MAC: Mines and Communities

Over 200 million tonnes of mine wastes are dumped into world oceans

Published by MAC on 2018-05-05

One bank has guts to condemn it

The dumping of mine waste into oceans has, for some years, been condemend by groups around the world.

Now the campaign has grown and, for the first time, a major commercial bank has added its voice in opposition.

220 Million Tonnes!

Earthworks

3 May 2018

That’s how much hazardous waste mining companies dump directly into our oceans, rivers and lakes every year: that’s more waste than the United States puts into its landfills. This practice smothers seabed floors and coral reefs, decimates fish populations, and floods wetlands and forests.

Polluted water. Destroyed ecosystems. Lost livelihoods. For decades, communities and ecosystems from Idaho to Indonesia have suffered the devastating impacts.

It’s Dirty. It’s Unnecessary. And it’s Wrong.

The Ditch Ocean Dumping campaign is calling for a ban on tailings dumping in water, and demanding banks withdraw from mining companies using this outdated practice. Join Us! We Need Your Help!

Everyone deserves access to clean water.

It’s the foundation of a healthy life. For many indigenous communities, water is the heart of their cultural heritage and spiritual practice. Healthy oceans and clean rivers and lakes are also critical to reducing the impacts of climate change.

That is why we must take action now to stop this outdated practice from making a comeback: a new mine is already operating in Papua New Guinea, proposed projects are moving forward in Norway, and the industry has its sights set on Chile.

Dirty.

Mine waste can contain up to three dozen dangerous chemicals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cyanide. These metals accumulate in fish and, ultimately, the people that eat them.

Unnecessary.

Although mine waste dumping in water has been phased out in many parts of the world, companies still use it, governments still allow it, and some of the world’s largest banks and investment firms still profit from it.
Wrong.

By propping up irresponsible mining companies, financial institutions like Citigroup (but see below), Credit Suisse, Bank of America, and JP Morgan are putting the health of our oceans and planet at risk.


Citigroup Commits to Ditch Ocean Mine Waste Dumping

Bank is the first to establish prohibition on financing all submarine waste disposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 2, 2018

Earthworks

Contact: Brendan McLaughlin, bmclaughlin@earthworks.org, +1.206.892.8832; Alan Septoff, aseptoff@earthworks.org, +1.202.887.1872 x105

NEW YORK — This week Citigroup announced it will no longer finance mining projects that dump mine waste into the ocean. The move comes in response to pressure from the Ditch Ocean Dumping campaign, which is calling on financial institutions to divest from any project or company that employs the practice.

“Citi’s decision says loud and clear: ocean dumping is dirty, unnecessary and wrong,” said Ellen Moore of Earthworks, who is coordinating the campaign. “It’s high time we ditched ocean dumping once and for all. Banks and financial institutions must actively take steps to ensure that they are not bankrolling the destruction of our oceans.”

After negotiations with the campaign, Citigroup agreed to add specific language to its environmental and social policy framework: “…Citi will not directly finance new mining projects… that utilize submarine waste disposal.” The policy framework covers corporate loans over $50 million, general corporate transactions and project finance.

Companies that employ aqueous mine waste dumping will land on the bank’s watchlist, an internal policy and process document used to identify high risk practices. Inclusion on the watch list means companies are identified as having elevated environmental, social or reputational risks and are automatically subjected to additional environmental and social review. The policy change does not, however, address Citi’s brokerage business that holds nominee or custody shares on behalf of clients, which makes is possible for such investors to remain anonymous.

“We are encouraged by Citi’s decision but remain concerned about transparency in financing of these types of harmful practices,” said Eiliv Erdal, local chair of the Association of Norwegian Salmon River Owners. “My livelihood depends on a healthy Førdefjord and I should be able to communicate directly with shareholders about how their investment will affect my business and my community.”

Mining companies dump 220 million tonnes of mine waste directly into our oceans, rivers and lakes every year: more waste than the United States puts into its landfills. While the outdated practice has been phased out in many parts of the world, new mining proposals in Papua New Guinea and Norway signal ocean mine waste dumping is being ramped up, not phased out.

Following Citi’s commitment, the campaign will shift focus to other financial institutions that facilitate mine waste dumping. In Norway, two proposed mines escaped a recent moratorium on submarine dumping permits, jeopardizing the fish-rich Førdefjord and Repparfjord, as well as the traditional lifestyle of the indigenous Saami people.

