Tag Archives: Mining

The US And Canada Have Blood On Their Hands In Honduras


Members of the military police march during a parade commemorating Independence Day of Honduras. | Photo: Reuters

The international community needs to be held to account for propping up and subsidizing the murderous regime in Honduras.

Honduran military and police forces, backed by the international community and in particular millions of U.S. dollars, once again brutally attacked peaceful protesters in a week that saw more social movement blood spilt.

The march on Thursday organized by the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH, and OFRANEH, an organization which represents the Afro-Indigenous Garifuna people, converged outside the Attorney General’s office to demand justice following the assassination of two more prominant social movement leaders in the country.


During the attack, heavily armed police and COBRA forces (Special Operations Command) indiscriminately fired tear gas canisters and water cannons and physically beat girls and boys, women and men, and the elderly.

Police and COBRA forces attacked just as OFRANEH was initiating a drumming and spiritual ceremony. COPINH was once led by globally-renowned activist Berta Caceres, who was murdered this year for opposing the construction of a dam. They are two of the most respected community organizations in Honduras since before the 2009 U.S. and Canadian-backed military coup, and particularly since then.

Eyewitness Karen Spring from the Honduras Solidarity Network reported:  “The repression was brutal and I’ve been in a lot of repressive marches since the 2009 coup.  This one was up there with the worst, especially since a COPINH member reported that one police took his gun out and fired a shot at his feet.  It all happened so fast and no one expected it; there was no time to get children and elderly out.  People were grabbing kids and running with them as they were crying and choking from the teargas.  The police chased protestors for almost 2 kilometers from the Attorney General’s office.”

COPINH and OFRANEH marched to denounce the assassinations  this week of Jose Angel Flores and Silmer Dionosio George, two leaders of MUCA, or the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguan, and the recent attempted killing of two COPINH members. The organizations also are demanding justice for the March 3 assassination of COPINH co-founder Caceres; the establishment of an independent international commission to investigate her assassination; and to demand cancellation of the concession granted illegally to the DESA corporation to develop the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project in Rio Blanco, along with numerous other illegal mining and hydroelectric concessions on Lenca territories in western Honduras.

Berta Caceres’ Daughter Speaks

After the attack, Berta Caceres’ daughter – Bertita – spoke in a press conference:

“This is yet another act of repression against people demanding justice for the assassination of our compañera Berta Cáceres. How is it possible that soldiers, weapons and repression are the only way the regime deals with us, even when we have Protective Measures from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights? … Despite all this repression, harassment and criminalization, we will not permit the construction of development projects of death in our communities.”

Do Not Write Letters of Protest to the Regime

Wondering what to do about this latest act of State repression in Honduras?

Don’t write letters of protest to the regime.

They are impervious to them.  In power since the 2009 coup, the economic, military and political elites care about two things: maintaining their mutually beneficial economic and political relations with and support from the international community (primarily: governments of U.S., Canada and the European community; the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank; and a host of global investors and companies working in the sectors of African palm, sugar cane, bananas, garment “sweatshop” factories, mining and tourism); and, maintaining relations with and support from the U.S. military.

The repression, corruption and impunity in Honduras are not “Honduran” problems. They are problems of this so-called “international community” together with the Honduran elites. International economic and military relations are the lifeblood of the regime.  This is how power works.

Through our denunciations and activism, we have to make this “international community” take responsibility for its actions. If accountability is not brought to complicity of the military, economic and political backers of the Honduran regime, the repression, corruption and impunity will not stop.

By: Grahame Russell, teleSUR English‎, posted Oct 22, 2016


Mexico: Land Defenders Occupy Mining Installations


May 7th, 2016 from Servicios Para Una Educacion Alternativ 

translated by Earth First! Journal

Seven years since the brutal eviction in which the Coordinated Unity of Towns of the Valley of Ocotlán (CPUVO) were beaten and imprisoned, we are still demanding the immediate exit of the mining corporation Fortuna Silver Mines.

Coordinated Unity of Towns of the Valley of Ocotlán (CPUVO) were beaten and imprisoned, we are still demanding the immediate exit of the mining corporation Fortuna Silver Mines.

