Adamastor Resources, archaeology, archaic period, archeology, Cameco, Cameco pollution, Colibri, consequences of mining, Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, corruption mining sector, Cultural Heritage Site, endangered art, endangered monuments, environment, Gold Leaf Trust, Grand Canyon, historic monument, illegal mining, informal mining, largest tropical ice cap, Laurence Stefan, Laurentiu Stefan, Louisiana Indian Mounds, Louisiana mounds, LSU Mounds, Macusani, Macusani Yellowcake, Majescor, Minera Colibri, Mining Peru, Money laundering Peru, Mounds, National Cultural Patrimony of Peru, National Heritage Site, Native American, Natural Heritage Site, Niko Shefer, peru, Quelccaya Ice Cap, Rock Art, rock art peru, rupestre art, SOMINE, Thorium Mining Haiti, UNESCO, uranium mining, Vena Resources, World Endangered Monument, World Heritage Site
NO BOUNDS TO STUPIDITY: LARGEST CONCENTRATION OF ART FROM THE ARCHAIC PERIOD IN THE AMERICAS ENDANGERED BY OPEN PIT URANIUM AND OTHER MINING
Corani Macusani Rock Art collectively constitutes “the largest concentration of art from the Archaic period in the Americas” and is endangered by proposed uranium and other mining (Macusani Yellowcake and others). The Indian Mounds at Louisiana State University, also from the Archaic period, are 6,000 years old and possibly the oldest Indian Mounds in all of the Americas. They were also endangered until recently, because LSU refused to protect them from football fans and bicycles. Which is more insane? The Quelccaya Icecap, the world’s largest icecap is near Corani-Macusani and is also imperiled, as are Alpaca in their primary homeland, which is the Macusani area. Entire Andean Communities and plants and animals are endangered by this proposed mining.
This is actually Part III of what was originally supposed to be a very short single post, to point out the dangers of open-pit uranium mining in Peru. Part I is “Margaret Thatcher, Buscore’s Dale Schultz, Macusani Yellowcake and Alpaca Genocide”, Part II is “In Peril: 10,000 yr old Rock Art, Largest Tropical Ice Cap and All Life”. New readers probably need to read the previous parts, for this post to make sense. It is basically one on-going series of posts. There are useful pictures and videos, as well, in the previous posts. This blog is entitled Haiti Mining Awareness Plus with reason: once we comprehensively covered Haiti, we thought we might discuss some other mining projects or politics (hence the “Plus”). However, we have not finished covering mining in Haiti. But, while wondering why an uranium exploration expert (Dale J. Schultz) had been hired for Majescor’s SOMINE project, and why another uranium exploration expert (Kent Ausburn) was allegedly at VCS -Delta Mining’s Morne Bossa (and possibly Lazile), we came across this other project explored by Schultz which is absolutely stupid and crazy, insane and that is uranium exploration, in the area of Macusani-Corani, for open pit uranium mining over more than 900 km2. Now if that is not crazy enough on its own, it turns out that it will endanger both the Corani-Macusani Rock Art and the largest tropical icecap in the world: Quelccaya. There has been shockingly little discussion of this. Yet this is big news and a big problem. It is so BIG that we continue to wonder why and how it is not getting much attention.
Another big news and big problem, which is being ignored, and which ties into our discussions of ionizing radiation in Part I (Margaret Thatcher, Dale J. Schultz, Macusani Yellowcake….)is probable thorium (and uranium) mining in Haiti. Yep, that’s right. If you look into the Majescor news reports from 2011 you will see that. They are probably looking for thorium (and uranium) at Morne Bossa, as well.
We have spent much time discussing the dangers of uranium and ionizing radiation, in general, and of the mining at Macusani-Corani, in particular; and other things such as legal responsibility once the inevitable environmental catastrophes happen, if these projects move forward. Liability is of special concern since the companies are small Canadian companies, which could too easily declare bankruptcy and disappear. We still have much more to discuss. We have turned over many stones and looked under them. There are more to look under. One thing we found while looking was 10,000 year old art painted on stone. Another was an endangered icecap: Quelccaya, the largest tropical icecap in the world.
