MAC: Mines and Communities

Arms and a hammer used against Canadian First Nation

Published by MAC on 2006-06-07

Arms and a hammer used against Canadian First Nation

7th June 2006

Last week we reported that BHPBilliton plans to sue a trade union in Canada for allegedly obstructing operation of its Ekati diamond mine.

Now a much more junior company, Platinex, is suing a First Nations' (native Canadian) community in Ontario, claiming that its exploration has been disrupted.

In response the First Nation is challenging the constitutionality of the Ontario Mining Act for failure to prioritise exercise of aboriginal and treaty rights and observe consultation with aboriginal parties.

Platinex has employed an ex-British soldier to "front" its encroachment on the native territory, claiming he has the expertise to cope with a "potentially volatile situation".

Other communities have been this way before - though not in Canada. The former Scots Guard officer, Tim Spicer first cut his "civilian" teeth by setting up Sandline, a mercenary outfit become notorious for serving mining companies and the governments which back them. But in Papua New Guinea, Spicer bit off more than he could chew, when a peoples' revolt exposed his plot (conjured up with prime minister, Julius Chan), to invade Bougainville and repossess Rio Tinto's Panguna mine.His colleague, Simon Mann, is now in jail for plotting an oil coup last year in Equatorial Guinea.

Spicer has gone on to become the second biggest profiteer from the invasion of Iraq through his "security" outfit, Aegis, which has so far reaped over £246 million.

When asked by the Guardian newspaper (May 20) to justify his exploits in Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea, Spicer declared: "We were there at the request of the democratially elected governments...The idea was well before its time."

No doubt the gun-wielding Paul Gladstone of Wonderlic would be among the first to agree.

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