Tag Archives: riverine tailings disposal

Banking Giant Standard Chartered Takes Stand Against Mine Waste Dumping

Ditch Ocean Dumping Campaign applauds broad prohibition to protect oceans, rivers and other water bodies

Earthworks | 10 July 2018

Standard Chartered has  announced a full prohibition of financial services for clients practicing marine and riverine mine waste dumping. Standard Chartered adopted their policy shortly after the launch of the Ditch Ocean Dumping campaign, joining Citigroup, which has also confirmed that it will no longer finance submarine mine waste disposal.

“We have long held the view that marine or riverine tailings disposal is not good industry practice, and we are proud to add it to our prohibited activities list,” said Amit Puri, Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental and Social Risk Management at Standard Chartered.

“We applaud Standard Chartered for taking a leadership role in ending ocean mine waste dumping. It’s dirty, unnecessary and wrong,” said Ellen Moore of Earthworks, a nonprofit organization which is coordinating the campaign.

“Banks and financial institutions must actively take steps to ensure that they are not bankrolling the destruction of our oceans. I hope other banks follow the example set by Standard Chartered and Citigroup.”

The Ditch Ocean Dumping campaign, which includes 40 groups in 17 countries, is calling on financial institutions to divest from any project or company that employs aqueous tailings disposal.

Mining companies dump 220 million tonnes of mine waste directly into oceans, rivers and lakes every year:  more waste than the United States puts into its landfills. While the outdated practice has been phased out in many parts of the world, new mining proposals in Papua New Guinea and Norway signal ocean mine waste dumping is being ramped up, not phased out.

By drawing a clear line in the sand against aqueous mine waste dumping, Citi and Standard Chartered are joining a growing movement of governments, companies, mine-impacted communities, and civil society organizations calling for an end to the practice.

At the 2016 conference of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 51 of the 53 participating countries voted in favor of an international ban on ocean mine waste dumping and to develop a plan to stop ongoing dumping due to the irreparable destruction and degradation of marine environments.

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This World Oceans Day, protect oceans from mining

Payal Sampat | Earthworks | June 8, 2017

This week, delegates from around the world are meeting at the United Nations for the first UN Oceans Conference, to discuss the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: the conservation of oceans, seas and marine resources.

A girl in Papua New Guinea opposed to ocean mine waste dumping. Credit: Martin Wurt

We are subjecting our oceans to a barrage of assaults, many of which we are all familiar with – rising temperatures, overfishing, acidification. Less well-known are the dual threats to oceans from mining: the ongoing pollution of marine ecosystems by mine waste and the irreversible harm to deep-sea ecosystems that would result from proposed deep-seabed mining.

Mining pollution

Each year, mining companies dump more than 180 million tonnes of hazardous mine waste into oceans, rivers, and lakes worldwide. This is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind problem – mining corporations are using the cheapest solution to disposing of the massive amounts of waste generated at their mining operations. Earthworks has documented some of the egregious examples of marine mine waste disposal in a report, Troubled Waters. Mine waste dumping in oceans has led to reduced populations of fish and bottom-dwelling organisms in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. In Norway, mine tailings are being dumped into designated national salmon fjords, which support huge fishing and tourism industries.

Deep-sea mining

Lurking around the corner is another serious threat to oceans from mining. Deep-sea mining is a high-risk, experimental industrial activity being proposed in one of the most fragile, unexplored areas of our planet. Companies from a number of countries – including the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, China — are seeking to mine metals from cobalt crusts, manganese nodules, and hydrothermal vents on the seafloor. As yet, there are no viable deep-sea mining operations – but many companies and governments are actively lobbying for that to change.

A United Nations-established body, the International Seabed Authority, is charged with regulating and granting exploration permits for deep seabed mining in waters outside national jurisdictions. It is currently in the process of developing regulations for deep-sea mining – but to date, these have been far from protective, and quite insubstantial.

Leading up to the UN Oceans Conference, ocean advocates from across the globe have joined to oppose deep-seabed mining given the threat it poses to vulnerable ocean ecosystems and species. A statement from Seas At Risk supported by 34 international organizations, including Earthworks, calls on the International Seabed Authority to halt the granting of contracts for deep-sea mining and to direct its energies to increased resource efficiency and sustainable consumption.