However, none of this stone-turning should be required given that Peru signed the UNESCO International “Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage” in 1972 and Peru has a related Law “Ley No 28296: Ley General de Patrimonio Cultural de la Nacion” (General Law of the Cultural Patrimony of the Nation). Somehow the Government of Peru and Mining Companies, and almost everyone else, seem to be oblivious to what this convention and law mean in the context of Macusani-Corani. Or, from what we have read, they appear to try to come up with excuses as to why it does not apply to this site: e.g. that it must be more properly delineated and blah, blah. But this is flat out bull: the law and convention, as we understand them, do apply to this property. If they do not apply to this rare and unique site, then the law itself is not worth the paper it is written on (or the cost of the electricity to light your screen to read it online).
WORLD ENDANGERED MONUMENT AND NATIONAL CULTURAL PATRIMONY OF PERU: CORANI-MACUSANI ROCK ART
The Corani-Macusani Rock Art has been classified as a “World Endangered Monument” by the World Endangered Monument Fund. According to them: the “sites containing ancient pictographs painted on volcanic rock … in the Macusani and Corani districts of Puno, Peru…exhibit a fantastic array of iconographic motifs, some unique to the region. Collectively, they constitute the largest concentration of art from the Archaic period in the Americas. Scholars believe the zoomorphic, anthropomorphic, and geometric figures, as yet unanalyzed, will provide greater understanding of the earliest peoples of the Andean highlands. In 2005, these sites were designated national cultural patrimony by the Peruvian government.” That seems clear enough: In 2005 they were designated as National Cultural Patrimony by the Peruvian government. http://www.wmf.org/project/macusani-corani-rock-art Although the WMF says there are more than 100 sites, additional research has shown almost 200 sites.
However, this National Cultural Patrimony status has been ignored! The same year that the Rock Art was designated as National Cultural Patrimony by Peru, mining companies started exploring for uranium! No joke! This is too ridiculous: “In 2005, mining companies began exploring the potential to develop operations in the districts where about 90 percent of the rock-art sites are found. Despite designating the sites as national patrimony that same year, the Peruvian government continued to distribute mining rights because the pictographs have not been mapped and a protective zone has yet to be established. Without intervention, open-pit mining will result in the destruction of the Macusani-Corani rock-art sites.” http://www.wmf.org/project/macusani-corani-rock-art This mapping and protective zone excuse is just that, a blah, blah excuse. The Rock Art has been well-documented by numerous researchers. You see what they say: “WITHOUT INTERVENTION, OPEN-PIT MINING WILL RESULT IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MACUSANI-CORANI ROCK-ART SITES”. OK. Where is UNESCO? Aren’t they supposed to at least make a statement about this? We are going to get going on what the Peruvian Law and UNESCO Convention say about all of this in a little bit. We believe that both the Quelccaya Icecap and the Corani Rock Art are supposed to be protected under both the UNESCO Convention and Peruvian Law.
Note that the WMF says that “Collectively, they [the Macusani-Corani Rock Art] constitute the largest concentration of art from the Archaic period in the Americas.” Now, lest we leave you with the idea that the Peruvian Government and Canadian Mining Companies have the monopoly on stupidity, let’s look at another case:
The Louisiana State University Indian Mounds in Baton Rouge Louisiana.
