The 1998 failure of the tailings dam at the Los Frailes mine wreaked widespread environmental havoc.The toxic mine wastes that were released caused a massive fish kill, damaged thousands of acres of farmland, threatened a United Nations World Heritage Site and eliminated 5,000 local jobs.The Government of Spain spent $275 million cleaning up the waste.The company is challenging a high court decision awarding the government $74 million in compensation and damages.
The proposed Rosia Montana mine has generated opposition across Europe.Over 1,000 scholars have voiced their objection to the mine, due to the area’s great archeological significance.The site includes historic Roman temples.The Minister of the Environment in neighbouring Hungary has called the project a serious threat and advocates for it to be abandoned.Mine development would require the relocation of 2,000 people, at least half of whom refuse to move.Environmental concerns include the clear cutting of forests and the contamination of the water table.
Placer Dome Inc. (Placer Dome was acquired by Barrick Gold Corp. in 2006)
EDC: US$1.36 million loan 
ADB: US$40 million loan 
CPP: $351 million (Barrick) 
The Marcopper mines are environmental disasters. Placer Dome’s partnership with repressive dictator Ferdinand Marcos enabled the company to mine within a protected area and to use Calancan Bay, the source of livelihood for 12 fishing villages, as a toxic dumping ground for 16 years. Both the Mogpog and Boac Rivers have been literally overrun with toxic waste. Two children died when they were buried in the Mogpog mine waste spill. Studies conducted by the United Nations, government agencies and academics show that communities, who continue to rely on these rivers and on Calancan Bay, are exposed to unsafe levels of environmental toxins. Placer Dome denies responsibility for these environmental disasters  and sold its stake in the project in 1997. The Province of Marinduque is currently suing Placer Dome and Barrick in the US, seeking damages for the environmental harm caused by the Marcopper mines.
When Metallica arrived in Cerro de San Pedro in 1995 to build an open pit mine, local residents, human rights organizations and environmental groups formed the Broad Opposition Front (FAO) to halt the operation that they say would destroy their 400-year old town.The company’s own environmental impact assessment reveals that if built, the mine would require the relocation of the community and would cause “significant adverse” impact to the area’s only aquifer. The latter is of particular concern.Water is extremely scarce in the State of San Luis Potosi and the National Water Commission of Mexico reports that it is already being exploited at an unsustainable rate.Local residents, whose property has been adversely affected by Metallica’s exploration activities, have sued the Government of Mexico over its decision to issue the company a permit.
Mali IAMGOLD Corp.
IFC: owns 6% of the operating company
CPP: $38 million
Two villages were displaced in order to make way for the Sadiola mine.The vast majority of relocated agriculturalists and pastoralists who did not possess title to their lands have seen their livelihoods diminish.Replacement lands are less fertile and some are located far from villages.Water resources are scarce.Natural areas used by locals have been degraded through deforestation caused by the mine.Mine workers live in poor conditions and locals report a rise in prostitution, alcoholism, drug use and the spread of HIV/AIDS since the arrival of gold mining.
When Manhattan Minerals proposed an open pit gold mine in the town of Tambogrande, local residents came together and stopped the project.The San Lorenzo valley is a lush oasis in Peru’s barren desert coast.The area was transformed into an important agricultural centre with the installation of a World Bank-financed irrigation system.Area residents were concerned that the environmental risks associated with gold mining would threaten their thriving agricultural economy.The municipality held a popular referendum on the proposed project – the first referendum of its kind in the world. The vote, which was monitored by international observers, registered virtually unanimous opposition to the mine.The Tambogrande referendum, which played a vital part in halting the project, has since been replicated by other communities threatened by mining projects.
EDC: US$50 million political risk insurance 
EBRD: US$40 million loan 
IFC: US$40 million loan 
MIGA: US$45 million political risk insurance 
CPP: $35 million 
In May 1998, a company truck spilt a load of sodium cyanide, a chemical used to extract gold, into the Barskoun River, raising the cyanide concentration in the water to 50,000 times the permissible level. In the days following the spill, hundreds, possibly thousands of local residents sought medical attention and several deaths were reported. Thousands were evacuated from the spill area. A study published by Natural Resources Canada  concluded that few, if any, significant environmental impacts were generated by the spill - conclusions that were questioned by an independent hydrogeologist.
Home to the world’s greatest barrier reef system, largest lagoon, and unique plant and animal species, Kanaky-New Caledonia is a biodiversity hotspot.This biological treasure-trove may be irrevocably damaged if mining giant Inco moves ahead with plans for a massive open pit mine.Arguing that they were not consulted, native Kanaks oppose further construction - citing the project’s potential social and environmental impacts.The Kanaks’ concerns are credible - in 2006, erosion controls employed by the company failed, contaminating an important marine protected area.In June 2006, an administrative tribunal responded to a complaint by the Kanak organization, Rheebu Nuu, by canceling Goro’s mining license, arguing that the project’s potential environmental impacts had not been adequately studied.The company is appealing the decision, but has proceeded with mine development, relying on a separate construction permit.
Inco Ltd. EDC: loans of $60 and $200 million CPP: $130 million
For thirty years Inco enjoyed a cozy relationship with the repressive and corrupt Suharto regime.
Members of the Karonsi’e Dongi and Sorowako indigenous communities lost their most productive agricultural land when the PT Inco mine was built, and they received paltry compensation in return.Mining activity has degraded land and water resources, and initial monitoring suggests that smelter emissions affect air quality in neighbouring communities.Despite apparent efforts by Inco to resolve community claims in recent years, protesting residents report being threatened and intimidated by the Indonesian military and police.
Cambior Inc. and Golden Star Resources Ltd.
EDC: $163 million political risk insurance
MIGA: reinsured $55 million
CPP: $21 million (Cambior)
$14 million (Golden Star)
The now infamous, massive tailings dam failure at the Omai mine occurred in August 1995. Millions of cubic metres of heavy metal laden mine waste spilled into the Essequibo River, the country’s main waterway.Large fish kills were reported and the government declared the area a disaster zone.Amerindian indigenous people living along the banks of the Essequibo claimed major fish losses, contamination of freshwater supplies and adverse health effects, as a result of the spill.A class action lawsuit on behalf of affected Guyanese was thrown out by a Quebec court, which denied the Guyanese plaintiffs standing.