Protesters show mettle: Demonstrators disrupt AGM over operational ‘issues’

Protesters show mettle

Demonstrators disrupt AGM over operational ‘issues’

By Susan Lazaruk, The Province May 19, 2011
Activists under the banner of the Mining Justice Alliance demonstrate at the Vancouver Trade andConvention Centre, protesting against Goldcorp's operations in Guatemala.

Activists under the banner of the Mining Justice Alliance demonstrate at the Vancouver Trade andConvention Centre, protesting against Goldcorp’s operations in Guatemala.

Photograph by: Nick Procaylo -PNG, The Province

About three dozen demonstrators protesting gold and silver mining companies brought their noisy protest into the lobby of the Pan Pacific Hotel during Goldcorp’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.

The mostly young protesters, some playing brass instruments and others beating on native drums and waving placards, said their rally was designed to raise public awareness about what they called human-rights abuses, health problems and environmental violations associated with the mining operations of the Vancouver-based company.

Included among the speakers was Carlos Amador, a teacher and community leader in Honduras, near Goldcorp’s San Martin mine, where he organizes communities in the Syria Valley to fight what the group said were environmental damage and human-rights violations caused by the mine.

Also protesting was Jesus Lara, a Wixarika (Huichol) artist and healer, who fights in his native Mexico against a mining proposal by First Majestic Silver, also Vancouver-based.

The protesters, escorted by police, had a parade permit to travel through Gastown to the hotel but no permission to enter. After the group entered through the back door, Vancouver police and hotel security prevented them from going up the escalator to the floor where Goldcorp was scheduled to hold its AGM and they left after brief speeches.

They group was to move on to the nearby office of the Canada Pension Plan, which the group said invests in mining companies like Goldcorp.

They are scheduled to protest today outside First Majestic Silver’s AGM on West Hastings Street, where Wixarika people will lead a demonstration demanding the company stop mining on sacred land in Mexico.

Goldcorp employs 11,500 people worldwide in “politically stable jurisdictions throughout the Americas,” according to its website.

The company said it’s “committed to responsible mining practices” and “endeavours to deliver sustainable prosperity for our shareholders, employees, business parties and the communities” it operates in.

Goldcorp earlier this month announced that its earnings doubled for the first quarter of 2011. Net earnings were $651 million, or 50 cents a share, up from $232 million in the first quarter of 2010.

Gold was trading Wednesday at almost $1,500 an ounce.

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/business/Protesters+show+mettle/4807832/story.html#ixzz1NCHvoh8z

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