Brazil: NGOs allege that Morro do Ouro gold mine violated land, environmental & cultural rights, including right to FPIC; it includes comments from Kinross & Export Dev. Canada

Brasil Paracatu Mining_credit_Justica Global_http://www.global.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/FOTO-PARACATU-SITE.jpg

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Kinross Gold and Export Development Canada (EDC) to respond to allegations of involvement in human rights abuses related to the operations of Kinross Gold in a gold mine in Paracatu, Brazil. Among the allegations are: displacement of Quilombolas (runaway slaves) from their traditional and legally recognized lands, intimidation and threats to them, violations of land, environmental, health, cultural rights as well as to access to water and to information. The Portuguese report was produced by the Brazilian organizations Justiça Global and Federação Quilombola do Estado de Minas Gerais N'GOLO. The English report was produced by Canadian organization Above Ground in partnership with Justiça Global. Both Kinross Gold and Export Development Canada responded.

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Article
21 February 2018

Brazil: Vice Chair of Parliamentary Subcommittee on Intl. Human Rights says policies for Canadian companies via the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor have “no teeth”

Author: Jeremy J. Nuttall, The Tyee (Canada)

"Federally Backed Mine Accused of Human Rights Abuses-Mine watchdog says Brazilian citizens were forced from their land by a Toronto company supported by Ottawa", 12 Dec 2017

A Canadian mine industry watchdog is calling on the Brazilian government to suspend the activities of an Ottawa-backed mine in Brazil until it rectifies alleged human rights abuses. The organization also wants Ottawa to suspend financial dealings with the company...[T]he report said a subsidiary of Kinross Gold, headquartered in Toronto, has forced nearby residents at the Morro do Ouro mine near Paracuta off their land. Kinross owns Brazil-based Kinross Brasil Mineração, which operates the mine...Kinross has benefited from $850 million in federal government financing from Export Development Canada and a further $42 million in equity is held by the Canada Pension Plan, down from $60 million earlier this year.
The company insists it acquired the land legally. In a statement to The Tyee, Kinross rejected the allegations and called the report "out of date," arguing it uses selective information...Windsor-Tecumseh NDP MP Cheryl Hardcastle, the vice chair of the Parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights, said policies for Canadian companies via the Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor meant to address human rights abroad have "no teeth." "The framework doesn't have any legally binding regulations right now," she said.

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Article
+ Português - Hide

Author: Justiça Global (Brazil)

"Onde o ouro não reluz: relatório mostra violações causadas pela maior mina do país", 11 de dezembro de 2017

...[O]...relatório "Violação de Direitos – O caso da empresa Kinross em Paracatu", lançado...[em 11 de dezembro de 2017]...trata da maior mina de ouro do país,...[da]...empresa canadense Kinross,...[em]...Minas Gerais. Três comunidades quilombolas foram diretamente afetadas pela expansão do empreendimento, sendo que duas tiveram seu território destruído para o uso do complexo minerário. Segundo relatos de quilombolas, o processo de expulsão envolveu práticas intimidatórias e acordos sem paridade de informações e condições de negociação. A degradação da terra e a poluição das fontes de água era, no entanto, uma realidade mesmo antes da remoção das comunidades de Amaros e Machadinho, e permanece uma violação constante para São Domingos, única que ainda mantém-se em seu território. As violações de direitos associadas à atividade extrativa na mina Morro do Ouro, em Paracatu, também incluem a perseguição a pessoas que se insurgem e denunciam, a afetação à saúde em decorrência da poluição, a degradação ambiental e completa fragilização das atividades econômicas e modos de vida tradicionais...O relatório também suscita preocupação com a supervisão ambiental da mina, que está localizada a menos de 500 metros de centenas de casas na cidade de Paracatu. Esta proximidade com o núcleo urbano também levanta preocupações quanto ao depósito de rejeitos de mineração nas duas barragens do complexo. Ainda impactados com o cenário de destruição promovido pela Samarco e Vale a partir do rompimento da barragem de rejeitos dos Fundão, muitos moradores sinalizam preocupação com a possibilidade de um desastre semelhante na cidade. O relatório foi produzido pela Justiça Global em parceria com a Federação Quilombola do Estado de Minas Gerais N'GOLO, na versão em português, e com a organização canadense Above Ground, na versão em inglês. Entre as recomendações constantes no relatório estão a suspensão das operações da Kinross no Morro do Ouro até que os direitos à terra dos quilombolas sejam protegidos e a adoção pelo Canadá de um quadro legal para identificar, prevenir e mitigar as violações nas atividades comerciais canadenses no exterior, entre outros.

