Posts tagged mining
Posts tagged mining
In Case You Missed It: Infographic Maps 25 Mining Conflicts in Mexico
Photo credit: Cuartoscuro
South Africa’s Marikana miners return to work
Miners in South Africa are returning to work at the Marikana platinum complex, which was the scene of violent protests in which 46 people died.
Striking miners reached an agreement with owners Lonmin on Tuesday. It will see their salaries rise by up to 22%.
Lonmin is hoping to recover some of the big losses it incurred during the six-week stoppage.
An investigation is under way into the deaths of the miners, 34 of whom were shot by police.
The strikes have spread to other mines in South Africa, one of the world’s biggest producers of precious metals.
Miners were to receive a pay increase of between 11% and 22% depending on worker category - higher than the 5% inflation rate but far less than they had been demanding.
"We’re happy to go to work. We got what we wanted," Yandisa Mehlo told the AFP news agency.
But another one, Phumlile Macefane, said: “I return to work because I’m so hungry.
"I’m unhappy because I can’t get 12,500 [rand]. My brothers are dead, were killed by the police."
Troop deployment anger
On Monday, President Jacob Zuma said the disruption had cost the industry $548m (£337m) in lost output.
On Wednesday, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters near a mine owned by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world’s largest platinum producer, raising fears that the Marikana pay deal could encourage other miners to go on unofficial strikes.
Amplats re-opened its mines on Tuesday after they were closed last week.
Last week, the government announced it would clamp down on the protests, which had seen large crowds of strikers wielding machetes and clubs going from mine to mine in the Rustenberg platinum mining area, trying to enforce their strike.
A woman died this week after being hit by a rubber bullet on Saturday, while a man was beaten to death last week.
Several days before the police shot dead 34 miners, 10 people, including two police officers, were killed during violent protests.
Meanwhile, opposition parties have reacted angrily to the deployment on Saturday of about 1,000 troops to Marikana.
They say the president was constitutionally obliged to inform the country before deploying the military.
A backdated notice has since been issued by the Ministry of Defence to legalise the move.
Pictured: Marikana miners celebrated the end of the strike on Tuesday
Marikana mine strike: South Africa court frees miners
About 50 South African miners have been freed after murder charges against them, relating to the deaths of 34 miners shot by police, were dropped.
Prosecutors decided to provisionally set aside charges against 270 striking workers from the Marikana mine following a public outcry.
The miners will be released in batches with no bail requirements.
Earlier, security guards wounded four people with rubber bullets at a mine near Johannesburg, police said.
The Marikana group released on Monday is due back in court in February next year to face charges of public violence and holding an illegal gathering.
On Sunday, the prosecution announced the murder charges would be suspended until the outcome of a judge-led inquiry into the events of 16 August at the Lonmin-owned Marikana platinum mine.
The charges, levelled under a controversial apartheid-era law to accuse the miners of provoking police to open fire, were suspended after widespread condemnation.
The “common purpose” doctrine was used by the white-minority apartheid regime to crack down on its black opponents, and at the time was opposed by the now governing African National Congress (ANC).
Those whose addresses were verified by police were being released on Monday, while the rest would remain in custody until their next court appearance this week, the prosecution said.
Police said they opened fire on the strikers at Marikana after being threatened by a crowd of protesters who advanced towards them, armed with machetes.
The 270 miners, six of whom remain in hospital, were arrested during the protests.
Residents march against the Conga gold and silver mining project in Mamacocha Lagoon, Peru, Aug. 21, 2012. Demonstrators in Peru resumed their protests against plans to develop a $4.8 billion gold mine, saying they fear the mine will taint their water and affect a major aquifer. The mine is majority owned by U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp.
[Credit : Martin Mejia / AP]
South African police open fire on striking miners at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, leaving several bloodied corpses lying on the ground.
A Reuters cameraman says he saw at least seven bodies after the shooting, which occurred when police laying out barricades of barbed wire were outflanked by some of an estimated 3,000 miners massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine, northwest of Johannesburg.
(Warning: Graphic content)
Brazil targets Amazon gold miners in Yanomami reserve
Brazilian police have carried out a big operation against illegal gold miners in the Amazon, arresting at least 26 people.
Gold, mining equipment and several aircraft used to take men and supplies into the remote region were seized.
Police said the miners were causing grave environmental damage in the Yanomami indigenous reserve, near Brazil’s border with Venezuela.
