Things we do for gold

Metal has always spoken to me. As a jewellery maker working with metal, I sometimes have to remind myself how amazing it is that metal can be extracted from deep in the mountain. What a leap forward every time civilisation gained new skills in how to extract, produce and use different metals and alloys.

Short & quick version, because there is a campaign on 12 May 2015, you may have time to check it out and join: If you want to support communities affected by the Canadian mining industry and help make a change, there is a Thunderclap campaign on 12 May: Make Canada #Open4Justice. You can support via your Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, and of course by just spreading word about the campaign, any way you can.

Long version, about the things we do for gold

Villagers get beaten up by the police. Mine workers go on hunger strike to save their jobs. Entire mountains disappear, villages and all. Governments are pressured to attract foreign investment, because there is deep crisis. Gold and profit flows out of the country, leaving a destroyed ecological system behind. Business opportunities for some. More tear gas and rubber bullets for the people.

I sometimes have to remind myself that (any) metal has come a long way before it reaches my workbench.

Three eye-openers about the gold mining industry in Europe and the world.

1. Fool’s Gold

Fool’s Gold is a report published by SOMO (Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen/Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations).

Local communities on the peninsula Chalkidiki in Greece demonstrate massively against a gold mining project run by Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold. In the homeland of Aristotle, entire mountains will be destroyed. New development plans for the region no longer mention the villages, as if they are already gone. Demonstrators are met with tear gas and rubber bullets and beaten up by special police forces.

In the meantime, Eldorado Gold avoids paying tax, by operating via Dutch mailbox companies. It is not illegal – but is it moral?

Read the full report and find other resources on the SOMO website.

2. Extravism above all? Global economics, local resistence

Article by Evie Papada in eurozine (2 April 2015), about the global conflicts in the mining industry, with focus on the villages of Chaldikiki in Greece. It’s about the decision process, the dynamics between government, media and local communities, new political movements and about who has – or should have – the right to what.

3. Golden times – Cassandra’s tears

A documentary about the conflict in Chaldikiki, showing the conflict from the viewpoint of different parties: villagers, mine workers, businessmen and politicians. If you are interested in this field: see it!

All in all, it remains terribly complex, with so many needs and so many players involved.

Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. – Aristotle

Oh, if mountains had the power to become angry!

Do you know of other mountains, regions and communities that are going through a similar battle?

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One thought on “Things we do for gold

  1. Mining sometimes seems thoroughly wrong to me. There is a South American tribe living high in the Andes (the Kogi) who if I remember right, say we should stop mining altogether. Could we just recycle the precious metals we have? No, it wouldn’t be enough for technology, which depends on them. But certainly gold could be mined with more intelligence and care, for people and for the earth and the rest of its creatures. It’s so tied up with greed though. Tricky territory!

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