LSU MOUNDS: FINALLY OUT OF BOUNDS
(Photo by Nowhereman86 via wikimedia-collective commons)
These 6,000 year old Indian Mounds are on the campus of a major state university, which has had an anthropology-archaeology department since around 1928, and it has only been within the last 20 years that any interest has been taken in them by university researchers. Now they know that they are about 6,000 years old and amongst the oldest or perhaps the oldest Indian Mounds in the Americas. That’s right: in the Americas, including Latin America. They are part of the oldest mound system in North America, Mesoamerica or South America and this also means they predate the building of the Great Pyramids of Egypt. And, they are on the US National Registry of Historic Places. And, had the US government or LSU campus been protecting them? As of November 2010: No! We bring this up because we believe that both of these cases are both shocking and in violation of the respective National Laws and the UNESCO Convention. The US was the first country to sign this Convention. Nonetheless, it appears that as of 6 months ago they had finally put up a protective fence. Still some wish to jump the fence and have had to be discouraged by members of the Native Student Association: Jaclyn Wagers, Oglala Lakota (Black Hills, SD) and Skye Byrd of the Coushatta tribe (Louisiana). http://www.lsureveille.com/news/article_1d7aba5e-2c71-11e2-b9c7-0019bb30f31a.html?mode=jqm
Why did they need protection? Was it because there is gold beneath them? Oh, no, not at all! They had been in danger of collapse because of bicycle tracks causing water leakage and because spoiled brats with spoiled brat kids wanted their kids to slide and roll down them before football games. The selfish brat parents argued that it is their tradition! They removed the temporary fence placed around them, or demanded it be removed and football rules as king at LSU. Nothing else matters. Or, so it seemed. Perhaps LSU finally understood the legal repercussions of not putting a fence around a National and World Heritage site, just like Peru needs to understand that there are legal and other repercussions for letting mining rule as king of Peru.
If these alleged football fans knew football rules, however, they would know that in football you can be “out of bounds” and they should have understood that the mounds were “out of bounds”. However, their selfish stupid tradition is more important to them than 6,000 year old Native American heritage. (Apparently one kid rolling on the mound is ok, but combined weight of many is not). But, the ultra stupidity is that these mounds were known to be non-burial, presumably ceremonial mounds, even before the selfish bratty parents of the bratty kids were born. It has been known for at least half a century and probably much longer! This author knew it, so we know it was known. This was not something hidden in the rural Andes, like the Macusani-Corani artwork. It is on a major university campus. So, why did no researchers at LSU bother themselves with these mounds? As they say: there are no bounds to stupidity. If they had taken an earlier interest, then there would have been no tradition of sliding and rolling down them before football games! Finally one professor has taken some interest in the mounds. If it were not for him, we think that LSU should just shut itself down and just become a football club and probably not even a football club if they do not understand the concept of “out of bounds”. That these mounds were apparently ignored for so long on a university campus is simply ridiculous. Unless, of course, the recent research on the LSU Mounds constitutes a “re-discovery”, as is the case of the Macusani-Corani artwork, and they simply did not need protection when students were more respectful. Still we believe that their 6,000 year old age is probably a new discovery. Maybe they should rename LSU as Hillbilly nursery school, since so many are only concerned with rolling on the mounds as hills. The world has enough half a rear-end, so-called “universities”, as it is. See especially the link below, which shows pictures of people using the signs saying to “Please do not slide on the mounds” and “Help preserve the mounds” to slide down the mounds! #*#*#*’s! These appear totally selfish university age brats with no respect for anyone or anything. We wonder if LSU manages to keep them from climbing the fences, however. Being a spoiled brat has no age limit these days, it seems. They need to be sent back to nursery school to learn some common decency. Guess they are good canditates for working for some mining companies. See: http://www.nativevillage.org/Archives/2010%20News%20Archives/November%202010%20News/Indian%20Mounds%20Ropes%20Removed%20Saturday%20Before%20Game.htm
Nonetheless, since LSU finally seems to have fenced off the Mounds with a permanent fence sometime between November 2010 and December 2012, we must say: better late than never. We would be interested in seeing how this was finally achieved: Did someone take legal action or threaten to?
In the framework of the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage what is the Definition of Cultural Heritage, as it relates to the Corani Artwork and LSU Mounds? Article 1 says: “For the purposes of this Convention, the following shall be considered as ‘cultural heritage’:
monuments: architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science;
groups of buildings: groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science;
sites: works of man or the combined works of nature and man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view.” The Corani-Macusani Artwork can clearly fall under the first and possibly the third and the LSU Mounds can fall under all of the three, if you consider them part of a larger regional mound complex.
As for the Quelccaya Icecap, it is clearly “Natural Heritage”, as defined in Article 2:
“For the purposes of this Convention, the following shall be considered as ‘natural heritage’:
natural features consisting of physical and biological formations or groups of such formations, which are of outstanding universal value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view;
geological and physiographical formations and precisely delineated areas which constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation;
natural sites or precisely delineated natural areas of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty.”