It’s also time to protect our oceans by permanently banning the egregious and outdated practice of dumping mine waste into oceans. There are far more responsible ways to dispose of mine waste. Countries — including Norway, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia — must reject any new proposals that would dump mine waste into marine waters. And companies must publicly commit to taking this unsafe practice off the table once and for all.

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The $100bn gold mine and the West Papuans who say they are counting the cost

Grasberg mine in the Indonesian province has been a source of untold wealth for its owners, but local communities say it has brought poverty and oppression

The delta of West Papua’s Aikwa river, on Kamoro tribe land. Papuans claim tailing sediment from the mine has suffocated the fish and shrimp on which their diet and economy are based. All photographs: Susan Schulman

The delta of West Papua’s Aikwa river, on Kamoro tribe land. Papuans claim tailing sediment from the mine has suffocated the fish and shrimp on which their diet and economy are based. All photographs: Susan Schulman

Susan Schulman | The Guardian | 2 November 2016

In 1936, Dutch geologist Jean Jacques Dozy climbed the world’s highest island peak: the forbidding Mount Carstensz, a snow-covered silver crag on what was then known as Dutch New Guinea. During the 4,800-metre ascent, Dozy noticed an unusual rock outcrop veined with green streaks. Samples he brought back confirmed exceptionally rich gold and copper deposits.

Today, these remote, sharp-edged mountains are part of West Papua, Indonesia’s largest province, and home to the Grasberg mine, one of the biggest gold mines – and third largest copper mine – in the world. Majority-owned by the American mining firm Freeport McMoRan, Grasberg is now Indonesia’s biggest taxpayer, with reserves worth an estimated $100bn (£80bn).

But a recent fact-finding mission (by the Brisbane Archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission) described a “slow-motion genocide” (pdf) taking place in West Papua, warning that its indigenous population is at risk of becoming “an anthropological museum exhibit of a bygone culture”.

grasberg-map

Since the Suharto dictatorship annexed the region in a 1969 UN referendum largely seen as a fixed land grab, an estimated 500,000 West Papuans have been killed in their fight for self-rule. Decades of military and police oppression, kidnapping and torture have created a long-standing culture of fear. Local and foreign journalists are routinely banned, detained, beaten and forced to face trialon trumped-up charges. Undercover police regularly trail indigenous religious, social and political leaders. And children still in primary school have been jailed for taking part in demonstrations calling for independence from Indonesia.

“There is no justice in this country,” whispered one indigenous villager on condition of anonymity, looking over his shoulder fearfully. “It is an island without law.”

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Dozy had not set out to find gold in 1936; his goal was to scale the region’s highest glacial peak. But his discovery sparked the interest of Freeport Sulphur – later to become Freeport Minerals Company and then, through a 1981 merger with the McMoRan Oil and Gas Company, Freeport McMoRan – whose board of directors included the well-connected Godfrey Rockefeller (serving from 1931 until the early 1980s) and Henry Kissinger (1988-1995).

Today, indigenous tribes such as the Kamoro and the Amungme claim their communities have been racked with poverty, disease, oppression and environmental degradation since the mine began operations in 1973.

“We are a coastal people, and we depend on the environment,” says the Kamoro’s chief, Hironimus Urmani, in Tipuka, a lowland village down-river from the Grasberg mine. “Nature is a blessing from God, and we are known by the three Ss: sago [trees], sampan [canoes] and sungai[rivers]. But life is very difficult now.”

Urmani motions to the river opposite, languishing green and motionless. He claims that tailing sediment from the mine has raised the riverbed, suffocating the fish, oysters and shrimp on which the Kamoro diet and economy are traditionally based. A 2012 report from Earthworks and Mining Watch Canada asserts that mine waste from Grasberg has “buried over 166 square kilometres of formerly productive forest and wetlands, and fish have largely disappeared”.

Although most Kamoro still try to eke out a living fishing and foraging for food, they struggle to find paid work, says Urmani. “We need to earn money. But now we face major competition from non-Papuan migrants.”

Locals fear that the government’s controversial transmigration programme, which resettles Indonesians from high-density islands such as Java to low-population areas, is wiping out their population completely. Indigenous Melanesian Christians – they comprised 96% of the population in 1971 – now make up a 48% minority, with numbers expected to fall to 29% by 2020 if migration rates continue.

