Troubled Waters: How Mine Waste Dumping is Poisoning Our Ocean, Rivers, and Lakes

ENVIRONMENT, 12 March 2012

by Earthworks & MiningWatch Canada – TRANSCEND Media Service

A new investigative report from Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada documents how mining companies are using the world’s waterways as dumping grounds for their toxic mine wastes.

These mine wastes, or tailings, can contain up to three dozen dangerous chemicals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cyanide.

Each year, mining companies dump over 180 million tonnes of these hazardous mine wastes into rivers, oceans, and lakes – that’s more than 1.5 times the amount of waste that US cities send to landfills each year.

The Troubled Waters report examines the impacts of ten corporations’ waste dumping practices in water bodies in 11 regions around the world, including those in Papua New Guinea, Turkey, Canada, Indonesia, United States, and Norway.

The report calls on mining companies to stop using our oceans, rivers, and lakes as dumping grounds for their toxic wastes. The report recommends additional steps that must be taken by mining companies to protect people and ecosystems from irresponsible aquatic waste disposal, including dry stacking and backfill, where safe, and adopting measures to produce less waste.

If you live in the United States, you can do something right now to help fix the problem…

TAKE ACTION! Help put an end to this practice (in the United States only, alas) by speaking up in favor of closing the loopholes in the Clean Water Act that allow it.

For more information:


Payal Sampat, Earthworks, 202-887-1872 x110

Ramsey Hart, MiningWatch Canada, 613-569-3439

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