The National, Friday, April 29, 2011
FRIENDS of the Earth International (FOEI) have backed calls from communities around the world to halt Canadian mining company Barrick Gold’s “destructive practices” in Papua New Guinea’s Porgera gold mine and other countries.
Campaigners were present at the company’s annual general meeting and joined a protest rally outside the meeting venue in Toronto on Wednesday.
Barrick, the largest gold miner in the world, has been the subject of many documented studies of human rights abuses and environmental devastation globally, including in Australia, PNG, Philippines and Tanzania.
Pacific Scoop, a think-tank has said FOEI calls in to question the necessity of the Canadian-owned corporation’s gold mining operations.
With the vast majority of gold used for jewellery, Barrick’s gold mines on average use more water than the entire bottled water industry in Canada, and this water is polluted with mining waste products such as cyanide, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, selenium, and sulphides.
Romel de Vera, coordinator of FOEI’s programme on resisting mining, oil and gas, said: “All this waste, pollution and impacts on communities’ lives and livelihoods is in exchange for a product that has very few practical applications.
“With environmental costs almost entirely unaccounted for, the processing costs are all that stand in the way for companies to realise huge profits at the expense of those living next to the mines.”
Last year, the Norwegian pension fund divested US$230 million from Barrick for “ethical reasons”, especially related to Porgera gold mine.
And when Swiss Research firm Covalace compiled both quantitative and qualitative data spanning seven years and 581 companies they listed Barrick as the 12 least ethical company in the world.