Mining Justice Campaign

by Andrew Stephens-Rennie

This morning I had the opportunity to sit down with Stefan Cherry, a policy analyst with the Mennonite Central Committee, and a church planter in the Vanier neighbourhood of Ottawa. Amongst the many things we discussed, was the MCC’s work on Mining Justice.

Canadian companies are a dominant force in the mining and resource extraction industry across the globe. Seventy-five percent of all mining companies in the world are based in Canada. In 2008 some 1200 companies operated in Canada and in 100 other countries. That’s not insignificant.

To round it all out, some of these companies receive subsidies from the Canadian government. This is a reason for great concern, especially considering the current environmental and human rights abuses that are being uncovered in many places throughout the world.

In late 2009, we posted a clip from Jamie Moffett’s “The Mysterious Death of Marcelo Rivera.” The MCC’s work actually brings this a lot closer to home. According to their website:

Canadian mining operations around the world are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, mines provide jobs, they contribute to the host nation’s economy, and they often contribute schools, clinics and similar supports to local communities. But there is another side. Jobs are often short-lived and the financial benefits to the economy are meager. Mines often displace people from their homes, destroy land, and contaminate water supplies. Frequently, the people who occupy the land – often, Indigenous peoples – are not adequately consulted. Sometimes, Canadian mining operations contribute to human rights violations, violence and armed conflict.

So. What can we do about it? For those of us from Canada, how can we address these issues? For starters, check out the MCC Resources. Learn more about the proposed Bill C-300 and write to your MP in support of it.


Another thing we hope to be able to do in the not-too-distant future is to facilitate a screening of Jamie’s “Return to El Salvador” which contains more of the Marcelo Rivera story. We’re currently in discussions to host a viewing in Ottawa sometime in the coming months. We’ll let you know as things pan out.

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Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Andrew is a writer, dreamer and organizer with a keen interest in developing leaders in faith, compassion and justice.

He currently serves as the Director of Missional Renewal for the Anglican Diocese of Kootenay on the unceded territories of the Sinixt, Syilx, and Ktunaxa nations. He previously served as the Director of Ministry Innovation at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, BC.

Andrew is cofounder and contributing editor at, and co-editor of "A Sort of Homecoming: Essays Honoring the Academic and Community Work of Brian Walsh" with Marcia Boniferro and Amanda Jagt.

One Response to “Mining Justice Campaign”

  1. Randy G.

    Thank you Andrew and the rest of the Empire Remixed community.

    I appreciate your highlighting this. I have been praying daily for areas and people devastated by various forms of extraction (including dislocation for agricultural extraction) for several weeks. — Ontario, Alberta, Appalachia, New Mexico, El Salvador Ghana, South Africa, Congo, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Nigeria.

    These practices used to secure fuel, minerals, precious metals, and increasingly bio-crops, highlight more than any other I have known, the exploitation and displacement of the poor by and for the rich. This is the core of imperial exploitation. As my father has asked sarcastically: “How did our oil get under their sand?”

    Right now the major visible issue in the US is attempts to use the EPA to restrict Mountain-Top Removal mining in Appalachia. But the under-reported and developing issue is uranium mining in New Mexico and the rest of the American Southwest. There Native Americans know the cost of such mining in health and are wary of engaging it again to secure employment, but the federal government is pushing for more nuclear and so renewed mining.

    Randy Gabrielse


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