This Friday, August 16, at 6pm in Cabot Square in Montreal, there will be an action in solidarity with the people of Kaz Mountains in Turkey who are resisting a huge open pit mine set up by Toronto-based Los Alamos Gold. We post here a several solidarity statements from last August 9, where there were actions in Vancouver and Ottawa in solidarity with people in the Philippines resisting Australia-Canadian mining company OceanaGold. Stop Canadian Mining from Philippines to Turkey!
On June 20, 2019, a 25-year agreement expired between the Philippine government and Australia-Canadian mining company OceanaGold, which gave them the right to operate a copper and gold mine in Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. Since then, OceanaGold continues its operations despite the expired agreement and restraining orders from the local government. In response, community members have set up a peaceful “peoples’ barricade”, blocking a thoroughfare to and from the Didipio mine. The barricade has now been set up for around a month. The ILPS in Canada extends its support to this community resistance in Didipio. As part of this support, ILPS participated in a global day of action against OceanaGold on August 9, with Canadian protests being organized in Vancouver, and also in Ottawa.
OceanaGold’s actions in Didipio can only be described as environmental plunder and have been criticized by various groups, including environmentalists, grassroots community groups, and international institutions such as the United Nations. According to Kalikasan, Peoples’ Network for the Environment in the Philippines, OceanaGold mined 87 billion pesos of copper, gold, and silver in Didipio but less than 5% of that was given back to local communities. The company’s operations contaminate local water systems, which then negatively affect local rice and citrus farmers. Additionally, OceanaGold’s has failed to obtain free, prior, and informed consent from local Ifugao indigenous communities, and has been reported to forcibly displace them for their operations. Community members who work for OceanaGold report unsafe working conditions, and community activists who speak out against their actions are particularly targeted.
OceanaGold is not the only example of Canada’s imperialist mining industry that commits human rights violations and environment plunder around the world. Many of the world’s mining companies are based in Canada and are listed on Canadian stock exchanges. Canadian mines have projects throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia and continue to be opposed wherever they have their operations. For example, on August 5, 2019, thousands of people in Kirazli, Turkey staged a demonstration against the expected pollution from a mine owned by Dogu Biga Mining, a subsidary of Toronto-based Los Alamos Gold, in their town. In another incident on July 30, 2019, Vancouver-based Pan American Silver was forced to acknowledge that it had violated the human rights of demonstrators in Guatemala who had been shot and wounded while protesting the company’s mining operations. The Canadian state and its institutions’ promise to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is empty when Canadian companies’ extractivist projects continue to violate the rights of Indigenous people in Canada and around the world and these companies are not accountable to the communities where they operate.
With the Philippines having recently been identified as one of the most dangerous places in the world for environmental activists, the ILPS commits to being in solidarity with community in Didipio as they struggle against OceanaGold’s abuses. Indeed, a peoples’ movement forced OceanaGold’s operations out of El Salvador in 2016 and eventually won a ban on all metal mining operations in that country in 2017. We hope that there can be similar results in the Philippines and around the world, and encourage those who would like to support these struggles to
- Sign the petition against OceanaGold started by Kalikasan, Peoples’ Network for the Environment.
- Continue to raise awareness about the struggle about Canadian mining around the world by writing public statements, and participation in future days of action.
For more information about the Aug 9 day of action against OceanaGold, read ILPS in Canada’s joint press release with MiningWatch Canada, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, and Anakbayan Ottawa.