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Environmentalists seek ‘mining justice’ to ‘be a central to the profoundly transformative Green New Deal’

By Brent Patterson

It is imperative that we win a bold and profoundly transformative Green New Deal to avert the catastrophe of deepening climate breakdown.

The Pact for a Green New Deal, launched by environmental non-governmental organizations earlier this week, provides the opportunity to build that vision.

Hopefully a key aspect of the blueprint that emerges through community discussions will be an awareness and commitment to avoid the further immiseration of mine-impacted communities around the world.

Why the concern?

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC), which includes Teck Resources Limited, Vale, Hudbay Minerals Inc, Eldorado Gold, and Barrick Gold Corporation, boasts that it released its first statement on climate change in March 2000.

Almost two decades later, its website highlights, “MAC and its members are committed to supporting an orderly transition toward a lower-carbon future, and to being a constructive partner in the fight against climate change.”

It goes on to say that raw materials enable the world to transition to a low-carbon future.

What might be behind these statements?

In his article “Between the Devil and the Green New Deal,” Jasper Bernes notes that “nearly every renewable energy source depends upon non-renewable and frequently hard-to-access minerals: solar panels use indium, turbines use neodymium, batteries use lithium, and all require kilotons of steel, tin, silver, and copper.”

And Jesse Barron in his New York Times piece “How Big Business Is Hedging Against the Apocalypse,” has commented, “Electric vehicles and green power grids require, for their batteries, valuable minerals and metals. Spot prices for nickel and cobalt fluctuate by double-digit percentages on commodities exchanges, while investors eye shares in lithium mines.”