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NGO Rejoinder

Brazil: Rejoinder from Above Ground and Justiça Global to the response from Kinross Gold and Export Development Canada on their report about Morro do Ouro mine

“Response to Kinross Gold and Export Development Canada regarding our report Swept Aside”, March 19, 2018
...Above Ground and Justiça Global welcome the opportunity to address points raised in Kinross’s and EDC’s responses. Kinross contends that our report presents “numerous unfounded and factually incorrect allegations.” However, the report is based on an extensive body of credible information provided by local residents, community organizations and government authorities in Brazil...It draws on interviews...and over 50 government publications and court documents. The report also includes...information from Kinross...Kinross expresses disappointment that we have not accepted its offer of dialogue regarding the issues raised in our report...Kinross refers to court rulings...in Brazil that conclude that the quilombola land claims in the area of the mine operation have no legal basis...However, the Brazilian Supreme Court subsequently issued a ruling...that upholds the constitutionality of the legislation in question…[and]...confirms the legality of the quilombola self-recognition process and the quilombola land titling process...The territorial titling process...was already underway when Kinross was granted an initial licence for the tailings dam...Despite this recognition, the dam was subsequently licensed and built by Kinross. Only years later did the courts issue the rulings that the company now raises in its defense...Quilombola residents we interviewed who told us they’d signed deals with the company paying them to vacate their land said they...they had no other choice...As the state public ministry warned: “[t]he pressure to sell is overwhelming for a landowner whose land has been improperly licensed [ . . .]. Who will want to continue living in the dam’s area of influence once it’s been licensed by the state of Minas Gerais? Who else, besides [the company] will want to acquire that property [...]?”...[O]ne of the scientific studies regarding arsenic exposure in Paracatu...referenced by Kinross includes troubling findings not mentioned by the company...The company does not mention that at least five people have died in...incidents in recent years...Kinross states that “there is also strong evidence that communities have access to effective remedy in the rare event a situation is not resolved to mutual satisfaction.” This assertion contradicts what we heard in interviews with local residents and...prosecutors...EDC must operate in accordance with Canada’s legal duty to protect against human rights abuse, and it should be accountable to the Canadian public in this regard...

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