Ethnic Papuans will make up just 29% of the population by 2020
west-papua-demographics

Clashes between the indigenous Christians – and migrant Indonesian Muslims – have also resulted in riots, fires and injuries.

“Land has been taken away, directly by Freeport … and indirectly, as the Indonesian settlers have appropriated it,” says Dr Agus Sumule, professor of agricultural socio-economics at the province’s University of Papua.

“The stresses [on indigenous people] are intense,” says Sumule. “They have been very negatively impacted.”

The Indonesian government signed over to Freeport the right to extract mineral wealth from the Grasberg site in West Papua in 1967. A 2002 report from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) details that land agreements were not negotiated with the Amungme until 1974, a year after the mine opened, and with the Kamoro in 1997.

The compensation paid for Kamoro and Amungme land has been mainly in the form of communal benefits, such as the building of homes, schools and places of worship. The IIED report notes, “Perceptions of land rights and historic compensation claims are a continuing source of dissatisfaction and conflict in the mining area.”

Recent census data shows Papua’s GDP per capita at $3,510, compared to the Indonesian average of $2,452. Yet Papua has the highest poverty rate in the country, nearly three times the national average. It also has the highest infant, child and maternal mortality rates in Indonesia, as well as the worst health indicators, and the poorest literacy rates.

The scale of destitution is best observed from the highland Amungme village of Banti, just 20 miles down from the Grasberg mine.

The river Aikwa, near Banti, is turned thick and silver with the tailings from the mine. Here, artisanal miners pan the tailings for gold.

The river Aikwa, near Banti, is turned thick and silver with the tailings from the mine. Here, artisanal miners pan the tailings for gold.

Estimates from Earthworks suggest that Freeport dumps as much as 200,000 tonnes of mine waste, known as tailings, directly into the Aikwa delta system every day. The practice has devastated the environment, according to Earthworks and locals, turning thousands of hectares of verdant forest and mangroves into wasteland and rendering turgid the once-crystal waters of the highlands.

The tailings from the Grasberg mine are so rich with ore that Papuans walk for as long as a week to get here. Crowding the length of the river and the delta wasteland, thousands of unlicensed panners shore up small sections to slow the river’s flow and dig into the thick sediment on the side.

Although some of these panners are located within Freeport’s official mining operations, they are not evicted or controlled in any way, they said. Instead, they claim they sell their findings to the police and military who work as security on the mine. (An anonymous Freeport source also confirmed this).

One of the panners, Martine Wandango, 25, bends over her pail of water as she filters out rocks and searches for ore. “You can only survive with money, and you can only find money from gold,” says Martine, who followed her husband to the delta 15 years ago by walking 60 miles over the mountains from their remote highland village.

The Aikwa river, which used to provide the Kamoro people with the staples of their existence.

The Aikwa river, which used to provide the Kamoro people with the staples of their existence.

“I work really hard as I want to give my children better lives, so they can go to school. But it isn’t enough, so she helps me here mining,” says Martine of her daughter, nine, who swings a gold pan in her hands. “On a good day, I can get three grammes, which I sell either to the police or [to buyers] in Timika.”

A tiny village when Freeport arrived here 40 years ago, Timika is now a boom town dotted with bars, brothels, gold-processing shops and various military personnel. Under Indonesian law, Freeport is a designated “strategic industry”, which mandates that external security for the mine, its access roads and its pipelines all be provided exclusively by Indonesia’s security forces. Freeport has never been implicated in any human rights abuses allegedly committed by the Indonesian military in Papua.

Freeport McMoRan, based in Phoenix, Arizona, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The company’s website defends its method of disposal of tailings at Grasberg, managed by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), an affiliate company: “PTFI’s controlled riverine tailings management system, which has been approved by the Indonesian government, uses the unnavigable river system in the mountainous highlands near our mine to transport tailings to an engineered area in the lowlands where the tailings and other sediments are managed in a deposition area.”

A 2009 report by the company says it utilises levees to contain tailings in the deposition area, and that the tailings management programme costs Freeport McMoRan $15.5m (£12.7m) each year. According to the report, company monitoring of aquatic life in the rivers found that fish and shrimp were suitable for consumption, as regulated by Indonesian food standards, while water quality samples met Indonesian and US Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards for dissolved metals. In a 2011 BBC report on alleged pollution in the area surrounding Grasberg, the company says that the tailings management method was chosen because studies showed the environmental impact caused by its waste material was reversible.

