Ban toxic mine dumping, urges open letter to mining sector in The Australian

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 11 Feb 2007

Call for an immediate ban on the practice of dumping billions of tonnes of toxic mine waste into rivers and oceans. That’s the clarion message 27 international human rights groups, mining watchdogs, unions and Indigenous people’s organisations voiced in an open letter to the mining sector in today’s The Australian newspaper.
The call comes as Mining Ministers and mining companies from the Asia-Pacific region gather in Perth this week for an APEC summit titled, ‘Improving Leading Practice Sustainable Development in Mining.’
‘If mining companies and governments were really serious about addressing sustainability in mining they’d immediately stop dumping billions of tonnes of toxic waste such as lead and mercury into the rivers and oceans of some of the world’s poorest nations,’ said Andrew Hewett a spokesperson for the group.
So concerned is the group about the irreversible environmental and social damage caused to vulnerable communities in countries such as Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines by Australian, Canadian and US mining companies that it took the unusual step of placing an advertisement in Australia’s national newspaper. This has allowed the group to speak with one unified voice, as well as send a powerful message to the mining sector and Mining Ministers – it is time to put an end to the unsafe practice of dumping mine waste in waterways.
‘Freeport McMoran’s Grasberg Mine in Indonesia in which Australian mining company Rio Tinto has an interest, will dump up to 3.5 billion tonnes of toxic waste into the local river system over the life of the mine operation. On average it dumps 230,000 tonnes of mine waste disposal in the river each and every day,’ Mr Hewett added.
‘We are calling on the mining sector to act responsibly, to contribute to local development, help alleviate human poverty and not to be a cause of it.’
The coalition calling for an immediate ban on toxic mine waste dumping in waterways is: Australian Conservation Foundation, Berne Declaration, CEDHA, CEE Bankwatch Network, CFMEU, Citizens Constitutional Reform, Diocese of Marbel Social Action Center, Forest Peoples Programme, Friends of the Earth, Global Response, Ground Work, International Accountability Project, IICPH, International Rivers Network, International Women and Mining Network, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, MACEC, Mining People & Environment, Mineral Policy Institute, MiningWatch Canada, National Union, Netwerk, Oxfam Australia, Philippine-Misereor-Mining Advocacy Campaign, RHEEBU NUU, Silaka, SOS Eau Water Sankwan, Steelworkers Humanity Fund of the Can, The Social Justice Commission and World Vision.
For more information call Ian Woolverton on 0409 181 454