological integrity of our planet and communities, we call for:-
• a stop to the plunder of our lands, territories and resources;
• a moratorium on further extractive industry projects that affect or threaten our communities, until structures and processes are in place that ensure respect for our human rights. The determination of when this has been realized can only be made by those communities whose lives, livelihoods and environment are affected by those projects;
• due process and justice to victims of human rights violations who are resisting extractive industries;
• review of all on-going projects that are approved without respect for our FPIC and self determination rights; and
• compensation and restitution for damages inflicted upon our lands, territories and resources, and the rehabilitation of our degraded environments caused by extractive industry projects that did not obtain our FPIC.

We call on Indigenous Communities and their Supporters:-
• to actively participate in the global network of indigenous peoples on extractive industries which was established at this international conference and will be aimed at strengthening the capacities of local organization through sharing of information, education and training programmes, research and advocacy in the defence of our rights;
• to coordinate research on mining companies, processes and investment sources to empower communities, build strategic plans and ensure recognition and respect for our rights;
• to assert their right to control the authorization of projects, and where FPIC has been given, the conduct of extractive activities in indigenous lands and territories through the use of indigenous customary laws;
• to create a mechanism to compile legal precedents from relevant court decisions on Indigenous Peoples and extractive industries;
• to build relationships with non-indigenous groups concerned with the problem of extractive industries, nationally and internationally, to find common ground; and
• to establish an International Day of Action on Extractive Industries and Indigenous Peoples.

We call on Civil Society Organisations:-
• to increase their support, and solidarity in a manner that is sensitive to the issues of Indigenous Peoples; and
• especially conservation and other NGOs, not to impose themselves or their views upon us, but respect our legitimate leadership, and also seek the FPIC of communities before intervening; this also applies to academics including anthropologists.

We call on Companies:-
• to respect international standards as elaborated on in the normative framework of indigenous peoples rights, especially the minimum standards as set forth in the UN DRIP, ILO Convention 169 and International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), which includes in particular, the right to lands, territories and resources and attendant right to FPIC. This also applies to consultants;
• to submit to independent and credible monitoring;
• to be accountable for the environmental disasters, destruction and human rights violations as a result of their operations;
• to employ proven technology and adhere to the precautionary principle at all levels and in each project;
• to recognize the specific vulnerability of indigenous women to the negative impacts involved with extractive industries;
• to ensure full transparency in all aspects of their operations, and especially to ensure affected communities have full access to information in forms and languages they can understand; and
• to conduct and implement environmental, social, cultural and human rights impact assessments to the highest international standards ensuring independent review and participation of indigenous peoples.

We call on Investors:-
• to ensure that policies in relation to investments in indigenous territories reflect the rights articulated in the UN DRIP, and that ethical index listings used by them should base their investment recommendations on third party information, as opposed solely to information from the company in which they may invest;
• to ensure access to information and transparency in relation to all investments in extractive industries in indigenous territories; and
• not to invest in fossil fuel related projects.

We call on States:-

• specifically those States that have not done so yet, to endorse the UN DRIP and ratify International Labour Organization (ILO) 169, and for those States who have to uphold the rights articulated therein;
• to establish, in consultation with Indigenous Peoples, clear mechanisms and procedures at national levels for the implementation of international juridical instruments, specifically the UN DRIP, ILO 169 and ICERD;
• to review laws and policies on extractive industries that are detrimental to Indigenous Peoples, and ensure consistency with the UN DRIP and international instruments protecting Indigenous Peoples rights;
• to recognize and enforce the rights Indigenous Peoples to FPIC as laid out in UN DRIP, in accordance with our customary laws and traditional practices;
• to recognize and ensure the demarcation and titling of our ancestral lands;
• to recognize our customary laws and traditional mechanisms of conflict resolutions;
• to support the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to develop economic alternatives to extractive industries, in order to alleviate the poverty that creates false dependencies on extractive industries;
• to abolish hedge funds and all forms of private equity that are not transparent and well regulated, and which distort the price of minerals;
• to legislate and regulate thorough processes for independently conducted environmental, social, cultural and human rights impact assessments, with regular monitoring during all of the phases of production and rehabilitation;
• to protect indigenous activists, human rights defenders and lawyers working on human rights issues, and where the State is the violator we demand an end to the violations against our peoples;
• to ban particularly harmful extractive practices, including riverine tailings disposal, gas flaring, effluent discharges, submarine tailings disposal, mountain top removal and large scale open-pit mining. Given the risks posed by climate change, serious re-consideration should be given to the construction of tailings containment in low-lying coastal areas and in areas exposed to increasingly severe weather events; and
• to ensure that their development cooperation policies and programmes respect Indigenous Peoples rights’, in particular in the context of extractive industries and our right to FPIC.
We call on the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII):-
• to conduct a study, with the participation of Indigenous Peoples, on the impact of extractive industries on them, by consolidating all recommendations, observations and decisions of UN Treaty and Charter bodies pertaining to the subject and identifying the measures taken by States to adhere with these;
• to elaborate mechanisms and procedures for States to implement the minimum standards set forth in the UN DRIP, including in particular the right to FPIC and to call on other UN procedures, mechanisms, agencies and bodies and other multilateral bodies to do likewise;
• to establish procedures which provide indigenous communities with the opportunity to request the relevant UN agencies to assist them in the monitoring and provision of independent information in FPIC processes;
• to support the proposal that there be an international Mother Earth Day, and encourage all UN agencies, mechanisms and bodies to do likewise;
• to demand the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in all discussions and decisions pertaining to international agreements and conventions that address issues of biological diversity and or climate change;
• to emphasize the need to address the direct and indirect impacts of extractive industry on climate change, including those associated with mitigation measures;
• to emphasize the need for the widespread diffusion of information and critical debate between Indigenous Peoples about the ongoing mechanisms and negotiations relative to carbon trading and the carbon market;
• to request that the Special Representative to the Secretary General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other businesses, John Ruggie, to actively engage with impacted indigenous community through workshops addressing indigenous peoples rights and the extractive industry, and together with other UN procedures, bodies and agencies, promote the enactment of legislation in home states of transnational corporations that provides for extraterritorial jurisdiction in relation to their activities;
• to facilitate dialogue between indigenous peoples, investors, fund managers, extractive industry corporations and consultants;
• to recommend that the World Bank Group and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) update their operational directives and safeguard policies pertaining to Indigenous Peoples to include the right to FPIC, as required under the UN DRIP. Specifically to recommend to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that it include the requirement to obtain FPIC in its safeguard policies on Indigenous Peoples environment and resettlement;
• to recommend that the World Bank Group and other IFIs immediately stop funding, promoting and supporting fossil fuel related projects and large scale mining and hydro electric projects on indigenous lands, and provide a set timeline for ending of all such funding;
• to recommend that the World Bank and other IFIs stop influencing the design of national policies in developing countries in a manner that promotes the interests of transnational mining corporations over the rights of indigenous communities;
• to recommend that the World Health Organisation consider conducting a study on the impact of cyanide and heavy metals on the right to health of communities impacted by mining;
• to address the urgent need for the genuine recognition of indigenous religious, cultural and spiritual rights, including their sacred sites in the context of extractive projects; and
• to recommend that all bilateral trade agreements should guarantee that Indigenous Peoples’ human rights are respected.