Elsewhere on its website, the company says: “We are committed to respecting human rights. Our human rights policy requires us (and our contractors) to conduct business in a manner consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to align our human rights due diligence practices with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles).”

The company also emphasises its work with indigenous people in West Papua. A 2015 Freeport McRoRan report on working towards sustainable development said: “PTFI has engaged with indigenous Papuan tribes for decades, including through numerous formal agreements to promote workforce skills training, health, education and basic infrastructure development … In 2015, PTFI continued to evaluate the effectiveness of alternate options for Kamoro community members whose estuary transport routes are impacted by sedimentation associated with the controlled riverine tailings management system. Provision of smaller sized boats, in addition to 50 passenger vessels, for route flexibility as well as additional local economic development programmes were identified as additional mitigation measures during the year.”

Back in the area surrounding the Grasberg mine, many Papuans, struggling for work, find themselves pulled into the bar and sex industries that cater to the miners, particularly around the highland village of Banti. Here brothels and bars line up side by side, allegedly with help from the Indonesian military, who are said to supply sex workers and alcohol, according to a Freeport source who wished to remain anonymous.

Indigenous chiefs have watched as a newfound promiscuity has brought sexually transmitted infections that have ravaged their communities. “Traditional Papuan culture forbids free sex, but alcohol makes our communities vulnerable,” says the Amungme chief, Martin Mangal. “And brothels make it easy to contract HIV.”

HIV rates in West Papua are of “epidemic” proportions, according to the UN, 15 times higher than anywhere else in Indonesia. Driven almost entirely by unsafe sex, HIV is also far more prevalent among indigenous Papuans. Yet the existence of only one hospital – built by Freeport – means that most people, particularly those in remote highland villages, don’t get the help they need.

Late last year, the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, claimed he was willing to work towards a “better Papua”: “I want to listen to the people’s voices.”

However, human rights violations have actually increased since Widodo took power, according to Indonesia’s Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (Kontras), which has logged 1,200 incidents of harassment, beatings, torture and killings of Papuans by Indonesian security forces since his election in 2014.

The Indonesian government did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The country’s military has consistently denied any wrongdoing in Papua.

Despite everything, there have been small glimmers of hope. This summer, Dutchhuman rights law firm Prakken D’Oliveira submitted a formal legal complaint against Indonesia to the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the government of “long-term, widespread and systematic human rights violations” and the “complete denial of the right to self-determination of the people of West-Papua”.

Later this year, West Papua is expected to be granted full membership of theMelanesian Spearhood Group, an important sub-regional coalition of countries including Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

The Brisbane commission, which warned of the risk of genocide, is calling on Indonesia to allow Papua, once and for all, the right to self-determination.

Yet some fear the opportunity for change in Papua is long gone.

“Is healing even possible?” asked Professor Agus Sumule, shaking his head. “It could be too late.”

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Global Conservation Body Votes to Ban Marine Mine Waste Dumping

Tailings waste from the mine flows through the Porgera Valley in Papua New Guinea’s remote Enga Province. Photo: Emily Allen

Tailings waste from the Porgera mine in Enga Province. Photo: Emily Allen

Shreema Mehta | EARTHWORKS | September 12, 2016

Mining companies move staggering amounts of earth to extract small quantities of minerals like gold and copper. Much of this waste is contaminated with heavy metals and chemicals used to extract metals from ore. Dealing with the resulting waste is a constant problem — for the industry, environment and nearby communities.

In select places around the world, notably Indonesia, Papua New Guinea — and now, Norway —  mining companies handle this problem by simply dumping their waste into rivers, lakes and oceans. In fact, mining companies are dumping more than 180 million tonnes of hazardous mine waste each year into the world’s rivers, lakes and oceans.

This week, thousands of activists, academics and policymakers from around the world are gathering in Hawaii to attend the IUCN World Conservation Congress to discuss the state of global natural resource conservation, including the issues of marine mine waste disposal.

IUCN, or the International Union of Conservation in Nature, is a global network of over 1,300 government and civil society organizations. Every four years, the IUCN passes motions during this Congress that, like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, set priorities for the global conservation community.

This year, IUCN members almost unanimously approved a resolution calling for an end to the disposal of mine waste into marine and coastal environments, as well as an end to current sites of marine mine waste disposal.