The Yanomami have long complained of miners invading their lands.
Five criminal groups involved in illegal gold mining were identified during a year-long investigation in Roraima state, the Federal Police said.
The miners were using powerful pumps mounted on barges to dredge material from the bottom of the river and blast the river banks.
The environmental impact was worsened by the use of highly-toxic mercury to separate gold from the river silt.
Among those arrested are pilots, engineers and businessmen accused of funding the mining operations and selling the gold in the city of Boa Vista.
"The focus of the operation was to target the economic motor of illegal mining, which is to say the financiers and the planes used to invade indigenous lands," police superintendent Alexandre Silva Saraiva told O Globo newspaper.
Around 20,000 Yanomami live in relative isolation in the indigenous reserve, which covers nearly 100,000 square km (38,610 square miles) of rainforest along the Venezuelan border.
The tribe has been resisting encroachment by gold miners for decades, accusing them of destroying the rainforest and introducing diseases.
In recent years the soaring price of gold on world markets has driven a surge in unlicensed gold-mining in many parts of the Amazon.
Pictured: The huge scale of the Amazon makes it hard for the authorities to control
Bolivia to revoke mine licence after protests
President Evo Morales to revoke concessions of Canadian silver mine following violent opposition from Quechua Indians.
Bolivia’s president said he would revoke a mining concession from Canada’s South American Silver Corporation and give the state control of the site due to violent protests over the company’s plans.
The announcement on Wednesday is the second time in less than a month that President Evo Morales has given in to protesters’ demands for him to step up a drive to increase state control over natural resources in the poor Andean country.
Violence flared last week at South American Silver’s Malku Khota project after protesters held five Bolivian employees hostage to demand the Canadian company leave.
They hailed the president’s decision as a definitive solution to the conflict in which one protester was killed and a dozen more injured.
"The company [South American Silver] put brothers, brothers-in-law, cousins and neighbours at odds with one another," Morales said at the presidential palace as he explained the deal between protesters and his government.
"How can we be at odds with each other over an international company that comes to loot our natural resources?" said Morales, an ally of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who has increased state control over the economy with a series of nationalisations.
Pictured: Bolivian president, Evo Morales, gave into protester demands regarding Canada’s South American Silver Corp [EPA]
A Chinese city has released 21 people who were detained after a clash between police and residents protesting against a metals plant they feared would poison them, city officials said on Wednesday.
Shifang government releases majority of demonstrators and cancels copper plant project after thousands took to streets
Thousands of people in the south-west city of Shifang took to the streets over the past three days to protest against the government’s plans to allow the building of a copper alloy plant, the latest unrest spurred by environmental concerns in the world’s second-largest economy.
The Shifang government said police had “forcibly taken away 27 suspected criminals” on Monday and Tuesday for tearing down the door of the municipal government building, smashing windows and throwing bricks and stones at police and government workers.
That prompted a massive sit-in on Tuesday night outside a government office by locals demanding their release.
Six are still in police custody, the city government said in a statement on its official Sina Weibo microblogging site.
"The remaining 21 people, after receiving criticism and education and repenting for their mistakes, were released at 11pm on 3 July," the government said on Wednesday.
The government took the uncommon step on Tuesday night of cancelling the metals project planned by Shanghai-listed Sichuan Hongda. The city initially had said it would only suspend the project.
The latest protest underscores how environmental worries have stoked calls for expanded rights for citizens and greater consultation in the tightly controlled one-party state. They follow similar demonstrations against projects in the cities of Dalian in the north-east and Haimen in southern Guangdong province in the past year.
Pictured: Protests in Shifang highlighted growing concerns over the environmental impact of industrial development. Photograph: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images
Peru emergency in Cusco region over anti-mine protests
The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in a southern Andean province following seven days of anti-mining protests and the deaths of two demonstrators.
Freedom of assembly has been suspended and police given special powers.
More than 70 police officers have been injured in clashes with protesters in Espinar province, near Cusco.
The copper mine dispute is over pay and environment issues. The government says the move is to restore public order.
The state of emergency, which will be in force for 30 days, is the second over anti-mining protests in Ollanta Humala’s 10-month-old presidency.
Last December, civil liberties were also restricted in the northern region of Cajamarca where opposition to the construction of a huge gold mine by an American company continues.
Pictured: The dispute is over pay and environmental concerns
What country had the world’s fastest-growing economy last year?
