Protest Barrick
Home About us Issues International Campaigns Press Actions

** BARRICK MINING DISASTERS - Emergency Funds Needed **

May 21st, 2009

Dear ProtestBarrick friends and supporters!

This has been a crazy past few weeks to be watchdogging Barrick Gold. Within the first week of starting our annual ProtestBarrick tour in Toronto, a Barrick-recommended military force in PNG started to torch hundreds of houses, allegedly to clear way for mine expansion. SO... we changed plans a bit, MiningWatch Canada sent an Urgent Appeal to several United Nations Special Rapporteurs and now we are now attending the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York! Amnesty International has also made a public statement on the recent events at Porgera.

Not two weeks later, there was a major spill at Barrick's North Mara mine in Tanzania! Thousands have been left without water for domestic use, while fish and all kinds of other water life along the river have died... there has even been 5 cows reported to have died due to the spill! Protest Barrick has been in touch with first responders on the ground, who have requested that we raise funds for environmental testing (samples have already been taken of the water and the animals).

Additionally, RightsAction has graciously offered to accept tax-deductible donations on behalf of the fundraising efforts for the Akali Tange Association in Papua New Guinea.

For tax-deductible donations for the Akali Tange Association, please see below for instructions.

To make donations to pay for water testing in Tanzania, please click the DONATE button on this website.

Many thanks for your support!

Sakura Saunders and Natalie Lowrey
ProtestBarrick.net, an all-volunteer organisation

* * * * * * *

TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS for Akali Tange Association
To support the now homeless and otherwise affected indigenous communities in the still-militarized Porgera region and to support Mr. Tulin's efforts to advocate at the United Nations, make check payable to "Rights Action" and mail to:

UNITED STATES:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
CANADA:  552 - 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8

CREDIT-CARD DONATIONS: http://www.rightsaction.org/Templates/donations_index.html

Please write “PNG Relief Fund” on check memo-line and in a cover letter, or in an email to <info[at]rightsaction.org> if you make a credit-card donation.

* Please redistribute this appeal all around *

* * *

May 16, 2009

Dear friends and supporters,

We write to inform you of a human rights crisis taking place right now in Papua New Guinea (PNG), in a region affected by the biggest gold mining company in the world: Toronto-based Barrick Gold.

This is an appeal for emergency funds for the Akali Tange Association (ATA) and Porgera Landowners' Association (PLOA), whose members are Aboriginal people in PNG and whose homes, lands and lives are right now under attack.

Jethro Tulin, of the local human rights-focused Akali Tange Association, traveled to Canada in early May to participate in Barrick's Annual General Meeting to testify to the human rights crisis and environmental degradation caused by Barrick's presence in Laigap-Porgera, PNG.

Addressing Peter Munk (Barrick Gold CEO) at the May 2009 shareholder’s meeting in Toronto, Jethro Tulin said:

"Mr. Munk, your mine has destroyed our land, our water, our safety and our ability to feed ourselves.  We know that we can no longer live on our ancestral land.  We know that we must leave our place so that our children can have a future.  But rather than offer us fair terms for our relocation you are calling for military action and our houses and lands are being torched."

On another occasion, Jethro Tulin explained:

“Barrick’s Porgera Mine is a textbook case of what can go wrong when large-scale mining confronts indigenous peoples, ignoring the impacts of its projects and resorting to goon squads when people rebel against it. This outrages the conscience of local Indigenous communities, especially when the mine is right next to our homes; my people are exposed to dangerous chemicals like cyanide and mercury; some of our people drown in the tailings and waste during floods; and fishing stocks, flora and fauna are depleted down the river systems, leading to indigenous food sources being threatened.”

A State of Emergency was declared on March 22, in Papua New Guinea and is still in effect in the region surrounding Barrick’s “Porgera” mine.  While Jethro traveled in Canada, the PNG government sent 200 heavily armed soldiers and police into the Porgera area.  The State of Emergency was declared in Porgera based on reports presented by Barrick (PNG) Limited, according to Laigap Porgera Member of Parliament Phillip Kikala.

