Mining Harmful to Hondurans

Pedro Landa likes Canadians, but not what the country’s mining companies are doing to his people and their land.

The community development leader from Honduras made a quick visit Sunday to St. Peter the Apostle Church and Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption as part of the annual Share Lent educational and fundraising campaign.

His intent was to alert parishioners of the damage being caused by greed.

“We need to educate consumers on the real price of gold, because for one ring mining companies contaminate 18 tons of earth,” Landa said through an interpreter during the 9 a.m. worship at St. Peter the Apostle.

“With the technology, companies need to use enormous amounts of water to extract gold from the earth. But at the same time, our people need water to drink, wash, cook and for their crops,” he said.

“The water has become scarce because of the actions of these mining companies. The water that does remain is often contaminated with chemicals slowly killing people. Some of it undergoes Potassium Permanganate Water Treatment but a majority if it is left untended. We’ve seen an increased amount of birth defects, many women can no longer carry babies to term and skin ulcers cover our people’s bodies.”

Landa said all this is because a few people have the desire to get rich.

“The majority of these offenders are Canadian mining companies Eighty-five per cent of the 174 mining companies in Honduras are Canadian. The rules of the market need to change so we can have greater justice,” he said, noting another problem is corruption and how concessions are granted to mining firms in Honduras.

“Our first step is to establish an independent office which will investigate reports of abuse. It’s surprising how many people are surprised to learn how differently Canadian companies behave overseas.”

Ethical behaviour

Landa said they are urging jewelry companies to source out their work to more responsible companies by awarding a certificate that confirms they produce their gold rings in an ethical manner.

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