Mining and Resource Extraction

Grounded in the witness of Christ, we stand in solidarity with those affected by mining.
Open pit, Marlin Mine, San Marcos, Guatemala
Open pit, Marlin Mine, San Marcos, Guatemala
Credit: 
Jim Hodgson/The United Church of Canada

Grounded in the witness of Christ, we stand in solidarity with those affected by mining.

What We Believe

Each part of creation reveals unique aspects of God the Creator,
who is both in creation and beyond it.
All parts of creation, animate and inanimate, are related.
All creation is good.

—from A Song of Faith

Learning from global and Indigenous understandings of the sacredness of the land, we are called to move away from concepts of dominion and ownership of the Earth. We strive to resist that which destroys the health of creation and its communities.

Canada is home to half of the world's mining and exploration companies—every day, rural and remote communities, especially Indigenous communities, are directly affected by their extraction activities. The results often include environmental degradation and other negative social and environmental impacts. And all too often, people are displaced from their lands, and their resistance is met with unlawful force.

United Church partners call us to respond to the grave injustices they face—extrajudicial killings, incarceration, militarization, and intimidation of community leaders opposed to government policy. (For more information about the impacts of Canadian mining companies, particularly in the Philippines, search “Beaconsfield Initiative” on United Church Commons.)

What You Can Do

  • Participate in Open for Justice—a campaign of United Church partner the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA). Join the call for an independent Human Rights Ombudsperson to hold Canadian mining companies responsible for their overseas operations.
  • View KAIROS Canada’s 2011 video Remember the Land (above), featuring global ecumenical voices offering rich theological reflections on mining. Use its study guide to help frame group discussion and plans for action. These resources are available for free download from KAIROS Canada’s website.
  • Connect with United for Mining Justice, a network of United Church people and allies working for just extractive-sector laws and advocating for an accountable Canadian mining industry.
  • Check out the resources under Downloads, below.

Key Terms and Concepts

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

This global affirmation of Indigenous peoples’ rights provides a framework under which Indigenous communities give, or withhold, consent for resource extraction on traditional lands.

For information on the Declaration, including how the United Church and Canadian government are living it out, visit UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC)

A key principle of UNDRIP, FPIC refers to the right of Indigenous people to be fully informed participants, free of coercion, in decision-making on issues such as resource development projects on their traditional territories (for example, the Trans Mountain Pipeline). Mohawk activist Kenneth Deer characterizes it as “a means of participating on an equal footing in decisions that affect us.” 

Extractivism

An economic model that exploits the large-scale removal of natural resources for profit, is increasingly being challenged on the ground by Indigenous, grassroots, and popular movements.

The Work of Our Networks and Partners

For more information, contact:

Christie NeufeldtProgram Coordinator, Public Witnesscneufeldt [at] united-church.ca416-231-7680 ext. 4078
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078

Jim HodgsonProgram Coordinator, Caribbean and Latin America Partnership Programjhodgson [at] united-church.ca416-231-7680 ext. 4013
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4013

Content

Last updated: 
July 8, 2019

Communities negatively affected by the overseas operations of Canadian extractive-sector companies are waiting for justice.

Published on: 
April 20, 2018
Last updated: 
September 20, 2019
Show your support for the rights of Indigenous peoples to participate in decision making and to free, prior, and informed consent.
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