By Joan Baxter.
The Mining Association of Nova Scotia has been busy lately, filling newspaper pages with golden tales of the riches that mining could bring to Nova Scotia if only we would open up protected wilderness areas, even land sacred to the Miâ€™kmaq, and stop missing economic opportunities to be had by blasting, digging, and drilling away at our small province.
As for those with concerns about the risks that mining brings, the executive director of the Mining Association of Nova Scotia (MANS), Sean Kirby, contends thatâ€™s because we have “utdated perceptions” of the industry (Antiquated view of mining, November 4, 2017) “It is not your grandfather’s industry,” he says. On this at least, he’s right.
Most of the actual mining on this planet is not done by Ma and Pa operations or by companies owned by people from our communities, or even from our country. Instead, it is done by very large, wealthy and powerful multinational corporations that straddle the planet with spidery webs of subsidiaries that do a lot of shape-shifting, making it difficult to seek justice or costs when a mining operation results in human rights abuses, environmental disasters, and even death.
Even closer to home was the break in 2014 in the tailings pond for the open pit gold and copper mine in Mount Polley, B.C. It spewed millions of cubic metres of silt and mining waste into lakes and rivers. Three years later, Indigenous people describe this mining catastrophe as a “death that is not yet over.” No fines, no sanctions.