Meanwhile, reports and photos received from Porgera landowners show how PNP troops have burnt down more than 300 homes in villages bordering the mine site.  Many of these homes belonged to the indigenous landowners who own a 2.5% stake in the mine and who have been requesting that Barrick Gold resettle the local population due to the destruction and contamination of their traditional lands.  Barrick Gold has refused to negotiate resettlement, citing high costs.

Due to the critical situation, Jethro Tulin will be staying in North America and traveling to the 8th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City, May 18-29.  His participation at the UN Forum will enable him to denounce the ongoing human rights crisis in his region, as well as to reconnect with other indigenous organizations, many of which he encountered during the 7th Session of the UNPFII last year.  Further meetings and interviews are currently being planned in New York, Boston and Washington DC, as well as follow-up events in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto in early June 2009.

Former Rights Action staff member and independent journalist Sandra Cuffe will be accompanying Jethro Tulin to the UNPFII in New York City, as well as to Boston and Washington DC.

Mr. Tulin appeared on the Canadian Business News Network and CBC's "As It Happens" to make an appeal to the world for intervention on humanitarian grounds.  Amnesty International, Mining Watch Canada, and several other organizations have also published reports and appeals on the matter.

BACKGROUND
Forced evictions are evictions that are carried out without adequate notice or consultation with those affected, without legal safeguards and without assurances of adequate alternative accommodation. They are defined by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as “the permanent or temporary removal against their will of individuals, families and/or communities from the homes and/or land which they occupy, without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection.  As a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other international human rights treaties which prohibit forced eviction and related human rights violations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Papua New Guinea has an obligation to stop forced evictions and to protect the population from forced evictions.

BARRICK GOLD CORPORATION AND PORGERA
Barrick Gold Corporation is a Canadian mining company and the largest producer of gold in the world, with 27 mines in operation. Through its subsidiary, Barrick operates the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea and owns 95% of the mine, which in 2008 produced 627,000 ounces of gold (gold prices averaged US$871 per ounce in 2008). Barrick took over the Porgera mine in 2006 through the acquisition of the prior operator, Placer Dome.

There are a number of villages within the mine area, which covers some 2,350 hectares of land. The Porgera Landowners Association, which represents the approximately 10,000 indigenous residents living within the mine area, has called for a fair relocation process for the residents.

Many locals look for gold in the tailings, waste rock piles, or the open pit of the mine. Locals claim that they practiced alluvial gold mining before the mine operation began, that it was a legal and important source of income, and that they continue to mine due to poverty and lack of land for subsistence farming. The locals’ gold mining is considered illegal by Barrick, as it occurs within the company’s Special Mine Lease area.

VIOLENT DEATHS
This tension has been the source of conflict at the mine site. Since commencing operation in 1990, the mine has been associated with several violent deaths. [Barrick Gold’s] mine has also been heavily criticised for the impacts of its environmental practices.

NORWEGIAN PENSION FUND DIVESTS FROM BARRICK GOLD

On 30 January 2009, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund excluded Barrick from its investment portfolio for “causing severe environmental damages as a direct result of its operations”. […]

[Similar pension funds in North America, including the Canada Pension Plan, continue to profit from their investments in Barrick Gold]

* * * * * * *

TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS for Akali Tange Association
To support the now homeless and otherwise affected indigenous communities in the still-militarized Porgera region and to support Mr. Tulin's efforts to advocate at the United Nations, make check payable to "Rights Action" and mail to:

UNITED STATES:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
CANADA:  552 - 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8

CREDIT-CARD DONATIONS: http://www.rightsaction.org/Templates/donations_index.html

Please write “PNG Relief Fund” on check memo-line and in a cover letter, or in an email to <info[at]rightsaction.org> if you make a credit-card donation.


* * *

MORE INFO:  Sandra Cuffe, 514-583-6432, lavagabunda27@yahoo.es

* Please redistribute this appeal all around *

 

Join our e-mail list