The Toronto Sun reports that, “Toronto-listed Vista Gold Corp. …is trying to get regulatory approval to blast an open-pit mine (the Concordia mine) in Baja’s Sierra la Laguna mountain range, a United Nations biosphere reserve. The United Nations says Sierra la Laguna is important because of its freshwater supply — a rarity in mostly arid Mexico — and because its water basin drains into sea turtle spawning grounds. Whales also rely on connected estuaries.”
“Vista…said it plans to construct a desalination plant to meet its water needs without compromising the quality and supply of water for local communities. Open-pit mines can lead to a runoff of cyanide, an agent used to treat gold that threatens drinking water and wildlife. The region is the main source of drinking water for as far south as Los Cabos – a popular Canadian tourist destination. After the 10-year life of the mine, the desalination plant could become a long-term, fresh water source, Vista said.”
“RBC Capital is Vista’s fourth largest institutional investor behind three U.S. Funds.” RBC Capital is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).
“Last week, a reported 9,000 people gathered on a local beach and formed a human SOS in protest of Vista’s plans for the Concordia mine.”
The Council of Canadians and the Polaris Institute have recently begun work on a campaign focused on the Vancouver-based NewGold company mine in Cerro San Pedro, just outside Mexico City. More on that situation at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5492 and http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5560. We have also highlighted serious concerns with a Calgary-based Blackfire Exploration company mine in southern Mexico, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2406.
Last year the Toronto Star reported that, “Canadian mining companies are far and away the worst offenders in environmental, human rights and other abuses around the world, according to a global study commissioned by an industry association but never made public. …The problems involving Canada’s mining and exploration corporations go far beyond workplace issues. (The Canadian Centre for the Study of Resource Conflict report says) ‘Canadian companies are more likely to be engaged in community conflict, environmental and unethical behaviour, and are less likely to be involved in incidents related to occupational concerns.’ …The study said the leading causes of incidents involving Canadian mining companies were related to community conflict, including ’significant negative cultural and economic disruption to a host community, as well as significant protests and physical violence’. The second most common cause of incidents involved environmental degradation, followed by unethical behaviour, which the Centre defines as operating in a state that is under embargo or careless disregard for human rights or local laws.” More on the study at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/877438–canadian-mining-firms-worst-for-environment-rights-report.
The Toronto Sun article is at http://www.torontosun.com/money/2011/01/24/17012251.html.