Sierra Club Canada Supports Legal Case Opposing Actions of Canadian Mining Company Blackfire in Chiapas Mexico
Sierra Club Canada, along with other NGOs, will be seeking an RCMP investigation of the Canadian mining company Blackfire Ltd. for potential violations of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act based on documents in the hands of Canadian NGO's which show Blackfire pay-outs to municipal authorities to keep local activists in check.
The accusations are quite significant as Mexican activist, Mariano Abarca Roblero, leader of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA), was shot to death in front of his home in November 2009, for opposing Blackfire’s barite mine in Chicomuselo, Chiapas. The Council of Canadians, Mining Watch Canada, Common Frontiers and United Steel Workers are the main proponents in this case working with the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA).
Mariano Abarca Roblero had been raising environmental concerns about the Blackfire barite mine. REMA accused Blackfire of contaminating a local river and otherwise damaging the environment. The Blackfire mine is situated in a lush swath of land at the southern tip of Mexico. Opposition to development in the area is widespread as the land was largely untouched and protected by a system of communal ownership before NAFTA. Barite from the Blackfire mine is used for drilling in Mexican oilfields.
Chiapas Attorney General's office arrested three current and former employees of Blackfire; however, according to a January 20th update, none have yet been charged. On December 8, 2009, one day after the arrests were reported, the Blackfire mine was temporarily shut down by Mexican authorities, citing numerous environmental infractions.
The murder of Mariano Abarca Robledo by men with ties to Blackfire has also heated up a debate in Canada over the proposed Bill C-300 which would stop government funding to mining, gas and oil companies that do not adhere to human rights and environmental standards in other countries.
Support Bill C-300 to hold Canadian mining companies accountable >>>
Links to Key References about this case:
 By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today, January 8th, 2010 http://www.northumberlandtoday.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2252268&auth=CECILIA%20NASMITH,%20NORTHUMBERLAND%20TODAY
 Documents Show Corruption and Intimidation by Canadian Mining Firm Blackfire in Its Mexican operations – Ottawa Must Investigate Immediately. For immediate release: Common Frontiers, Council of Canadians, Mining Watch Canada, United Steelworkers, December 18, 2010
Link to photos of anti-Blackfire demonstration Dec 9th
 Mexican Activist Murdered for Opposing Canadian Mining Company - Killing Sparks Protest at Canadian Embassy in Mexico City
Dec 03 2009 Joint news release of the four Canadian NGOs
 Urgent Action: Stop Murders and Threats Against Mexican Activists Fighting Mining Abuses in Chiapas Dec 01 2009
Draft letter for citizens to call on the government of Chiapas to investigate this murder, protect all other activists, and suspend Blackfire Exploration’s mining permits. From C. Lic. Juan Sabines, Governor of the State of Chiapas, Mexico e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
 Activist’s murder raises controversy for Canadian mining firm
By Stephanie Sun. [See photo &
 Blackfire mine in Mexico shut down over environmental concerns Dec 9, 2009 http://www.canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2410
 Photo: Three men stand near a Blackfire barite mine in Chicomuselo, Chiapas. A leader of a local organization protesting the mine was murdered in a drive-by shooting. Men with ties to the Canadian private mining firm have been arrested for the murder. Photo Credit: Moysés Zúñiga Santiago http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/283841
[Mexican] Government Looking into Blackfire Case
By Laura Payton. Embassy Magazine, January 20, 2010