We were saddened to learn of the passing of Carrie Lester, a dear MISN ally and incredible community organizer. Carrie was an Indigenous rights, anti-nuke, environmental protection, and anti-poverty activist. She was instrumental in the Idle No More movement, and most recently in the months-long vigil she and other incredible women (Sigrid Kneve and Sue Lynn Manone Cornfoot) held outside the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada office in Toronto.
We want to thank her for all she has given to MISN over the years, from helping us to welcome visiting folks from impacted communities to generously opening many of our events by situating our conversations in relationship to the land and long histories of Indigenous lives and resistance. We will always remember the moments we shared together in struggle and in friendship. Toronto is a different place without Carrie Lester and the resonance of her life and work will remain with us. Rest in power.
Journalists from major Canadian and international media outlets will be descending on the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) convention in Toronto March 4-7. Some of these outlets, like BNN and the Globe and Mail, are even official media partners. We’re tired of seeing PDAC coverage that repeats industry PR without mentioning the experiences of impacted communities.
At PDAC 2018 we’ll be sharing a brief with journalists (see below) that summarizes some of the most egregious human rights abuses, environmental destruction and economic damage done by major convention sponsors, including Barrick Gold, Goldcorp and Rio Tinto, as well as other Canadian mining companies like HudBay Minerals and Nevsun. Media outlets covering PDAC need to tell these stories too!
March 4, 2018
What’s Hidden at the PDAC Convention?
The “Oscars” of the global mining industry – the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) annual convention – is happening in Toronto from March 4th-7th. The PDAC convention is the world’s largest mineral industry gathering, bringing together geologists, mining engineers, CEOs, financiers, and government representatives. This industry gathers yearly to make deals and give out awards without the presence or input of most impacted communities and without mention of the numerous harms perpetuated by mining corporations. Responsible news outlets and journalists should not be replicating industry press releases without acknowledging these well-documented abuses.
For example, PDAC’s 2018 Environmental and Social Responsibility Award is going to Golden Star Resources, a company linked to the criminalization of artisanal miners, the shooting of 7 people, the intimidation of community members, and cyanide spills in Ghana., ,  The Canadian mining industry as a whole has a reputation for bad behaviour; a leaked report commissioned by PDAC found that Canadian companies have played a large role in resource conflicts globally. The PDAC convention is promoted as a space to identify and celebrate best practices, but this rhetoric is largely misleading given the industry’s troubling track record.
Many companies present in the Investors Exchange have been involved in extensive environmental devastation. Barrick Gold and Goldcorp were featured speakers on a water management panel as part of 2017’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Series. However, the history of water contamination by these Platinum Sponsors tells a different story.
Human rights abuses
While PDAC’s CSR event series “aims to facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue and peer learning on key issues related to responsible exploration and mining,” these conversations clearly have not led to accountability in the mining industry. Prominent PDAC members have been accused of and even sued for their role in serious human rights violations including murder, sexual assault and exploitative labour practices.
The mining industry regularly touts the economic benefits of mining, yet many companies avoid paying their fair share and some have even launched litigation against countries for denying them permits.
The Media’s Role
The environmental harms, human rights abuses, and economic damage listed above are sadly too common within the mining industry and some of PDAC’s most prominent members are the worst offenders. We encourage media outlets and journalists to:
o Seek out and highlight the voices of impacted communities to tell the whole story;
o Acknowledge any fines, charges, and allegations that have been made against companies that you mention in your writing about the PDAC convention;
o Report on the political and financial support provided by the Canadian government to Canadian mining companies; and
o Question the claims made by PDAC and its representatives during the convention.
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
[email protected] | mininginjustice.org
Media Contact: Jen Mills (647) 990-7897
Unearth Canada’s shameful industry secrets in Toronto’s most unconventional treasure hunt!
Drop by the starting point anytime between 1-4pm to get your top-secret mission. Then, go underground into the nearby convention centre to dig up some truths. There’s no cost to enter the game, and there’s a small “liquid gold” prize, from Turnview Farm Honey, for those who RSVP ahead!
When: Sunday, March 4th anytime between 1-4pm.
Where: Meet at Hoops Sports Bar (125 Bremner Blvd); treasure hunt at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Help us throw a wrench in the PR machine of one of Canada’s most powerful — and deadly — industries in the weeks leading up to their biggest gathering!
Every year we’re there at PDAC in person, not letting them get away with their corporate charade. But this year we want to take it a step further and burst their social media bubble as well. Help us help people see through the Canadian mining industry’s PR campaign by participating in The #DisruptPDAC Challenge!
MISN is officially no longer on hiatus from external organizing! We got a lot done during this time that will make our activism stronger and more sustainable. Keep an eye out for what we have planned for the coming months! 😁✊❤️