MAC: Mines and Communities

No End To Tailings Disasters

Published by MAC on 2006-07-13

No end to tailings disasters

13th July 2006

Consistently over the last decade and a half there has been at least one major tailings disaster each year. These "spills" (as they are often falsely dubbed by the minerals industry) appear to be increasing - in number, if not intensity.

Just in the past week, two such disasters have been reported in Chile and Peru. Although responsiblity for these has been ascribed to national mining companies, historically it is foreign ventures which must bear the brunt of the blame - in particular those based in Canada.

Criticism of Canada's failure to "rein in" its domestic miners is getting stronger. And, at a recent First Nations (native peoples) summit in Vancouver, a firm resolution was passed, condemning recently-proposed amendments to the country's Metal Mining Effluent Regulations.

The First Nations affirm that these would "pose serious and detrimental impacts on Aboriginal title and rights, especially given that the proposed changes would facilitate the use of natural fish-bearing water bodies tailing impoundment areas."

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