Mining Makes This World Possible

In 2016, I joined a group of co-organizers and trusted friends at a vigil on the showroom floor at the annual convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), the biggest mining convention in the world. We read names and shared stories of people who were killed resisting––or simply living near––the operations of Canadian mining companies. Mariano Abarca Roblero, who fought against Blackfire1 in Chiapas, Mexico, was killed outside of his home by an employee of the company. In Tanzania, Kibabwa Ghati was killed by security forces while walking past a Barrick Gold mine and was later framed as an illegal intruder. In Papua New Guinea, Taita Maliapa was killed by security forces near another Barrick Gold mine. In India, Raghunath Jhodia was killed due to his activities resisting a mine in India partially owned by Rio Tinto Alcan. In Eritrea, an unnamed mine worker died of heat exhaustion constructing Nevsun’s Bisha mine. In Guatemala, 16-year-old Topacio Reynoso Pacheco was resisting the Tahoe Resources Escobal mine and was killed in a targeted assassination. We named dozens of the dead. We laid down flowers and spoke about the violence to people and to land and the ways this violence is connected through resource extraction.2 As we held this space, standing in a circle with our backs out wearing t-shirts with “Canadian mining kills”’ written on them, people shouted: “You all have phones! Mining makes this world possible! Try living without it! You all have phones! You all have phones!” Over and over again. After 15 minutes of holding space, the police escorted us out.

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