Furthermore, in Article 4, it says “Each State Party to this Convention recognizes that the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage referred to in Articles 1 and 2 and situated on its territory, belongs primarily to that State. It will do all it can to this end, to the utmost of its own resources and, where appropriate, with any international assistance and co-operation, in particular, financial, artistic, scientific and technical, which it may be able to obtain.”
A primary reason given for this UNESCO Convention is
“Considering that deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world…” http://whc.unesco.org/en/conventiontext/
So, the proposed uranium and other mining near Macusani-Corani, will cause, among other things “a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of hte world…” The Macusani-Corani area needs to be out of bounds for the Mining Companies.
That mining is even considered in the Macusani-Corani area proves that there is, indeed, no bounds to human stupidity:
“Three monkies sat in a coconut tree, discussing things as they’re said to be, said one to the others: ‘Now listen you two, there’s a certain rumor that can’t be true, that man descended from our noble race, the very idea’s a disgrace!” (by anonymous).
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
NATIONAL CULTURAL PATRIMONY LAW OF PERU, LAW 28296
Reading the National Cultural Patrimony Law and understanding that Peru declared the Macusani-Corani rock art as part of that Cultural Patrimony in 2005, we remain perplexed: It is clear upon a reading of the law that there is no place for mining in the Macusani-Corani area, on the contrary, it is the legal duty of the local and national governments and the property owners to protect it. From our understanding, for not doing so, there can be legal penalties, including possibly criminal ones. How can a country so blatantly violate its own laws, as well as treaties? It seems to happen elsewhere too.
The original Law number 28296, General Law on National Cultural Heritage (in Spanish) is found at this Peruvian government link: http://www.agn.gob.pe/portal/pdf/legislacion/PPD/Ley_No_28296.pdf Some important points of the law include: The object of the law itself: “Artículo I.- Objeto de la Ley La presente Ley establece políticas nacionales de defensa, protección, promoción, propiedad y régimen legal y el destino de los bienes que constituyen el Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación.” Translated roughly: The purpose of the present law is to establish national policies for the defense, the protection, promotion, ownership and legal status, and the fate of the properties which constitute Cultural Patrimony of the Nation (National Cultural Patrimony).
Notice that the above says that the purpose is to defend, protect and promote the properties which are part of the National Cultural Patrimony. It does not say that the purpose is to let them be destroyed, and the area turned into an open pit mine! It also says promote. Even if the Rock Art did not exactly overlap the mining, as it apparently does, what tourists would come to visit the rock art with radioactive dust, noise and general mining pollution? A new highway to Macusani was recently finished. It can be used to promote eco-tourism and not mining!
Grounds for becoming part of National Cultural Patrimony, which we have already established that the Macusani-Corani rock art has been part of since 2005, are as follows: “Artículo II.- Definición Se entiende por bien integrante del Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación toda manifestación del quehacer humano -material o inmaterial- que por su importancia, valor y significado paleontológico, arqueológico, arquitectónico, histórico, artístico, militar, social, antropológico, tradicional, religioso, etnológico, científico, tecnológico o intelectual, sea expresamente declarado como tal o sobre el que exista la presunción legal de serlo. Dichos bienes tienen la condición de propiedad pública o privada con las limitaciones que establece la presente Ley.” Translated roughly: Definition: Understood to constitute National Cultural Patrimony are all manifestations of human activity, tangible or intangible, which because of their importance, value and paleontological, archaeological, architectural, historical, artistic, military, social, anthropological, traditional, religious, ethnological, scientific, technological or intellectual significance, are expressly declared as such or about which there is a legal presumption of their being such. The said properties have the status of public or private property within the limits established by the law.
