anti-mining

“Water is Life” was the slogan behind one of the most important mobilisations involving water last year where Native American tribes, calling themselves “water protectors”, fought against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline for fear of it contaminating their main water source, as well as it destroying their sacred lands.

Mining companies have benefitted over the past few years from rising global demand and prices, but workers have seen little to no benefit from the boom.

Now mine workers are flexing their muscle to demand their share of the spoils.

With the passage of the Climate Change Act (CCA) that mandates a target of zero net emissions by 2050, Victoria is formally in the leadership among state and federal governments. 

The “clean coal” power generator being promoted by the federal government comes from a 2009 proposal by Clive Palmer to provide electricity to Galilee Basin coalmines planned by Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Adani.

Palmer’s Waratah Coal applied to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation on February 24 to finance a 900MW coal generator that proposes to use an unproven technology: carbon capture and storage.

The plan is to bury the emissions from the coal plant in the Galilee Basin, “sequestered” in an “un-mineable” area of coal seams one kilometre underground.

About 2500 workers have been on strike since February 9 at the Escondida mine in Chile’s north.

Owned by two Anglo-Australian mining giants, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, Escondida is the largest producer of “red gold” in the world. The mine extracts about 900,000 tonnes a year. This represents 20% of copper production in Chile, the country with the largest copper reserves in the world.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) has launched a video campaign demanding the federal government change workplace laws to restrict union entry into workplaces. The animated video depicts union representatives disrupting work on resource projects.

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott has also written to key senators and members of parliament, highlighting the “absurd costs, delays, productivity impacts and safety issues associated with the thousands of site entry requests resource employers now receive each year”.

A strike at Chile's Escondida copper mine, the world’s largest, entered its fifth day on February 13 with few signs of speedy resolution as workers threaten to stop production for up to two months.

Workers began a strike at the Australian-run BHP Billiton mine on February 9 to put pressure on the company after failing to reach an agreement in wage negotiations.

The union said its 2500 members are committed to action and threatened a two-month work stoppage, leading BHP to admit that it will not be able to meet its contractual obligations.

Attorney-General George Brandis has moved fast to neutralise a recent Federal Court finding that all, not just some, native title claimants must agree for an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) to be valid. The February 2 ruling overturned a ruling in 2010 that had decided the opposite.

Oro
Written & directed by Alvin Yapan
Feliz Film Productions, 2016

Oro, the Filipino film written and directed by Alvin Yapan released in December, is based on the 2014 murder of four small-scale miners in Sitio, Lahuy.

For 20 years, Elmer (Joem Bascon) and his men have freely mined in the tiny but gold-rich island of Lahuy Island in the town of Caramoan in Bicol.

Police in North Dakota arrested 76 people at the Standing Rock protest camp on February 1 as the Army Corp of Engineers cleared the way to continue construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) through Native American land.

The US$3.78 billion DAPL project involves building a 1886-kilometre long pipeline to shift almost half-a-million barrels of oil a day. Its route passes through Native American land on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, threatening water supplies and sacred sites.

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