The 3. The initial call out is in Spanish:
A rough translation is below.
But primarily the day was called by
Mexican based groups and Indigenous Peoples Nations
trying to stop Canadian mining companies
from taking over their land.


The methods and technology used in open-pit mining operations causes the destruction and exhaustion of the planet’s ecosystems. Removing forest cover, destroying soils, contaminating both running water and underground reservoirs, dividing communities, bribing officials, threatening, blackmailing, and violating human rights are all common practice for open-pit mining projects around the world.

The mining industry has a long history in Mexico. The region’s mineral wealth was one of the main motives behind European conquest in the 16th century. As in other indigenous lands around the world, mining was of utmost importance for the colonial powers but for the indigenous communities themselves, it meant injury, death, environmental destruction, and impoverishment. Despite a long struggle for land and the eventual victory of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, this historical injustice persists to this day. Today’s colonial powers are the mostly Canadian mining companies who continue to extract resources from the Global South as well as from Canada’s own indigenous peoples.

In contrast with its self-proclaimed ‘environmental awareness’, Canada is the global leader in open-pit mining. Canadian-based transnational corporations (TNCs) control 51% of global mining capital and Mexico in particular had a big role to play in Canada’s rise to become the world mining champion.

The neoliberal policies implemented in Mexico since the mid-1980s, codified and consolidated by the creation of NAFTA, were of great importance for Canadian mining companies. The erosion of labour rights aside, it is the repression of environmental movements, increasing militarization and autocracy, and the forced eviction of entire communities that have allowed for the establishment and survival of mining projects.

As of 2007, the Mexican government has granted 438 mining concessions, most of them going to Canadian companies. In the state of Chiapas alone, 72 projects cover 727,435ha of land (slightly larger than the Palestinian Occupied Territories). Half of this territory is now owned by two Canadian companies: Linear Gold and the Frontier Development Group. The territory passed into private ownership without the knowledge, let alone consent, of the communities located there, most of whom are peasants and indigenous people. The same is happening in the states of Zacatecas, Chihuahua, Sonora, Oaxaca, and Coahuila.

A similar fate awaits much of the world. Canadian mining companies are at work in Peru, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Brasil, Panama, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, the Philippines, Surinam, Ghana, Congo, Tanzania, Sudan, Zambia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the United States, and Canada itself?

It is for these reasons that we call for a Global Day of Action against Open-pit Mining on July 22nd. Given Canada’s leading role in the global mining industry, we call for peaceful demonstrations in front of Canadian embassies across the world in order to show our condemnation of these mining projects that only leave behind desolation, poverty, and death for our people while enriching the few.

FAO Frente Amplio Opositor a la Minera San Xavier (FAO)
Cerro de San Pedro, San Luís de Potosí, México

(FAO's resistance to New Gold and its subsidiary Minera San Xavier resulted in a legal ruling against said company. However, the Calderón government, in contravention of the law, has allowed the company to continue with its mining operation.)

--Those who profess to favour freedom
and yet depreciate agitation
are people who want crops without ploughing the ground,
they want rain without thunder and lightening,
they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters...

Power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and it never will.


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