If you guessed China or India, you’d be wrong.
In fact, it’s Mongolia: Its economy grew at more than 17 percent in 2011, according to estimates. That’s nearly twice as fast as China’s.
The reason — in a word — is mining.
Mongolia is rich in copper, coal and gold, and it’s in the midst of a mineral boom. This marks a profound change for a country where two out of every five people make their living herding livestock. Extractive industry has become so pervasive, some Mongolians now refer to their homeland as “Minegolia.”
For the poor, landlocked nation of fewer than 3 million people, mining represents a remarkable opportunity, but one that’s also loaded with risks.
Doubling GDP In A Decade
Much of the focus these days is on Oyu Tolgoi, a mega-mine in Mongolia’s South Gobi province, about 50 miles north of the Chinese border.
The mine — owned by international mining giant Rio Tinto, Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines and the Mongolian government — is scheduled to produce its first copper ore in June and grow dramatically over the next five years.
Cameron McCrae, Oyu Tolgoi’s Australian chief executive, estimates that the mine will be the world’s third-largest copper and gold mine.
The mine is playing a substantial economic role even before it’s operational, McCrae notes.
"At the moment, during construction, we probably make up 30 percent of the GDP of the country," he says.
Tuvshintugs Batdelger, who runs an economic think tank at the National University of Mongolia, says mining is helping to drive the economy of this Central Asian nation at an incredible pace.
"In the coming 10 years, average GDP growth will be 12 percent," he says. Even when you factor in inflation, "GDP in real terms more than doubles in 10 years’ time."
Pictured: 1. Map showing the location of the mega-mine Oyu Tolgoi Credit: Nelson Hsu/NPR. 2. The mine at Oyu Tolgoi, Turquoise Hill in Mongolian, will be one of the world’s largest copper mines in about five years. An employee holds up a small sample of the oxidized copper that gave the mine its name.John W. Poole/NPR. 3. Horses were first domesticated in the area that is Mongolia today. The original cowboys, Mongolians ride on wooden saddles and are some of the best horsemen in the world. They’re a part of Mongolia’s traditional culture, which is under pressure from the mining boom.John W. Poole/NPR
Peru miners rescued; kidnappers hold gas-field workers
LIMA, Peru — Nine Peruvian miners trapped for six days in the collapse of a copper mine were rescued Wednesday, most walking out under their own power and wearing sunglasses against the light.
"Mission accomplished!" proclaimed President Ollanta Humala after the rescue at the mine in the southern region of Ica. Humala had flown to the zone the day before to oversee the rescue operation.
Rescuers were able to communicate with the trapped miners with a hose they lowered into the pit. It was also used to send oxygen, liquid nourishment and medicines.
The mine was not operating with proper permits, and Humala said the cave-in underscored the dangers faced by so-called informal miners. Illegal mining, said to produce as much as $2 billion in metals annually, also does terrible damage to the environment and public health, his government has said.
Wednesday’s rescue echoed the 2010 evacuation of 33 Chilean miners who had been entombed half a mile below ground for more than two months.
But as Peruvians celebrated the good news, another crisis was still playing out.
In the Andean region of Cuzco, 36 workers for gas-extracting companies have been kidnapped by guerrillas from the resurgent Shining Path group, officials from the firms said Wednesday. They have been held at least two days, and on Wednesday the government declared a 60-day state of emergency for the zone, which makes it easier for the army to deploy.
Pictured: Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, center, waves alongside nine miners rescued in the Ica region. Credit: Cris Bouroncle / AFP/Getty Images
Fresh cave-in complicates effort to rescue trapped miners in Peru
A cave-in complicated work in southern Peru to rescue nine miners who have been trapped below ground for days, state media reported Sunday.
The miners have been stuck since Thursday in the wildcat Cabeza de Negro mine.
"It’s very complicated work. We’re taking into account all the necessary security measures to avoid risks among the rescuers themselves," said Cesar Chonate, a regional head of Peru’s civil defense agency, the state-run Andina news agency reported.
Video from state-run TV Peru showed workers, wearing hard hats and headlamps, loading rocks into a pushcart by hand.
It was not clear what caused the initial collapse.
The miners have been getting oxygen, food and water through a tube, which has also allowed them to stay in contact with people above ground, Andina reported.
Peru’s Cabinet chief was in the area Sunday and spoke to reporters about the ongoing effort.
