MAC: Mines and Communities

An initial planning meeting will be held on Wednesday June 6 at Mosaic, 1522 Commercial Drive.

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01

An initial planning meeting will be held on Wednesday June 6 at Mosaic, 1522 Commercial Drive.
A demonstration to protest Ivanhoe Mines support for Burma's misery

Ivanhoe Mines is in joint venture with one of the world's most oppressive dictatorships in Burma (renamed Myanmar). The Burmese military regime is responsible for systemic human rights atrocities against its own population. Millions have been taken from their homes into slavery, suffering, death, and rape. Leaders of democracy, including Aung San Suu Kyi, remain among the thousands who have been imprisoned for their political beliefs and actions. Ignoring international calls to boycott Burma for the investment in brings to the military leaders that will permit it to extend its illegal rule. Over 600,000 people have been forced into army controlled relocation camps, 750,000 are internally displaced and 2 million have fled the country to escape the humanitarian and human rights crisis within the county. Forced labour, a modern day slavery, remains endemic within the country. People cannot move or speak freely or assemble in groups larger than 3. All media is tightly controlled. Trade unions are outlawed and the military persecutes opposition ethnic groups and leaders of democracy.

Copper mining at the price of human rights, slavery, environmental destruction, and laundering drug revenues: Ivanhoe profits from the use of infrastructure built with slave labour and lands that have been confiscated from villagers. Profits from the mine will not benefit the local populations since the military partners of Ivanhoe spends at least half of its budget on military expenditures and virtually nothing on the basic needs of its population, creating a humanitarian crisis within the country

After heroin, Ivanhoe will provide one of the largest sources of foreign currency to the corrupt generals - by far Canada's biggest contribution to entrenching the illegal military rule. Profits from the mine will help to launder revenue from Burma's drug economy, which is the largest source of heroin in the world.

To sustain itself in power, the regime has resorted to allowing an explosion of heroin production and the plummeting of the country's forests, lands, aquamarine life, and waters, sometimes in partnership with foreign companies such as Ivanhoe Mines. The company uses a heap leach method of draining copper from the ores using copper sulphuric acid sprayed over the ores. The effect of this is that rocks become polluted with sulphuric acid and the heavy metals in the ores mixes with rain and air to leach toxic metals and acids into the environment. This is particularly evident during the four months of monsoon season when rocks are exposed to intense rains. Once the ores are drained of copper, they sit for years in waste pits which continually leach acid and metallic wastes unless expensive remedial efforts are made to not permit the ores to be exposed to air or water. The lasting effect of the acid mine drainage, particularly on communities that lack water treatment facilities is the contamination of aquamarine life that people use for drinking, irrigation, washing, and bathing. Groundwater contamination and acid rock drainage have been reported from the area.

FRIDAY JUNE 15, 2001 10 AM to 12 NOON

For more information please contact Aaron at 602-1626
or Soe at 873-1804

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