As noted by the resolution, most national governments do not allow marine tailings dumping, given both the severity of its impacts and available alternatives.

Dumping mine tailings into oceans is destructive to marine life. Tailings are the waste leftover when the desired mineral, such as gold or copper, is separated from its ore. This waste is an often toxic sludge of waste rock and processing chemicals that can contaminate water, smother aquatic plants, and poison fisheries on which coastal communities depend.

Earthworks has documented some of the egregious examples of marine mine waste disposal in a report, Troubled Waters. The toxic mine waste has led to reduced populations of fish and bottom-dwelling organisms in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and local groups in both countries found higher concentrations of toxins such as arsenic or mercury in some surviving fish. In Norway, tailings have been found to be dumped into designated national salmon fjords, which support huge fishing and tourism industries.

But coastal communities around the world are fighting back. Norway, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia have seen communities rally against mines that are polluting the coastal waters on which they depend.

Just this past February, more than 100 local activists conducted a powerful act of peaceful civil disobedience to protect majestic fjords from toxic mine waste. The protesters blocked test drilling from Nordic Mining, which proposes to build a rutile mine that would dump waste into the Førde fjord. Norwegians of all types — from fishers to student activists — have united in opposition to companies proposing to dump tailings into fjords.

Norway was among the only countries to oppose the IUCN’s ban on marine mine waste dumping.

The world’s oceans should not be considered dumping grounds for the mining industry. Mine tailings dumping is an egregious practice that should have been phased out decades ago, but instead, the practice continues – and is being considered in new, fragile marine environments like fjords and intact coral reefs.

The almost unanimously approved IUCN resolution shows wide consensus among civil society, governmental and academic organizations that dumping tailings into oceans and rivers is environmentally destructive and unacceptable. National governments, particularly those of Norway, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, should respond to this signal of public will to by banning the dumping of tailings into oceans. Mining companies should take a stand too — by publicly committing to ban marine dumping for future operations and phasing out the practice at existing operations.

It’s time to bring the mining industry into the 21st century and end marine mine waste disposal.

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Law Reform Commission recommends tailings dumping ban

CLRC tailings disposal

Serah Aupong | EMTV News | August 4, 2016

This recommendation comes from the Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC) who has completed a review of the environmental and mining laws relating to the disposal of tailings.

The review has been given to the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Ano Pala, and is expected to be presented in the next parliament sitting.

Dr. Kwa said the review was commissioned in 2007 but work commenced in 2013 due to change of leadership in the CLRC and concerns raised by the mining industry and other government agencies who questioned the CLRC’s role in conducting the review.

However he said he is grateful that they have been able to work closely with the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, civil society organizations and other government departments in the review.

The review covers current mine disposal techniques used by different mining projects in the country. It was commissioned following concerns raised over the impact of tailings disposal by Tolukuma mine into the Angabanga River.

Of the four mine sites scheduled to be visited, the review team was only able to visit OK Tedi and Porgera mines. They were refused entry into Lihir, Hidden Valley and the Ramu mine sites. However Dr. Kwa said they were able to speak with their representatives through the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and to visit landowner sites and the respective provincial governments.

The review, which cost the government K700,000 contains 18 recommendations, a key one is to ban all riverine tailings in the country.

Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Ano Pala, said in a statement that this comprehensive report will now enable the government to make informed decisions on tailings disposal methods and practices in the country.

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Consultant to study pollution from Tolukuma mine

tolukuma cursed

Team to study Angabanga River

The National, aka The Loggers Times |April 21, 2016

KAIRUKU-Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo says the district development authority has engaged a consultant to study pollution caused by the Tolukuma Gold Mine on the Angabanga River.  
He said based on reports from studies done by Industrial Path Search, a private mobile medical services that provided consultant services on healthcare reform, toxic waste discharged from the tailings dam polluted the river system  affected people’s health.
Isoaimo, who initiated the Angabanga riverine community health project, claimed that based on studies done by Dr Sylvester Kotapu, dangerous chemicals were found in people’s blood.
“This can have a detrimental impact on people’s health,” Isoaimo said. He said people could develop cancer and other diseases because they were drinking water from the river, do their washing and go fishing.
“I am concerned (whether) the Government was conscious of the health and environmental implications this mining activity might have on the people living downstream from Tolukuma mine.”
He said  the operator of the project and the Government should not ignore the health implications that the mining activities were having on people but find a solution to safely dispose the waste. He said people’s lives were important.

