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Eldorado’s scandal-free history?

Ιn his article Eldorado Gold’s big Greek mining problem, published in the Globe and Mail on April 27, 2013, journalist Eric Reguly writes: “Given the job creation opportunity, the approved EIA and Eldorado’s scandal-free history of mining development elsewhere, the company is astounded by the ferocity of the opposition”.

Eldorado’s scandal-free history?

CYANIDE POISONING IN ESME, TURKEY! THE CULPRIT: CANADIAN-OWNED

Published Date: 23-07-2006

CYANIDE POISONING IN ESME, TURKEY! THE CULPRIT: CANADIAN-OWNED

ELDORADO/TUPRAG

From Üstün B. Reinart

23rd July 2006

Eldorado/Tuprag’s Kisladag goldmine officially started production in mid-July, amidst panic and controversy. Cyanide levels as high as 0.64 mg/litre were found in the blood samples taken from some villagers three days after they complained of symptoms of poisoning. The Company and Turkish Officials are accused of trying to cover-up.

On June 27, 1000 people in the villages and town of Esme, near Kisladag in Turkey flocked to local health centers and hospital emergency wards, complaining of nausea, head aches, diarrhea, shortness of breath, numbness in their arms and legs, and fits of trembling. Many of the sick villagers immediately blamed a controversial Canadian goldmine in nearby Kisladag.

The Eldorado/Tuprag goldmine started trial production on April 26, 2006, using sodium cyanide heap leach method in a huge area covering 15,717 hectares.

The Environmental Impact Statement of the mine, accepted on June 27, 2003, said it would operate for 17 years, but many scientists and doctors found blatant errors and omissions in the EIS. Villagers challenged it in court, requesting an injunction against it, but they lost, despite expert opinion supporting allegations of serious omissions in the EIS.

Some of the sick villagers, suspecting cyanide poisoning, contacted an advocacy group called Elele (hand-in-hand), and a group of Elele members rushed to Esme on June 30, with doctors from the Izmir Chamber of Physicians, to take blood samples. Although the samples were obtained from adults with their signed consent, the municipal administrator (Kaimakam) of the town seized eight vials of blood and withheld them, saying the analysis was unauthorized.

The physicians in the advocacy group urged the officials to release the samples for> immediate analysis, saying cyanide in the bloodstream would drop by 50% in 66 hours, but the vials were not released. The governor of the Province of Usak and the Kaimakam of the town of Esme promptly > announced that the sickness was caused by sewage contamination of the drinking water in the region.

The Elele group was able to analyze blood samples from nine of the sick people.

Analysis confirms cyanide poisoning.

The blood samples obtained three days after symptoms of poisoning appeared, contained cyanide ranging from 18 mg. per litre, to 65 mg.per litre.

Elele’s spokesperson, lawyer Arif Cangi said these amounts were alarming, especially in view of the fact that the cyanide levels in the blood would have dropped considerably by the time the samples were obtained.

The cyanide levels in the blood samples of the nine villagers were as follows:

Mahmut Kulali 0.30 mg/L, Halil Kaya 0.18 mg/L, Hulusi Ada 0.64 mg/L, Tayyip Ada 0.24 mg/L, Ali Ender Sercan 0.54 mg/L, Gizem Özkan 0.25 mg/L, Sinem Özkan 0.18 mg/L, Yagmur Elifcan Yildirim 0.25 mg/L, Halime Erhat: 0.22 mg/L

In addition to the cyanide-poisoning, high levels of arsenic were found in drinking water from a well in the town of Esme.

Cangi said ten lawyers have launched court cases against the Governor of Usak, the Ministry of Health, the Kaimakam of Esme and the municipal government, arguing that the licenses granted to Eldorado violate public health requirements. “It’s a crime for the mine to continue to operate while investigations are going on,” he said, “and a further crime that neither the company nor the Ministry of Health have a laboratory in the region or emergency plans to deal with such emergencies.”

The Eldorado/Tuprag mine in Kisladag opened officially with fanfare on July 15, just before Elele announced the analysis results.

Canadians Targeted for Controversial Tibet Investments

Published Date: 09-09-2006

Canadians Targeted for Controversial Tibet Investments

TSG-L

9th September 2006

Tibetan Rights Groups Oppose Canadian Mining Operations in Tibet

Vancouver – On the eve of a gathering of national and international corporate leaders in Vancouver, who will be addressed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Students for a Free Tibet and Canada Tibet Committee are calling on Canadian companies and their investors to steer clear of high risk business ventures in occupied Tibet or face increased public and political pressure. In particular, Tibetan rights activists are concerned about six junior Canadian mining companies engaged in exploratory drilling and mine operations in Tibet.[1]

“Vancouver-based Hunter Dickinson claims to pride itself on ethical business investments and yet continues to aggressively promote plans to exploit gold resources in occupied Tibet without first ensuring the basic rights of local communities are respected”, said Kate Woznow, National Coordinator of Students for a Free Tibet Canada. “Under Chinese rule, Tibetans have no voice to determine the use of their own natural resources and face arrest and imprisonment for speaking out against government supported projects.”