"We want the rescue to happen as soon as possible, but the engineer in charge said it could be another day or two," said Oscar Valdes, according to Andina.
Peruvian Mining Minister Jorge Merino was also in the area and appealed to mining companies for their expertise, according to a statement from his office.
Mining is big business in Peru, which is a major world producer of copper, silver, gold and other minerals.
Pictured: Workers walk toward the entrance of a mine east of Ica, Peru, on Friday in an attempt to rescue nine trapped miners
Ecuadorians protest over mining controversy
Protesters both in support and against the Ecuadorian president flooded to the capital over a copper mining issue.
Protesting natives supported by opponents of President Rafael Correa brought Ecuador’s capital to a standstill, demanding an end to policies they say will open the Amazon rainforest to vast mining projects and ravage the environment.
Thursday’s protests were prompted partly by a recent agreement between Ecuador and China for industrial copper mining in the Amazon’s Ecuacorriente Zamora-Chinchipe region.
Supporters of the leftist president, however, also came out in force, raising fears of violence between the rival groups were high.
"We did not come to destabilise," said Humberto Cholango, head of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), a powerful umbrella group that represents natives from around the country.
The group supported Correa when he was elected in 2007, but later split and accused him of abandoning them in favour of free-market policies.
Protests led by CONAIE, which claims to represent a third of Ecuador’s population of more than 14 million, have already toppled two presidents, Abdala Bucaram in 1997 and Jamil Mahuad in 2000.
However Correa, who polls show has an 80 per cent approval, also has support among Ecuador’s natives.
Some 1,000 natives carrying a giant rainbow flag entered the capital from the south after a two-week march from the Amazon rainforest town of El Pangui, some 700 kilometres to the south.
Another group of around 500 natives entered Quito from the north, and were joined by leftist activists and members of a teacher’s union. The groups were set to meet in the downtown El Arbolito park.
Correa spoke earlier to thousands of his supporters who gathered at the same park, then marched to a plaza next to the government palace.
"We will never talk to the corrupt right, with the liars!" Correa told them. He later urged the natives to not let themselves "be used."
"We know that mining is necessary for modern life. As well as the raw materials, we need the revenue so that we can care for handicapped people, pay for social security, build roads," the president told local radio on Thursday.
Correa said the country’s first ever large-scale mining deal, which was signed with Chinese-owned Ecuacorriente earlier this month, guarantees the government, not the miners, will receive most of the income from mineral exports.
"These are the best negotiated contracts ever in world history," he said. "We got as much out of them as was possible."
The government called supporters to gather for defence against a possible coup.
Pictured: Protesters reacted against a recent agreement between Ecuador and China over an industrial copper mine [Reuters]
Peru mining protest turns deadly in Puerto Maldonado
Three people have died and more than 30 have been injured in clashes between miners and police in Peru.
The miners are protesting against tougher penalties for illegal mining.
Local officials said police were far outnumbered by the protesters, who are trying to take control of the airport at the city of Puerto Maldonado.
The miners say the new rules will put them out of work, but the government says the sanctions will encourage miners to get the necessary permits.
An estimated 50,000 miners do not have a licence to operate.
The government says large areas of jungle have been destroyed by illegal mining and large portions of the area’s waterways show high levels of mercury, used in the mining operations.
Officials say they want the miners to obtain the correct permits and to abide by environmental rules, but the protesters accuse the government of wanting to hand over mining concessions only to large multinational companies.
The latest protests erupted after talks between the government and the miners broke down on Tuesday.
Ecuador indigenous protesters march against mining
Indigenous protesters in Ecuador have begun a two-week march across the country against plans for large-scale mining projects.
Several hundred protesters set off from an Amazon province where a Chinese company has been authorised to develop a huge open-cast copper mine.
Ecuador’s main indigenous organisation, Conaie, says mining will contaminate water and force people off their land.
President Rafael Correa says it will help fund much-needed development.
He has accused Conaie of trying to destabilise the country.
Thousands of his supporters joined a rival demonstration in the capital, Quito.
The indigenous protest march has support from some opposition parties as well as student and teachers’ organisations.
Under the slogan “For Life and Dignity of the Peoples” the demonstrators set off from the town of El Pangui in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest region.
Some carried banners reading “Chinese companies get out of Ecuador”.
The marchers hope more people will join their protest along the 700km (435 mile) route to Quito in the Andean highlands.
Pictured: The protesters hope their protest will grow as they march on Quito