“The Saami Parliament has twice voted against dumping mine waste in the Repparfjord,” said Silje Karine Muotka, member of the Governing Council of the Saami Parliament of Norway. “It is illogical and immoral to sacrifice our traditional, sustainable and profitable fisheries for an uncertain mine project that relies on outdated practices to turn a profit.”

Traditional reindeer herding and fishing are an important source of sustenance and livelihoods for the Saami. According to the Institute for Marine Research, the area of the Repparfjord designated for mine waste dumping is a critical cod spawning ground.

Mine waste can contain up to three dozen dangerous chemicals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cyanide. These metals accumulate in fish and, ultimately, the wildlife and people that eat them. The pollution contaminates drinking water, decimates ecosystems, and destroys fisheries.


Citigroup Commits to Ditch Ocean Mine Waste Dumping

Bank is the first to establish prohibition on financing all submarine waste disposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 2, 2018

Earthworks

Contact: Brendan McLaughlin, bmclaughlin@earthworks.org, +1.206.892.8832; Alan Septoff, aseptoff@earthworks.org, +1.202.887.1872 x105

NEW YORK — This week Citigroup announced it will no longer finance mining projects that dump mine waste into the ocean. The move comes in response to pressure from the Ditch Ocean Dumping campaign, which is calling on financial institutions to divest from any project or company that employs the practice.

“Citi’s decision says loud and clear: ocean dumping is dirty, unnecessary and wrong,” said Ellen Moore of Earthworks, who is coordinating the campaign. “It’s high time we ditched ocean dumping once and for all. Banks and financial institutions must actively take steps to ensure that they are not bankrolling the destruction of our oceans.”

After negotiations with the campaign, Citigroup agreed to add specific language to its environmental and social policy framework: “…Citi will not directly finance new mining projects… that utilize submarine waste disposal.” The policy framework covers corporate loans over $50 million, general corporate transactions and project finance.

Companies that employ aqueous mine waste dumping will land on the bank’s watchlist, an internal policy and process document used to identify high risk practices. Inclusion on the watch list means companies are identified as having elevated environmental, social or reputational risks and are automatically subjected to additional environmental and social review. The policy change does not, however, address Citi’s brokerage business that holds nominee or custody shares on behalf of clients, which makes is possible for such investors to remain anonymous.

“We are encouraged by Citi’s decision but remain concerned about transparency in financing of these types of harmful practices,” said Eiliv Erdal, local chair of the Association of Norwegian Salmon River Owners. “My livelihood depends on a healthy Førdefjord and I should be able to communicate directly with shareholders about how their investment will affect my business and my community.”

Mining companies dump 220 million tonnes of mine waste directly into our oceans, rivers and lakes every year: more waste than the United States puts into its landfills. While the outdated practice has been phased out in many parts of the world, new mining proposals in Papua New Guinea and Norway signal ocean mine waste dumping is being ramped up, not phased out.

Following Citi’s commitment, the campaign will shift focus to other financial institutions that facilitate mine waste dumping. In Norway, two proposed mines escaped a recent moratorium on submarine dumping permits, jeopardizing the fish-rich Førdefjord and Repparfjord, as well as the traditional lifestyle of the indigenous Saami people.

“The Saami Parliament has twice voted against dumping mine waste in the Repparfjord,” said Silje Karine Muotka, member of the Governing Council of the Saami Parliament of Norway. “It is illogical and immoral to sacrifice our traditional, sustainable and profitable fisheries for an uncertain mine project that relies on outdated practices to turn a profit.”

Traditional reindeer herding and fishing are an important source of sustenance and livelihoods for the Saami. According to the Institute for Marine Research, the area of the Repparfjord designated for mine waste dumping is a critical cod spawning ground.

Mine waste can contain up to three dozen dangerous chemicals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cyanide. These metals accumulate in fish and, ultimately, the wildlife and people that eat them. The pollution contaminates drinking water, decimates ecosystems, and destroys fisheries.

The Ditch Ocean Dumping coalition includes Earthworks, Friends of the Earth Norway, Bismarck Ramu Group, MiningWatch Canada, and many others.

 

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