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Why Is Mine Waste Being Dumped Directly Into the Ocean?

“Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Norway lead the way using DSTP at their mines”

The Los Pelambres Mine in Chile proposes to dump wastes into the ocean.

The Los Pelambres Mine in Chile proposes to dump wastes into the ocean.

Terry Odendahl, Roy Young and Gary Wockner** | Eco Watch | March 4, 2016 

Picture a 4-foot diameter pipe running into the ocean filling the offshore canyons at a rate of 160,000 tons per day. The pipe runs from an enormous gold and copper mine directly into the Indian Ocean. The pipe is filled with mine “tailings”—a toxic sludge of heavy metals, rock and coagulants mixed in with the pulverized mine wastes that spreads and covers the seabed dramatically impacting plant and animal life and polluting the surrounding water. That is the Deep Submarined Tailings Disposal (DSTP) system at Newmont Mining’s Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Indonesia.

Although Batu Hijau is the biggest mine that is using DSTP, at least 16 mines in eight countries are also using DSTP, with others to follow. Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Norway lead the way using DSTP at their mines. In Chile, mines in the mountains north and east of Santiago are proposing to run pipes 50-100 kilometers so they can dump into the canyons of the Pacific Ocean off of the Chilean coast. The enormous Los Pelambres Copper Mine in Chile proposes to use DSTP in the future, discharging its wastes directly into the ocean.

The 4-foot diameter pipe dumping mining wastes into the ocean at Batu Hijau mine in Indonesia.

The 4-foot diameter pipe dumping mining wastes into the ocean at Batu Hijau mine in Indonesia.

While you might think this mining disposal would be limited to the unregulated developing world, Norway actually leads with the most mines using this polluting disposal system. The mining wastes are dumped into Norway’s pristine fjords, filling much of those fjords over time. One such mine has prompted a backlash by Norwegians who, working with Friends of the Earth International, have started the Save The Fjords campaign.

As stated on their website, “In April 2015, the Norwegian government gave its final permission for an open-pit mine in a mountain called Engebo. The mine will dump more than 250 million tons of chemicals and waste into the pristine Forde fjord.”

The Forde Fjord in Norway would be partially filled with mining wastes.

The Forde Fjord in Norway would be partially filled with mining wastes.

The Norwegian proposal sparked the “biggest civil disobedience actions in newer Norwegian history” where hundreds of people protested and 80 people were arrested blocking the mining action and trying to save the fjord. Through Global Greengrants Fund, a grant has been given to Friends of the Earth International to help inform Norwegians about the Engbo mine and its ocean disposal.

wegian protestors rally against filling their fjords with mining wastes.

Norwegian protestors rally against filling their fjords with mining wastes.

It could make sense in some cases to dispose of mining wastes in the ocean, but only if those wastes were non-reactive and only if the toxic heavy metals in the wastes are removed. In addition, if ocean disposal does take place, it should be closely monitored and regulated and it should only happen where local people are not dependent on the marine environment for food. Proposals to use DSTP along the coastline of Chile threaten the Humbolt Current System (HCS) which sustainably produces almost 20 percent of the annual harvest of fish biomass. The HCS is the most productive marine ecosystem on the planet. Just four mines would dump one million tons of mine waste into the HCS every day, one gigaton every three years.

Over the last 25 years, international regulatory bodies including the 1996 London Convention and Protocol by the International Maritime Organization and the 1992 Oslo Paris Convention have attempted to set minor regulations for DSTP, but those standards are mostly being ignored.

In the very few places where monitoring has occurred, studies have measured dramatic decreases in the amount of benthic meiofauma (animals less than I millimeter long) as well as all forms of benthic macrofauna (larger than 1 millimeter), which, along with phytoplankton, form the basis of the food chain in marine environments. Almost no research has occurred about the consequences of dumping 100’s of millions of tons of mine wastes at current DSTP sites. This phenomenally destructive pollution is virtually unregulated across the planet’s marine environments.

** Terry Odendahl, PhD, is president and CEO of Global Greengrants Fund. Roy Young is the former executive director of Global Greengrants Fund and founder of Nature’s Own. Gary Wockner, PhD, is an environmental activist, writer and consultant to Global Greengrants Fund.

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