For this reason, the town of San José del Progreso, in the framework of the National Campaign to Defend Mother Earth and Land, has determined to occupy the main entrance to the mining projects installations.

Community members blame that company for the wily murders of our compañeros, Bernardo Méndez and Bernardo Vásquez, social warriors who lost their lives defending the land.

In this sense, far from finding justice for these violations to our rights as Indigenous People, the mining corporation, in cahoots with state and federal authorities for over a year (since April, 2015), acquitted the murderers.


In the same sense, this project is expanding through territories of San José del Progreso, Magdalena Ocotlán, Monte del Toro, and San Martín de los Cansecos, even though the communities have made evident the systemic violations which the project has produced against the towns, leading there to be no peace in José del Progreso.

CPUVO declares solidarity with the struggle and resistance in this country and makes a call out to continue coordinating our strength and brotherhood[/sisterhood] to defend via the National Campaign to Defend Mother Earth and Land.

We demand the immediate cancellation of the San José [mining] project, as well as its expansion into ejidos [communal land] and municipalities. In addition to the immediate cancellation of ALL [emphasis added] mining projects in the state of Oaxaca, we also recognize communities who have strengthened their resistance in the Central Valley regions, as well as the Southern Mountains, North Mountains, Mixteca, and Isthmus [Valles Centrales, Sierra Sur, Sierra Norte, Mixteca, and Istmo] against mining projects of death.

Justice for San José del Progreso!

Coordination of Unity Towns of the Valley of Ocotlán, May 6, 2016


San Carlos Apache Tribe Takes On Australian Resources Giants

PHOTO: Naelyn Pike, 16, says the Oak Flat campground is sacred to the San Carlos Apache tribe. (ABC News: Stephanie March)

PHOTO: Naelyn Pike, 16, says the Oak Flat campground is sacred to the San Carlos Apache tribe. (ABC News: Stephanie March)

Native American San Carlos Apache tribe takes on BHP, Rio Tinto over plans to mine sacred site

A group of Native Americans in Arizona are taking on two Australian resources giants to try to save a sacred desert campground from being destroyed by a huge mining development.

Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Australia’s Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, plans to turn the area around the Oak Flat campsite in the Tonto National Forest into the biggest copper mine in North America.

Members of the local San Carlos Apache tribe said Oak Flat was a sacred place where they had held religious and cultural ceremonies for centuries.

“It is no different to what people can relate to about Mount Sinai,” Apache tribal leader Wendsler Nosie said.

The company has warned the underground mining operation could eventually cause Oak Flat to sink by 300 metres, making it inaccessible to the public.

“If this is destroyed it can never come back to us and that is the one thing I don’t think Resolution Copper understands or sees,” 16-year-old Apache activist Naelyn Pike said.

PHOTO: The company has started exploratory work on the site but will not start full-scale production for years. (ABC News: Stephanie March)

PHOTO: The company has started exploratory work on the site but will not start full-scale production for years. (ABC News: Stephanie March)

Campground lost in controversial land-swap deal

Ever since white settlement, Native Americans have struggled to hold onto their land, but the company argued the mine could coexist with the local community.

“We don’t have too much say in the location of the resource that we are developing,” Resolution Copper project director Andrew Taplin said.

Tribal leader Wendsler Nosie

PHOTO: Wendsler Nosie is trying to get Congress to repeal the legislation that could see the Oak Flat campground become a copper mine. (ABC News: Stephanie March)

The company acquired the land through a controversial land-swap deal approved by the US Government in December.

Under the deal, Resolution Copper will take control of more than 970 hectares of copper-rich land around Oak Flat, and the company will transfer more than 2,140 hectares acres of privately owned land across the state to the US Forest Service.

After failing to get the deal through Congress for years, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain attached it at the last minute to a “must-pass” spending bill — the 1,600-page National Defence Authorisation Act — late last year.

“It’s downright crazy, dirty [and] disrespectful,” Mr Nosie, who is spearheading the fight against the mine, said.

The company has started exploratory work on the site but will not start full-scale production for years.

