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7 Apr 2019

Jen Moore and Manuel Perez Rocha: Mining Watch, Institute for Policy Studies y CIEL

Extraction Casino: Mining companies gambling Latin American lives and sovereignty supranational arbitration

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…During the last couple of decades…mining companies have filed dozens of claims against Latin American countries before international arbitration panels, demanding compensation for court decisions, public policies and other government measures that they claim reduce the value of their investments. In a majority of these cases, the communities most affected by the mining projects have been actively organizing to defend their territories and natural resources. For local residents, these projects are a threat to their land, health, environment, self-determination and ways of life…For the global mining companies, international arbitration is merely another opportunity to strike it rich through reckless, casino-style gambling, given how the recourse they have to bring expensive lawsuits to international tribunals takes place within a system in which the deck is heavily stacked in their favor. This paper analyses 38 cases filed by global mining corporations against Latin American governments using the investor-state dispute settlement…system. Reflective of the disproportionate participation of Canadian financing in the global mining sector, the majority of these cases were brought or threatened by Canadian-domiciled firms, although U.S., U.K., South African, Swiss, French, Dutch, Chilean, Australian and East Indian companies have also taken part…