Canadian mining companies dig deep with their massive open pit mines to claim their treasure, but take an enormous toll on the earth
- Canadian-based corporations account for a 75 percent of the world’s mining. These corporations have promoted an extremely destructive type of open-pit mining known as cyanide heap-leach mining, which can leave behind an uninhabitable landscape strewn with vast amounts of chemical wastes
- In these mines, massive amounts of cyanide are deployed to eat away rock, exposing valuable mineable ores such as gold. Acid leaching from sulfur deposits in the rock at these mines has been known to severely pollute nearby water supplies. In some cases, this acidic pollution – known as “acid-mine drainage” — is projected to continue in perpetuity unless expensive water-treatment systems are installed on site.
- Open pit mining has been bitterly fought in the united states and Canada with some success in resisting some of the more environmentally devastating mining proposals. In 1998, Montana voters killed one such gold mine proposal on the Blackfoot river because of public concern about the mine’s potential impacts on the river’s world-class trout fishery. A Cascadia Times exposé of the project brought light some of its potential harm to the environment.
- For more than a decade, environmental groups have been bitterly fighting the proposed massive pebble mine, near Bristol bay in southwest Alaska, and its Canadian and British corporate backers. They are concerned about the mine’s potential impact on one of the world’s most productive runs of sockeye salmon and the thousands of jobs that the region’s salmon industry generates. Canada’s northern dynasty minerals, the last remaining mining company vying for the rights to develop pebble mine, is under intense pressure from well-funded organizations like NRDC and celebrities like Robert Redford to step down. Last month, in northern British Columbia, the Taku river Tlingit first nation filed suit in the supreme court of British Columbia to stop another potentially destructive mining project, the proposed Tulsequah chief mine near the Alaskan border. The Canadian government has come under fire for favoring resource extraction industries at the expense of communities and the environment. The Canadian government provides no oversight over Canadian-based corporations foreign operation and little oversight over their domestic activities. Small communities in poorer countries have little power against the Canadian-based mining corporations with their enormous budgets and their own militaristic security squads on site.