Global Justice Clinic Partner Message to Newmont: NO to Gold Mining in Haiti

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, Newmont, the largest gold mining company in the world, holds their Annual General Meeting (AGM).  To mark the occasion, communities in Haiti where Newmont has conducted exploration activities announce that Newmont is not welcome back. Eight farmers and workers’ rights organizations in rural Northwest Haiti signed a declaration encouraging residents to reject Newmont and the Haitian government’s gold mining projects. The declaration calls on the people of rural Haiti to remain vigilant, noting that in the past, mining companies have increased operations in moments of crisis and economic decline. The declaration includes a statement of solidarity with Máxima Acuña, a Peruvian subsistence farmer and community leader who is in a legal battle against Newmont to defend her right to remain on her land. Máxima has faced more than a decade of harassment, physical violence, and intimidation from Newmont and its agents. However, broad social opposition from Máxima and fellow farmers and activists in Peru has prevented Newmont from building its proposed Conga mine. The project remains on hold, and the successful resistance is a model for the rural Haitian communities that demand clean water and land to grow their food.

Newmont conducted activities pursuant to its exploration permit in Haiti between 2009 and 2013. They maintained a base in Jean-Rabel, where the company administered land access agreements that authorized Newmont to use their land.  In 2014, the Global Justice Clinic and partner Kolektif Jistis Min conducted interviews with more than 75 landowners and farmers in the area to better understand the conditions surrounding the land access agreements. In many instances, the agreements appear to have been concluded without the informed consent of the land owner, and in some, residents reported that they were promised material benefits that they never received in exchange for signing or thumb-printing the agreement. The results of these interviews are presented in Chapter VI of Byen Konte Mal Kalkile?  Human Rights and Environmental Risks of Gold Mining in Haiti.

Mining companies have not yet built a mine in Haiti. Companies are waiting for Parliament, currently dissolved due to the failure to hold elections and a broad political crisis, to pass the new mining law. The law, drafted in 2014 with technical support from the World Bank, was presented to Parliament in the summer of 2017. Once passed, it is believed that the law will usher in Haiti’s first modern, industrial gold mining.  GJC and Kolektif Jistis Min have highlighted the laws failures, including that it violates Haiti’s Constitution and fails to protect Haiti’s environment or people. The law is analyzed in detail in Byen Konte, Mal Kalkile.  A brief analysis is available here. For a similar statement of social opposition from Haitian communities affected by mining, read the open letter to government officials, published in late 2018.

The declaration is available in its original Kreyòl and in translated form in English, French, and Spanish.




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