Monday, 22 July 2019
Environment featured Weekend Video

Weekend video: The shadow of gold – trailer

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – In my Halifax Media Co-op days I did a bit of reporting on the fight to stop a large strip mine to become established at Moose River Gold Mines in the Musquodoboit Valley.

Concerns at the time focused on the environmental impact on sensitive watersheds, and the lack of controls and oversight by government.

See also: Making mining for gold safer on the Eastern Shore

Well, environmentalists lost that fight, the mine is now well established, and at this time several gold mining initiatives elsewhere in Nova Scotia are well on their way. Local residents worry what these activities will do to the environment and their drinking water.  

A new documentary, The Shadow of Gold, argues that their concerns are justified.

The documentary examines how industrial-scale mines are allowed to destroy ecosystems with impunity around the globe. It looks at how the illegal gold trade drives conflict and sustains organized terrorist groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and exceeds the lucrative drug trade in Columbia and Peru.

It also uncovers how gold linked to ecological disaster, the black market and war enters the world supply chain to reach unaware consumers.

In The Shadow of Gold, we meet Indigenous people in British Columbia struggling to recover from a spill of toxic mine waste released into the watershed, back-country guides and entrepreneurs in Montana with deep suspicions about a proposed gold mine that could destroy the pristine wilderness, a woman miner in the Congo who is determined to keep her gold from feeding the flames of war, a brotherhood of Chinese miners, terminally ill with the lung disease silicosis, fighting a state-owned gold mine for compensation, and an artisanal miner in Peru who knows that the mercury he uses to process gold is toxic and polluting, but feels he has no other option.

From the film’s press release

The film will be shown in Halifax this Tuesday, May 7, at the Central Library on Spring Garden Road, at 6 PM.

After the showing there will be a panel with Robert Lang, the film’s Canadian co-director/producer; Raymond Plourde, Ecology Action Centre; Hannah Martin, We’kopekwitk First Nation, Member Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia; Dorothée Rosen, Society of North American Goldsmiths, Master Artisan Craft Nova Scotia; and Stacey Gomez, Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network.

The panel will be moderated by Joan Baxter, author most recently of the excellent The Mill – Fifty years of pulp and protest.  Baxter has also done some outstanding journalism on the topic of gold mines in Nova Scotia for the Halifax Examiner / Cape Breton Spectator.

See also: Weekend video: Gold water

See also: Nova Scotia’s protected areas attacked by mining and quarry companies

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