Now the following article appears very important. From our understanding it would mean that even if Peru had not declared the Macusani-Corani Rock art site as National Cultural Patrimony in 2005, it would still be presumed to have this status (the legal presumption mentioned above): “Artículo III.- Presunción legal Se presume que tienen la condición de bienes integrantes del Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación, los bienes materiales o inmateriales, de la época prehispánica, virreinal y republicana, independientemente de su condición de propiedad pública o privada, que tengan la importancia, el valor y significado referidos en el artículo precedente y/o que se encuentren comprendidos en los tratados y convenciones sobre la materia de los que el Perú sea parte. La presunción legal queda sin efecto por declaración expresa de la autoridad competente, de oficio o a solicitud de parte.” Translated roughtly: Legal Presumption: Those goods (properties), tangible or intangible, from the pre-Hispanic, colonial, and Republican periods are presumed to be classified as National Cultural Patrimony, regardless of whether they are public or private property, which have the importance, value and meaning referred to in the preceding article and/or which are included in treaties and conventions to which Peru is a party.
The above would seem to imply protection for the Quelccaya Icecap, if it does not have official protection.
As for the last sentence in Spanish, we are clueless. We don’t know if it means that legal presumption is not required if there has been a statement by the authorities, or if it constitutes a legal loophole whereby legal authorities can override legal presumption. We fear it is the latter. (Spanish is not one of our best languages and we have to depend on google and/or bing translators in conjunction with limited knowledge of Spanish, Latin and Italian and our experience as a French translator. Nonetheless we suspect that if this last sentence was in English or French we still would not understand it.) We also promised ourselves not to spend so much time on the legal aspects again and go back to the environmental and social points lest we end up needing to open yet another post on this topic, but here we go again with the legal stuff.
Friday, 17 May 2013
Although the first picture, above, says petroglyph, it seems a pictograph or painting. The Macusani-Corani area has almost 200 sites of pictographs and some petroglyphs, combined called petrographs or rock art. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_art
The Fall 2011 World Monuments Fund Newsletter said that “In May 2011, the Ministry of Culture of Peru signed the necessary resolution to create an official national heritage zone, protecting the Macusani and Corani petroglyphs from destruction and enabling continuing documentation of and research on these artistic treasures that provide great insight into the life of the region’s early inhabitants.” http://www.wmf.org/downloads/World-Monuments-Fund-Fall-2011-Newsletter.pdf
Earlier, we noted that more research had been done by a team, which indicated a more extensive zone of almost 200 sites. The above clarifies that the research was in conjunction with making it an offical National Heritage Zone, whose purpose is to PROTECT the Macusani and Corani rock art from DESTRUCTION. So, what gives? How come the mining companies are still there? Are they claiming to be grandfathered in?
We do not see how they could be grandfathered in, because there was an earlier law (ley) no 24047, from 1985 to 2004, which appears as or more clear than the current one (no 28296). It also should have protected the Quelccaya icecap, under “creations of nature”. Law no 24047 tells us: “ARTÍCULO 1º- El Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación está bajo el amparo del Estado y de la Comunidad Nacional cuyos miembros están en la obligación de cooperar a su conservación. /El Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación está constituido por los bienes culturales que son testimonio de creación humana, material o inmaterial, expresamente declarados como tales por su importancia artística, científica, histórica o técnica. Las creaciones de la naturaleza pueden ser objeto de igual declaración” Roughly translated: Article 1. – The Cultural Heritage of the Nation is under the protection of the State and National Community whose members are obliged to cooperate in their conservation./The National Cultural Heritage consists of cultural goods that testify to human creativity, material or immaterial, expressly declared as such due to their artistic, scientific, historical or technical importance. The creations of nature are subject to the same declaration.http://www.congreso.gob.pe/comisiones/1998/educacion/lpatri/cap1.htm
Article 2 elaborates: “ARTÍCULO 2º- Se presume que tienen la condición de bienes culturales, los bienes muebles e inmuebles de propiedad del Estado y de propiedad privada, de las épocas prehispánicas y virreynal, así como aquellos de la republicana que tengan la importancia indicada en el artículo anterior. Dichos bienes, cualquiera fuere su propietario, son los enumerados en los artículos 1º y 4º de Convenio UNESCO-1972 y artículos 1º y 2º del Convenio de San Salvador-1976./ La presunción se confirma por la declaración formal e individualización hecha a pedido del interesado por el órgano competente del Estado, respeto a su carácter cultural, y se extingue por la certificación por el mismo organismo en sentido contrario. /Sólo el Estado ejerce los derechos tuitivos originados por la presunción del bien cultural. Roughly translated: Article 2. – Are presumed to have the status of cultural property, moveable and immoveable property, whether owned by the state, or private property, of the pre-Hispanic and colonial periods, as well as those of the Republican period, having the importance indicated in the previous article. Such goods, regardless of ownership, are those listed in Articles 1 and 4 of the UNESCO Convention -1972, and Articles 1 and 2 of the Convention of San Salvador – 1976./ The presumption is confirmed by the formal declaration and individualization, made at the request of the interested party, by the competent body of the state, in respect to its cultural character, and ceases by the certification of the same body in the opposite direction./Only the State exercises tutelary rights arising from the presumption of cultural property (goods).
