SOMEONE ELSE'S TREASURE
“When the company first came here, we welcomed them because they promised to bring us development – services to local communities, schools, hospitals, basics. But since they came, they have turned our whole society upside down! Land is going away, our food sources are going away, culture, costume, everything is going away, fading away! It’s worse than you can imagine!” – Jethro Tulin, Ipili tribesman from Porgera, Papua New Guinnea.
Broken promises, environmental disasters, human rights abuses, and cultural genocide, these are only some of the experiences that indigenous peoples all over the world have had to face when coming into contact with the global mining industry, and it’s perpetual pursuit of profit.
Someone Else’s Treasure includes the stories of affected communities in Australia, Canada, Chile, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Tanzania. These intimate portraits are both a critique of the myth of progress and a celebration of the spirit of resistance. In an effort to better understand the true cost of an industry that shapes the world around all of us, the focus is on the externalized – the men, women, and children that have been left out of the equations and are therefore forced to pay the price for someone else’s treasure.
Someone Else's Treasure includes the stories of affected communities in Australia, Canada, Chile, Guatemala, Papua New Guinnea, the Philippines, and Tanzania. In an effort to better understand the true cost of an industry that shapes the world around all of us, the focus is on the externalized - the men, women and children that have been left out of the equations and are therefore forced to pay the price for someone else's treasure.
The record of large scale mining in the Philippines is nothing short of disastrous. The social and environmental impacts of these mines have clearly not been a priority to the Philippine government, or to the foreign investors who are profiting from these ventures. The extraction of these treasured metals comes at a high price. People who were already marginalized and living in poverty to begin with are losing what they most treasure – families are being torn apart, livelihoods destroyed, ecosystems ruined, and ancient indigenous cultures are being eroded.
The following accounts of mass displacements, violent confrontations, lost livelihoods, exploited workers, and contaminated ecosystems raise serious questions about the mining industry in Tanzania and internationally. The focus here is on communities surrounding the Bulyanhulu and North Mara Gold Mines, both owned by the world’s largest gold mining company Barrick Gold, and the Geita Gold Mine, owned by the third largest gold company, AngloGold Ashanti.
Within the Department of San Marcos, in the western highlands of Guatemala, the Marlin Mine is located along the border between the municipalities of San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipakapa. These communities are largely composed of Indigenous Mayans who speak their traditional languages in addition to Spanish. 85% of the mine is located in San Miguel Ixtahacán, where the population is mostly Mam-Maya, one of the larger Mayan subgroups.Sipakapa is inhabited mostly by the Sipakapense, one of the smaller subgroups.
MARINDUQUE (Photo Essay)
In 1993 one of the tailings dams of Placer Dome’s copper mine burst sending tons of mine waste raging down the river in a flash flood sweeping away homes, people and livestock. Three years later a second collapse sent waste in the opposite direction destroying the Boac river. Fifteen years on both rivers remain biologically dead and contain dangerous levels of toxic chemicals. The company continues to deny any responsibility for what was the worst industrial disaster in Philippine history.