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Report
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Author: Justiça Global e Federação Quilombola do Estado de Minas Gerais N’GOLO (Brazil)

"Mineração e Violações de Direitos: o caso da empresa Kinross em Paracatu (MG)", 11 de dezembro de 2017

...O presente relatório...[busca]...dar visibilidade às destituições de direitos de grupos sociais na cidade de Paracatu,...Minas Gerais, em decorrência da exploração do minério de ouro pela transnacional canadense Kinross, que implicou o desaparecimento de dois territórios quilombolas. Busca também alertar as autoridades dos Estados brasileiro e canadense para a violência material e simbólica que se desencadeia através do incentivo a processos de territorialização de grandes empresas sem nenhum controle regulatório mais efetivo, tanto pela fragilidade no funcionamento dos mecanismos democráticos previstos legalmente, quanto pelo alinhamento e pela submissão mais deliberados dos poderes públicos às condições impostas pelos grupos privados...[A]...responsabilidade social, legal e ambiental passa ao largo da realidade quando se trata de respeitar e garantir o acesso a bens naturais vitais para a reprodução dos grupos locais – como terra e água...As informações e análises aqui traçadas baseiam-se no acesso a documentos públicos...; documentos produzidos pela empresa; notícias publicadas na imprensa; e dissertações e estudos a respeito do conflito, dentre outros. Três visitas de campo a Paracatu, em 2011, 2013 e 2014, também foram fontes essenciais de informação para este relatório..[F]oram realizadas entrevistas com representantes dos grupos sociais locais e autoridades...Há denúncias sobre a atuação ilegal de grupos de segurança privada da empresa que culminaram com o assassinato de dois jovens quilombolas na região em 1998. Um deles deixou cinco lhos para criar e até hoje a família nunca foi indenizada...A Kinross recebeu vários empréstimos da Export Development Canada (EDC) desde a aquisição da mina Morro do Ouro...Os eventos relacionados ao empreendimento da Kinross – expropriação de territórios; deslocamentos forçados; perda de patrimônio cultural; violação a direitos étnicos; violações ao direito ao meio ambiente sadio; ao direito à água, alimentação adequada, moradia, trabalho; restrição ao direito de participação política, de acesso à informação pública e transparente, de consulta prévia e informada; práticas de violência e intimidação contra defensores de direitos humanos – configuram explícitas violações de direitos humanos e descompromisso com tratados e convenções internacionais que geram responsabilidade direta para os Estados do Canadá e do Brasil pela falta de cumprimento das obrigações assumidas...[R]ecomenda-se a imediata suspensão das licenças concedidas à mineração de ouro em Paracatu e paralisação das atividades de exploração com vistas à observância das normas legais e direitos constitucionalmente garantidos...Recomendações ao governo canadense...aumente a eficácia dos mecanismos existentes para assegurar que todas as corporações canadenses, em particular, as corporações da mineração, respeitem as normas de direitos humanos de sua jurisdição ao operar no exterior;...considere o estabelecimento de um mecanismo independente...para investigar violações dos direitos humanos praticadas por tais corporações no exterior...cessar sua vigilância sobre o governo brasileiro...

[Há menção a Arnhold & S. Bleichroeder, Carpathian Gold, Echo Bay Mines, Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF, RPM, TVX, Van Eck Associates Corporation]

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Article
20 February 2018

Brazil: Report investigates human rights abuse linked to Kinross Gold’s Brazilian mine

Author: Above Ground (Canada) and Justiça Global (Brazil)

"Report investigates human rights abuse linked to Kinross Gold's Brazilian mine"11 December 2017 ...A report released...[on 11 December 2017]...by Above Ground and Brazilian organization Justiça Global documents human rights abuse tied to a Canadian mine in Brazil...operated by a subsidiary of Kinross Gold, a Canadian company financed by the government of Canada. The report comes amidst expectations that the Canadian government will soon announce the creation of an ombudsperson office to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by Canadian extractive companies in their operations abroad.
Swept Aside: An Investigation into Human Rights Abuse at Kinross Gold's Morro do Ouro Mine shows that, among other harms, Kinross's dramatic expansion of the mine displaced the residents of traditional communities formed over a century ago by former African slaves. "These communities have land rights under Brazilian law, and the process to formalize their collective title was well underway when Kinross announced its expansion plan and Export Development Canada provided financing...Despite sustained legal action by federal prosecutors, state authorities gave Kinross the green light to use community land for its expanded operations...The families living and farming there felt they had no choice but to leave."...[Karyn Keenan, director of Above Ground]...The report also raises concern about environmental oversight of the mine, which is located within 500 metres of neighbourhoods where hundreds of families live, as well as safety measures to keep people from entering the mine site. Last year four men were found dead in the mine's waste effluent pipes, which they reportedly entered to extract remnants of gold left in the tailings. Another was found dead at a tailings dam in February 2017. Kinross has received up to $850 million in financing from the Canadian government through its export credit agency, Export Development Canada, since acquiring the Morro do Ouro mine..."Mining projects are routinely associated with human rights and environmental harm in Brazil," says Daniela Fichino of Justiça Global. "The expansion of the Morro do Ouro mine was overseen by the same state regulatory system that failed to prevent the Mariana mining disaster." Above Ground and Justiça Global's recommendations include the suspension of Kinross's operations at Morro do Ouro until community land rights are protected, and the adoption by Canada of a legal framework to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights risks in Canadian business activity abroad...