PHOTO: The Oak Flat campground could sink up to 300 meters as part of the mining operations. (ABC News: Stephanie March)

PHOTO: The Oak Flat campground could sink up to 300 meters as part of the mining operations. (ABC News: Stephanie March)

Project would have benefits for community: miner

Opponents are lobbying members of Congress to pass the Save Oak Flat Act, a piece of legislation from Arizona Democratic Representative Raul M Grijalva that would repeal the land-swap deal.

Resolution Copper has already invested more than $1 billion in the development it says is one of the top five undeveloped copper resources in the world.

Project director Mr Taplin said the project would have huge benefits for the local community.

“The mine will have a life of 40 years and, over the life of the project, will develop over $60 billion worth of economic benefits,” he said.

That would include thousands of jobs — including for Apaches living on the nearby San Carlos Reservation, which has some of the highest unemployment levels in the state.

“Employment is something we are going to need on our reservation,” Mike Betom, an employee of Resolution Copper and a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe who supports the mine, said.

The company said 25 of its current employees were Apache, 15 per cent of the total workforce.

“I think it will eventually provide opportunities for [tribe] members, education benefits, scholarships, community partnerships,” Mr Betom said.

“There are a number of other things that can happen between the mining company and the San Carlos reservation if they ever decide to come to the table and talk.”

Arizona is one of the most heavily mined parts of the United States. The region where the Resolution Copper project is underway has been home to mining operations for over a century.

As part of the development, the company is rehabilitating large tracts of land previously damaged by mining operations.

The company said it would continue to consult with the community as it went through the permit process, but Mr Nosie said he and his supporters would not give up their fight to stop the project.

“This time we are going to hang onto the land, we are going to hang onto what God created, we are going to hang onto the spirituality of this place,” he said.

PHOTO: Fifteen thousand Native American Apaches live on the San Carlos reservation in Arizona. (ABC: Stephanie March)

PHOTO: Fifteen thousand Native American Apaches live on the San Carlos reservation in Arizona. (ABC: Stephanie March)

Source: ABC Online


Apaches Rally At Capitol, Vowing To Continue Fighting For Sacred Oak Flat

Naelyn Pike at Apache Stronghold Rally

Naelyn Pike at Apache Stronghold Rally

The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Apache protesters completed their cross-country journey from the San Carlos reservation in Arizona to Washington, D.C., with a Wednesday rally on the lawn of the Capitol building, protesting Congress’ sale of their sacred Oak Flat to foreign mining conglomerates.

The area known as Oak Flat is part of Arizona’s Tonto National Forest, and the Apache have used it for generations in young women’s coming-of-age ceremonies. In 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower removed it from consideration for mining activities in recognition of its natural and cultural value. But in December 2014, during the final days of the previous Congress, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) added a rider to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act that opened the land to mining conglomerates Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

That change led to this week’s protests in Washington. Wendsler Nosie Sr. and his granddaughter, 16-year-old Naelyn Pike, led the Apache Stronghold coalition with speeches, prayers and songs, vowing to save land that is holy to them. At a separate rally Tuesday, they were joined by over 200 supporters — many representing faith groups in solidarity with the Apache — as well as Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who introduced legislation in June that would once again protect the land from mining. The bill has received support from the Sierra Club, National Congress of American Indians and tribes throughout the country.

“I’ve been fighting Congress on this issue in my life for, God, over 40 years,” Nosie told The Huffington Post. “Now everybody has that great sense that the American Indians, with the religions that we have, need to come to the forefront.”

“This is a violation of sacred sites and a violation of trust responsibility, and continues a historic pattern of neglecting and overlooking and ignoring the rights of Native people across this country,” Grijalva told The Huffington Post.

Oak Flat was originally part of the old San Carlos reservation, which was called “Hell’s 40 Acres” by the soldiers stationed there in the 1800s. It functioned as a prisoner-of-war camp for the Apache during their decades-long struggle against the United States and Mexico. Not far from Oak Flat is a place called “Apache Leap,” where Apache warriors plunged off a cliff to their death rather than surrender to the United States cavalry in 1870. This is the land of Geronimo, Cochise and Mangas Coloradas.

