Cyanide | Lake Cowal | NewsRainforest Information Centre


The GoldBusters Coalition has adopted the Statement of Unity that was developed at the People's Gold Summit held in California in June, 1999:


Life, land, clean water and clean air are more precious than gold. All peoples depend on nature for life. The right to life is a guaranteed human right. It is, therefore, our responsibility to protect all of nature for present and future generations.

Large-scale gold mining violently uproots and destroys the spiritual, cultural, political, social and economic lives of peoples as well as entire ecosystems. Historic and current destruction created by gold mining is greater than any value generated.

Commercial gold mining projects are mainly on indigenous lands. By violating their land rights, mining companies are denying the right to life of those indigenous peoples, whose relationship to land is central to their spiritual identity and survival. We need to support the self-determination of indigenous peoples and the recovery, demarcation and legal recognition of campesinos, tribal and indigenous peoples' lands.

Communities in mining-affected areas, following a democratic and open decision-making process, have rights to the use, control and management of resources; prior informed consent to any proposals which affect their land and/or resources; and to reject any proposal that impacts their human rights. There must be participatory processes to build and maintain sustainable economies at all levels as an alternative to the current destructive patterns of development, including gold mining.

Large-scale and small-scale, toxic chemical-dependent gold mining damages landscapes, habitats, biodiversity, human health and water resources. Water especially is contaminated by cyanide, acid mine drainage, heavy metals and mercury from gold mining. Additionally, the hydrologic cycle is changed and water sources are grossly depleted by pumping water from aquifers.

Most governments continue to represent the interests of mining corporations against people. They have made laws to take away land and rights from people to facilitate gold mining. We need to achieve self-determination and work towards local self-sufficiency in order to break the chains of dependency on external sources. At a national level we reject the debt-ridden economic model of mineral extraction.

It is the responsibility of governments of countries where the multinational corporations come from to hold them accountable, wherever they operate, to their domestic environmental and social protection requirements. This is to ensure no double standards. Shareholders and investors in gold mining companies must be held responsible for their corporations' actions.

International and domestic laws should support the rights of local communities, tribal and indigenous peoples and the right of all people to ecological security, not the security of corporations. Oppressive laws and macroeconomic policies, such as those pushed by the World Trade Organization, are imposed on peoples and places. These influences must be resisted, and all laws and policies made in accordance with customary and human rights law and the balance of ecosystems.

Given that gold is indestructible, known reserves could provide for market demand for the foreseeable future. The current trend to sell gold reserves by central banks therefore offers an alternative to gold mining to provide for market demands, but must be considered carefully in light of its social and economic ramifications. In particular, there must be just transitions for workers who lose their jobs and livelihoods whenever gold mines close. After closure of a mine, companies have a duty and mandatory obligation for social, environmental, and economic rehabilitation of the community and the miners.

Although some consumers of gold are victims of social and economic systems, their consumption drives the development of gold mines with all their negative impacts. Gold-dependent communities must be supported in making a transition to economically and environmentally sustainable and nondiscriminatory forms of economic activity.

We demand:

* a moratorium on exploration for gold.

* a ban on new, large-scale and toxic chemical-dependent gold mining.

* that where the peoples and/or environment demands closure, the mine should be immediately decommissioned in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

* that gold mining companies set up community-controlled funds to pay for the just transitions of workers retrenched from the sector; for the creation of healthy, alternative economies; and to pay for clean-up, monitoring and remediation of gold mines, long after they are closed.

* an end to all military, paramilitary and mercenary activity used to repress people and secure mining.

* that international financial institutions must not fund new gold mines or gold mining companies.

* that governments stop their support and subsidies of gold mining companies. (*GoldBusters supports subsidies for small scale community pilot projects for ecological mining of gold.)

* sustainable alternatives for communities in place of gold mining as the primary economic activity.

* that governments must demarcate the lands and respect the complete territorial rights of campesino, indigenous and tribal peoples.

* that any gold mining that does occur should be managed only in the strictest environmentally and socially-safe way, and should not include submarine or riverine tailings disposal nor seabed extraction.

To ensure that these demands are realized peoples' organizations commit to make a coordinated approach to address the environmental and social threats of gold mining. (For more information about the Peoples' Gold Summit, please contact Project Underground phone 510 705 8981 or email

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As a member of the Gold Mining Coalition, your group's name will be included on our campaign materials and we will send you information from time to time about the progress of the campaign.

It would be great if you could:

*disseminate information about the campaign to your community

* send us info about what your group is up to as it relates to gold mining.

If you would like to join this coalition, please send us the name of your group, the URL of your website and any other information you’d like us to have.

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Cyanide | Lake Cowal | NewsRainforest Information Centre