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Report
20 February 2018

Brazil: Report Swept Aside: an Investigation into Human Rights Abuse at Kinross Gold’s Morro do Ouro Mine

Author: Above Ground (Canada) and Justiça Global (Brazil)

"Swept Aside: An Investigation into Human Rights Abuse at Kinross Gold's Morro do Ouro Mine", 11 de dezembro de 2017

On the outskirts of Paracatu, a small city in the eastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, lies the country's largest gold mine, known by locals as Morro do Ouro...This report, a joint effort of Above Ground and Justiça Global, documents how the expansion of the Morro do Ouro mine negatively impacted the lives, land and livelihood of local people It is based on a multi-year study in which our researchers interviewed local residents and public offcials, spoke with representatives from Kinross and combed through government reports, news articles and court documents...[It]...reveals serious human rights violations linked to the expansion of the mine over the past decade, a period during which Kinross received substantial and repeated nancial support from the Canadian government...[I]llustration of the governance gap that often surrounds the overseas operations of Canadian multinational companies...[A]...pattern widely seen throughout the world...Those most directly harmed by Kinross's expansion project were the quilombola, people of African descent living in three nearby rural settlements founded by freed slaves in the 19th century. Quilombola communities hold legal ownership rights over their traditional lands. The three communities — Machadinho, Amaros and São Domingos — had been formally recognized by the federal government as quilombola...Serious conflict and safety concerns have arisen...Security guards at the mine have reportedly used armed force on people covertly entering the mine site, killing two young men in 1998. People have also died inside the mine's waste e effluent pipes...Four men were found dead in the pipes in 2016. Another was found dead at a tailings dam in February 2017...In a series of lawsuits, two public ministries have exposed critical deficiencies in the environmental oversight of the mine. Environmental authorities...have allowed Kinross to monitor its own air and water emissions. Residents of Paracatu have long expressed concern about potential health risks posed by the high arsenic content of the ore processed at Morro do Ouro. Several studies of local arsenic exposure and health risks have been carried out, with researchers coming to a range of disparate conclusions...This report concludes with a series of recommendations aimed at ensuring that both Canada and Brazil meet their international obligation to protect human rights in the context of large-scale extractive projects undertaken within their territory or by companies under their jurisdiction. We recommend that the Canadian government adopt a legal framework to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights risks in Canadian business activity abroad...[and]...Brazilian authorities include the immediate suspension of Kinross's mining activity at Morro do Ouro until applicable legal norms and constitutional rights are respected...

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Company response
20 February 2018

Export Development Canada Response

Author: Export Development Canada/EDC (Canada)

...We welcome the opportunity to share information and clarify how we conduct business with all our customers including environmental and social review policies. Prior to responding to this request, we have also sought permission from Kinross to provide additional information about the due diligence process we undertook when considering financial support to the organization, which they agreed to...It is important to note that EDC has provided financing to Kinross for general corporate purposes...but is not directly involved in the Morro do Ouro Mine or any specific projects in Latin America...

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Company response
20 February 2018

Kinross response

Author: Kinross (Canada)

MEMO...to...Business and Human Rights Resource Center...February 2, 2018...The AG-JG reports present numerous unfounded and factually incorrect allegations along with partial, false and misleading information. These reports do a disservice to the community and damage the reputation of Kinross by misinforming the public about the Company's activities at Paracatu. Kinross has a long history of transparency on social and environmental matters related to our operations and we are strongly committed to operating to the highest social, environmental and ethical standards across all our global operations, including our Morro do Ouro mine in Paracatu, Minas Gerais, Brazil. It is important to note that neither Above Ground or Global Justice have shown interest in discussing the allegations they raised. In fact, it was Kinross that reached out to these groups to initiate dialogue after learning that they were preparing reports about our activities. Although they did agree to meet with us, we met only once with each group (with Global Justice in 2015, and with Above Ground in January 2017). It is disappointing that neither group took the time to accept our offer to continue the dialogue...Traditional Communities (Quilombola) – respectful and constructive engagement...there is no "artisanal mining" at the Morro do Ouro Mine...Environment and Public Health – years of studies demonstrate that the mine does not contaminate and that arsenic is not a public health concern at Paracatu... Kinross sources water from basins that a do not serve the city...Kinross is a good neighbor...

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