Article 2 tells us that a pre-Hispanic site, such as at Corani-Macusani, is, by definition, a cultural property. It refers back to UNESCO and OAS Conventions, for clarity. Article 3 explains that the purpose of the law is to establish rules regarding the protection, restoration, etc. of these sites. Digging up the sites is not protecting or restoring them! “ARTÍCULO 3º- Las disposiciones de la presente Ley establecen el régimen de derecho correspondiente a los bienes integrantes del Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación sin excepción, regulando lo relativo a su identificación, protección, investigación, restauración, mantenimiento, restitución y difusión de su conocimiento.” Article 3. – The provisions of this Act establish the rule of law relating to the properties comprising the Cultural Heritage of the Nation without exception, regulating relative to their identification, protection, research, restoration, maintenance, restitution and dissemination of knowledge.
SHALL WE FILL IN THE GRAND CANYON WITH CONCRETE?
We watch with concern as the Grand Canyon and its surrounding areas are endangered and encroached upon by uranium mining, despite its recognition as an official World Heritage Site, as well as a US National site. Along with its other, better known, attributes, Grand Canyon National Park “contains more than 2,600 documented prehistoric ruins, including evidence of Archaic cultures (the earliest known inhabitants), Cohonina Indians along the South Rim, and Anasazi Indians on both the South Rim, North Rim, and within the Inner Canyon. Hualapai and Havasupai Indians moved into the canyons at this time, where they remained undisturbed until the Anglo-Americans arrived in 1860. Archaeological remains show the adaptation of human societies to severe climate and physiographic environment.” http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/75
Is it protected or not? Protecting the Grand Canyon is currently, in 2013, an ongoing struggle. (see links in references)
With the Corani-Macusani Rock Art, we are not simply talking about encroaching upon and endangering the site. Because we are speaking of proposed open pit (open cast) surface mining over most of the area where the Rock Art exists, we are speaking of actually digging up the entire site!
The rock art is an integral part of the landscape of “rock forests” and caves. Hence, it cannot be moved, as we suspect that the mining companies will suggest. To do mining at Corani-Macusani, will not endanger but will destroy this site, even before it has been thoroughly studied and understood.
Doing mining at Corani-Macusani, is, from a world and Peruvian National Heritage perspective, the equivalent of filling in the Grand Canyon with concrete or asphalt. Rather than filling in, it will mean digging it up — destroying the site in its entirety.
And, if governments continue to ignore their own laws and international law regarding National and World Heritage Sites, then filling in the Grand Canyon will be next. Gee, maybe they can use the Grand Canyon to dump the radioactive waste and tailings, before they concrete it over and put housing. That scenario no longer appears far-fetched. But, at least there are plenty of people to fight that. Nonetheless, they appear unable to stop this encroachment.
Who will fight to help the Corani-Macusani Rock Art site? And the Quelccaya Glacier?
A QUICK GLIMPSE OF WHAT WILL BE LOST WITH MINING AT
The below video is a one minute and twenty second trailer for Paqocha (Alpaca) Raymi (Festivities), which appears either a documentary for the first annual Alpaca Festival or an advertisment for the festival. However, it shows the landscape, the Alpacas and a quick glimpse of some of the rock art.
Sunday, 19 May 2013
WHAT IS AND WHAT MAY BE
Take a look again at the video from Friday to see what will be lost.
