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Miningwatch Canada et al vs Centerra Gold

Case overview

Date filed 15 March 2012
Current status Rejected
Issue Centerra Gold's HR & environmental violations in Mongolia
Summary of the case The complaint, filed by a consortium of Canadian and Mongolian NGOs, alleges that Centerra Gold has violated Mongolian law and the human rights and environment provisions of the OECD Guidelines at its gold mining operations at the Boroo Mine and its Gatsuurt gold deposit in Selenge Province, Mongolia.

According to the complaint, Centerras proposed mine is situated in a forested area where mineral exploration and mining operations are prohibited. The law protecting the forests and rivers was passed in July 2009, and in 2010 the Mongolian Cabinet issued a list of licences to be revoked, among them Centerra Golds licences for the Gatsuurt project.

Despite formal notifications that the companys license might be revoked and that it should halt its activities until a formal decision had been taken, the company has continued extensive forest-clearing and disruption of the Gatsuurt River by mine-related operations. Local herders complain that the forest-clearing and use of explosives have released arsenic and other heavy metals into the Gatsuurt River, which is now too contaminated to safely drink. Livestock have developed lesions and local people suffer from skin disorders that they attribute to the companys activities.
Developments/Outcome After conducting an initial assessment, the NCP rejected the case in November 2012, arguing that although the issue is material, the companys link to the problem had not been substantiated. The NCP argued it is not clear whether the contamination of water resources is attributable to the company. The complainants disagreed with several of the NCPs interpretations of the Guidelines and its logic for rejecting the case.

Despite rejecting the case, the NCP did recommend that the company improve communication with the local population and continue to permit public access to the Mount Noyon site for cultural and religious purposes. The NCP also recommended that the company increase efforts to maintain a dialogue with the local population to ensure they are aware of the access routes to the site
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Extractives / mining sector, Human rights, Environment

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Canada
NCP address
NCP website http://www.ncp-pcn.gc.ca/
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible Centerra Gold Inc.
Company address 1 University Avenue Suite 1500 ON M5J 2P1
Toronto
Canada
Company website
Company in violation Centerra Gold Inc.
Country of operations Mongolia
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
2 November 2012 National Contact Point Canada reject The Canadian NCP rejects the case, claiming it is not substantiated. download pdf (145Kb)  
15 March 2012 Mining Watch Canada file download pdf (287Kb)  

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