Unearthing Solidarity: Global Voices on Mining Justice

Unearthing Solidarity Mining Blog
Unearthing Solidarity Mining Blog

Generally, we consider gold as a noble matter, but we can state that its extraction in the most of the cases is full of violence. – Fr. Dário Bossi

Two things stick with me, haunt me, from the webinar, “Unearthing Solidarity: Global Voices on Mining Justice” on February 16: the images of mass destruction as a tailings pond broke in Brazil and the waves of earth –  earth and water, effluence – that engulfed a community, and the slide showing in clear graphic lines how minerals required in the “green” energy economy are directly linked to conflict and the loss of millions of lives.

Joan Kuyek is a lifelong champion for communities affected by mining and the author of Unearthing Justice: How to Protect your Community from the Mining Industry. Joan was the founding national coordinator of MiningWatch Canada from 1999 to 2009, and she continues to do work for MiningWatch and many communities. Her advocacy, organizing, and research have been indispensable for all of us seeking mining justice in Canada, and she has been a friend to both KAIROS and Development and Peace in past campaigns.

During the webinar, Joan led an online discussion with three panelists who are well acquainted with mining injustice and solidarity among mining communities.

Fr. Dário Bossi, born in Italy, is a naturalized Brazilian. He is also a Comboni Missionary. When he was parish priest in the community of Piquiá – Açailândia, he took up the cause of the communities affected by the socio-environmental violations caused by the mining and steel industries. He is currently the coordinator of the Latin American Ecumenical Network Churches and Mining and is an advisor to REPAM (Panamazonian Ecclesial Network), specifically focused on Human Rights.

In the recording, listen to his words and listen to the silence as he showed a short video of devastation. Fr. Dário asks us for solidarity, beyond webinars, to committed connection, for work to dispel the myths of the mining companies, for divestment and Canadian laws to hold mining companies to account.

Jacques Nzumbu SJ is a Jesuit and a specialist in conflict minerals, responsible mineral supply chain due diligence, corporate social responsibility of mining companies, artisanal mining and strategic minerals and energy transition. He is a PhD student at UQAM (Montreal). He urges us to reconsider what it means to have a “just” transition from the fossil fuel industry. Check out his slides that make the situation so clear. Mining for the minerals required for renewable energy (to save humans and the lives of other species in the future) is killing so many right now. How do we transition without those minerals? How do we mine without violence to humanity and the earth? Fr. Jacques has some ideas.

Loretta Williams told a very personal story, a story of love and triumph, while watching others face devastation. Loretta Williams is an elected leader of the Xeni Gwet’in, which is situated in a pristine area in the interior of British Columbia. Xeni Gwet’in is one of six Tsilhqot’in communities. They are the River People and they take their responsibility to protect the water very seriously.

Loretta’s community has been threatened by proposed mining. The Tsilhqot’in have been through two Canadian Environmental Assessments for a proposed open pit gold and copper mine project within the heart of their caretaker area. The projects were rejected twice by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and still the mining companies press on.

Joan expertly wrapped up the evening by fielding questions from the audience. You too might find your mining industry and solidarity questions answered here.

Shannon Neufeldt, KAIROS’ Member Relations and Network Coordinator

Filed in: Ecological Justice

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