The protesters say the proposed Resolution Copper mine would destroy all that history.

“John McCain opened up the worst history in America,” said Nosie. “He opened it by attacking us, he opened it by attacking our religion and approving [a bill] to destroy it.”

In the tradition of leaders and generations past, the organizers of the Apache Stronghold are fighting to protect their rights to pray, worship and come of age in their sacred homelands.


Apache Stronghold Rally

“It’s like taking away a church,” Pike said. “But the thing about Oak Flat is it’s worse, because you can rebuild a church. Oak Flat will be completely destroyed and it could never come back.”While many are pushing to save Oak Flat, the fate of Apache holy land rests on the success of Grijalva’s bill — a long shot.

Although the bill has 17 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House, the congressman is concerned that it will be difficult to get a hearing in the natural resources subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, which is chaired by Don Young (R-Alaska), a representative that some view as hostile to Native rights.

“It’s Don Young’s way or the highway when it comes to that committee,” Grijalva said.

Young’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But it has been even more difficult for Grijalva to convince members of the Senate to take on McCain, an influential senator who chairs the Armed Services Committee and sits on the Committee on Indian Affairs.

Grijalva is still looking for a senator to introduce companion legislation, although he listed a number of potential allies.

Although Native Americans have been guaranteed the protection of their sacred sites for decades through the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act, opponents say the sale of Oak Flat tramples over that law and sets a precedent for Congress to let big business undermine Native rights to land and worship.

Apache Stronghold Rally

Apache Stronghold Rally

“This is a precedent setter, because if we do not repeal this portion of [the NDAA bill], then sacred sites and religious burial sites — all the things that are by law protected — are suddenly expendable, which sets a precedent for other parts of Indian Country,” said Grijalva. “If we are to protect sacred sites, and with this fight on Oak Flat build the profile and the significance of sacred sites to Indian people, then we are setting a precedent in other places as well.”A group of Native Hawaiians are currently fighting to protect Mauna Kea from a massive telescope proposed on their sacred mountain. And on Monday, the Pit River Tribe in California won an appeal to protect their sacred Medicine Lake from geothermal developers.

“This coalition — this awareness — is building,” said Terry Rambler, chairman of the San Carlos Apache Nation, in his closing remarks at Wednesday’s rally. “It keeps building every day. So let’s keep together. Let’s stay united. And let’s show the world out there that in the United States of America, freedom of religion still lives!”

“We’re not going to stop fighting,” said Pike. “If they take Oak Flat away, they’re taking a piece of my heart away. They’re taking my identity away — but I’m not going to let that happen.”

“If I die, I die a proud Apache woman because I fought like my ancestors,” she continued. “I fought for those future generations.”


Forces Seize, Destroy Illegal Mines Around Nazca

(Photo: Andina)

(Photo: Andina)

By Corey Watts | Peru this Week

Police and Peru’s armed forces have again stepped in to seize and destroy illegal mining operations threatening heritage values.

A diverse array of illegal mining equipment worth more than S/. 127,000 (US$ 400,000) was seized and destroyed by Peru’s National Police (PNP) near the Nazca archaeological site in Ica, it was reported today.

Antonion Fernandez, Peru’s High Commissioner for Formalization and Interdiction of Illegal Mining, said that the country’s first task was to protect its natural and cultural heritage assets.

The Nazca geoglyphs were designated a World Heritage Site byUNESCO in 1995, hence the mineral riches under the ground remain untapped.

The temptation is for illegal miners to take advantage of what Mr Fernandez calls a “wilderness of minerals”.

”Illegal miners dig tunnels there, mostly in an effort to find gold ore,” Mr Fernandez told official news agency Andina.

In a separate operation last month, a combined force of soldiers, marines, and police, with the help of the Air Force, were deployed to the El Sira protected area in Ucayali to destroy illegal mining equipment and secure the reserve.

About 22,000 people, comprising 69 indigenous communities, live in the area, some of whose artisanal mining enterprises have been recognized for several years.

Four people were arrested and a long list of illegal mining equipment destroyed.