On March 1st, The Council of Canadians joined activists from the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) to form a ‘welcoming committee’ for industry leaders attending the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference in Toronto. With 25,000 delegates, PDAC is the largest gathering of the mineral indusry in the world. PDAC’s primary sponsors include Barrick Gold and Goldcorp among other Canadian mining companies infamous for their human rights abuses and environmental violations. The welcoming committee distributed flyers and carried banners denouncing the abuses of these companies.
One banner commemorated Topacio Reynoso, a community activist from Mataquescuintla, Guatemala who was murdered on April 13th, 2014 for her resistance to Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine. Goldcorp is a majority shareholder in Tahoe Resources. The Council of Canadians and the Blue Planet Project call for divestment from Goldcorp and Tahoe Resources. The Money Thread campaign asks Canadian taxpayers to recognize the financial impact of their pension funds and investments on communities in Guatemala. To learn more about The Money Thread , please visit the campaign website.
Demonstrators also infiltrated the conference itself with fake programs for the “Corporate Social Responsibility” track events. These sessions on human rights and community consultation were hosted by Canadian mining companies despite their horrific track records. The spoof program can be viewed here.
The Council of Canadians is also concerned about how the Canada and European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement’s (CETA) will promote mining injustice. CETA would increase mineral extraction in both Canada and Europe, despite environmental concerns and violations of indigenous sovereignty. PDAC featured a session entitled “A European Renaissance in the Mining Sector, with CETA Update,” celebrating the potential for increased mineral extraction. For more on the implications of CETA for mining injustice, please see this blog from Brent Patterson.