This week, I, along with nine other activists, went to trial for peacefully protesting a mining company’s proposal to dump mine waste into Norway’s iconic fjords. We pled not guilty, arguing that our act of civil disobedience was crucial to protect the Førde fjord.
Each year, mining companies operating throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific dump millions of tons of mine waste into oceans and rivers. Known by the industry as “tailings,” this muddy sludge is created during processing, when the desired mineral, such as gold, is chemically separated from the extracted ore.This is the first post in a series that highlight this worst of the worst practice -- — and the mining companies who continue to do it. For more information about the problem on a global scale, check out our infographic.
London/Geneva/Washington, D.C., Feb 5th – This Valentine’s Day, IndustriALL Global Union, London Mining Network, Earthworks, and LabourStart are challenging the world’s biggest jewellery retailer Signet to demand that its major diamond and gold supplier, multinational mining company Rio Tinto, clean up its mining practices so that they respect worker rights, indigenous peoples and the environment.
With global sales of US $6 billion annually, Signet’s 1,400 Kay and Jared jewellery shops are in every US State, 1,600 Zales stores are throughout the US and Canada, and 500 H. Samuel and Ernest Jones shops are visible on UK high streets. The National Retail Federation anticipates that twenty-one per cent of US shoppers will gift jewellery to their loved ones on Valentine’s Day this year, fuelling US jewellery sales of nearly $5 billion.
The coalition is calling on Signet to abide both by its own Responsible Sourcing Policy, and its 2006 public endorsement of the No Dirty Gold campaign’s Golden Rules for more responsible mining. Signet’s Responsible Sourcing Policy declares the company “committed to the responsible sourcing of our products and the respect of human rights, and we expect the same from our suppliers around the world.” Endorsement of the Golden Rules, endorsed by over 100 jewellery retailers around the world, commits signers to pressure their suppliers to come into compliance with the Rules -- which are drawn from broadly accepted international human rights laws and basic principles of sustainable development.
But Rio Tinto is a notorious violator of labour rights, communities, and the environment.