In the coming weeks, Tibetans and supporters will be increasing public pressure on the mining companies, similar to the actions taken against Canada’s Bombardier, Power Corporation and Nortel for their involvement in the China-Tibet railway. Former Canadian Ambassador to China, Howard Balloch, has also come under fire for his investment in a $1000/night luxury train service which is scheduled to start operations along the China-Tibet line in 2007.[2]

“We have seen a national outcry against Bombardier’s role in building China’s Tibet railway, and now Canadians are appalled to learn that a former high level public servant stands to profit from this devastating project,” said Ray Yee, Vice-President of Canada Tibet Committee Vancouver. “The current involvement of Canadian companies in occupied Tibet undermines Canada’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and international human rights law.”

Earlier this year, an international coalition of Tibet Support Groups circulated questionnaires to the Canadian mining companies to gauge how they would ensure local Tibetans had freely consented to a mine operation in their community. The responses have uniformly shown that the proposed resource extraction projects fail to meet the standard of free, prior and informed consent. Other junior mining companies, SinoGold and Orchid Capital, have previously unsuccessfully tried to establish mines in Tibet to their cost and that of their investors.

“We have given the companies an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to ethical investment in Tibet and they have failed to do so,” said Tsering Lama, Board member of Students for a Free Tibet. “Now it is time for action. Tibetans continue to be denied their internationally recognized right to determine the use of their own natural resources and we will not stand for Canadian companies profiting from our mineral wealth.”

1] Canadian companies invested in Tibet are Hunter Dickinson’s wholly owned subsidiary Continental Minterals (Vancouver), Inter-Citic Minerals Inc (Toronto), Eldorado Gold Corp (Vancouver), GobiMin Inc (Toronto), Dynasty Gold Corp (Vancouver) and TVI Pacific Inc (Alberta).

[2] Howard Balloch is a major investor in a joint venture between RailPartners Inc and the Chinese Ministry of Railways to operate the luxury train service. 53 designer rail cars are being built by Bombardier’s joint venture in China for the project.

Contact: Kate Woznow, Students for a Free Tibet Canada (Vancouver) 778-322-3071

Tsering Lama, Students for a Free Tibet Canada (Vancouver) 604-341-4669
Ray Yee, Canada Tibet Committee (Vancouver) 604-736-5215 (office) 604-240-5215 (cell)

Luisa Durante, Canada Tibet Committee 514-487-0665 (office)

Highest Turkish court rules to close Canadian-owned gold mine

Published Date: 22-07-2007

Highest Turkish court rules to close Canadian-owned gold mine

by Ustun Bilgen-Reinhart, MineAction

22nd July 2007

Turkish environmentalists are celebrating a new ruling of the Turkish State Council that closes a Canadian gold mine. The highest court in Turkey decided on July 9 that the Environmental Impact Assessment of the goldmine in Usak-Esme, owned by Tuprag – a subsidiary of the Canadian Eldorado Gold Corporation is «clearly illegal» and that the continued operation of the mine would cause irreparable harm. The mine will have to be shut down within thirty days of the ruling.

Tuprag-Eldorado started trial production in Usak-Esme, in May 2006, despite the opposition of local villagers and Turkish environmentalists. The company has cut 22 000 trees and bought out several villages in the region to produce gold using the primitive and highly dangerous sodium cyanide heap leach method in a ….. area.

In June 2006, more than 1000 villagers in Esme-Usak turned up at hospital emergency wards, with symptoms that raised fears of cyanide poisoning. Despite attempts to obstruct the obtaining of blood samples from the sick villagers, Dr. Oya Otyildiz was able to obtain some samples and the analysis confirmed the worst fears.

This is the second State Council decision in Turkey against gold mining with sodium cyanide. In 1997, a goldmine in Bergama, the first to be established in the country, was ruled unconstituional – but the Turkish government violated that ruling by issuing a special permit to Newmont, which then owned the company. Since then, the Turkish Government had to pay thousands of Euros in compensation to villagers who won court cases at the European Human Rights Court in Strazbourg.

Turkish environmentalists: villagers, lawyers and proffesional chambers who launched the court case against Eldorado are calling on the company to heed this high court ruling, to close up its mine at Usak-Esme and go away.

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