This is what the future could hold if the Macusani-Corani mines are allowed to move forward:
(Rossing Open Pit Uranium Mine near Arandis, Namibia, by Ikiwaner, Creative Commons, via Wikimedia)
AND WHAT’S THE POINT FOR LOW-LOW-GRADE ORE?
Although we believe that all uranium mining is bad, mining ultra low grade on the Macusani-Corani Plateau makes this project even more ridiculous. This project has nothing but downsides. When they speak of resource size they are speaking of the over 900 km2 which they plan to dig up! That is over 222,395 acres, 90,000 hectares, or over 348 square miles. One acre is a lot; one hectare is more. This is 222,395 acres and 90,000 ha. Their Corachapi Project is the only one with an NI 43-101 “Measured Resource” and 77% of the ore is at 42 ppm (parts per million) uranium. The ppm uranium appear comparable to average volcanic rock or byproducts to copper mining.
Average uranium concentrations in ores, rocks and waters, are given in ppm: a High-grade orebody (>2% Uranium) is >20,000 ppm; a Low-grade orebody(0.1% U) is 1,000 ppm; Average Granite is 4 ppm uranium (i.e. 0.0004%); Average Volcanic rock is 20 ppm to 200 ppm (i.e. 0.002%-0.02%); Average sedimentary rock is 2 ppm (i.e. 0.0002%); Average black shale is 50 – 250 ppm (0.005% to 0.025%); Average earth’s crust is 2.8 ppm; Seawater is 0.003, and Groundwater >0.001 – 8 ppm. http://geoinfo.nmt.edu/resources/uranium/where.html Note that “high grade”, 2% uranium (20,000 ppm) still means that 98% is waste and lower grades have even more waste. Uranium occurs at low concentrations (50–200 ppm) in many metalliferous (metal bearing) deposits. In the past, it has been recovered as a by-product of processing of copper ores at Palabora (South Africa), Bingham Canyon (USA) and the Singbhum district (India). http://www pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/te_1629_web.pdf (p. 66)
To get some sense of comparison for ppm for uranium ore:
In Canada ore is 7,900 ppm to 160,000 ppm; Niger, 700 to 4,000 ppm; Australia, 500 to 1,700 ppm; Kazakstan, 320 to 1,670 ppm; and Namibia 110 ppm to 500 ppm http://namibiauraniuminstitute.com/joomla/pdf/2012/mining-in-parks.pdf
The lowest grade uranium mines appear to be the mines in Namibia (e.g Rio Tinto’s Rossing). If they are not the lowest, they are among the lowest. The Rossing (Arandis) mine, pictured above, is the one which Margaret Thatcher famously made a statement in front of on April 1, 1989. When asked “What do you say to those people who say that this mine here is a typical example of the rape and pillage of South West Africa?”, she replied “Nonsense!” http://www. margaretthatcher. org/document/107624 She is alleged to have said that it made her “Proud to be British”, but we cannot find an original news source for it.
The Macusani Yellowcake web site gives NI 43-101 estimates for their exploration projects in the Corani-Macusani area. Corachapi is the only one with “measured resources” and it has 19,281,000 tonnes of ore at 42 ppm uranium; 3,809,000 tonnes at 76 ppm; 1,031,000 tonnes at 120 ppm, 463,000 tonnes at 162 ppm, 276,000 tonnes at 197 ppm, and 150,000 tonnes at 245 ppm. This means that 77 percent is only at 42 ppm, which is below some of the byproduct mines, and at the lower end for volcanic rock. It is substantially below Namibia’s lowest mines of 110 ppm. In fact, only 10% is over 100 ppm for the Corachapi measured resource.
Under Canadian (CIM) standards, which Macusani Yellowcake must adhere to, Mineral Resources are divided into three types. The lowest level of confidence is “Inferred Mineral Resource”. The next to lowest level is “Indicated Mineral Resource” followed by “Measured Mineral Resource”. After that come the highest levels of confidence which are reserves: “Probable Mineral Reserves” and “Proven Mineral Reserves”. These are not recognized by US standards, because feasiblity studies are required by US standards in order to declare a reserve. http://web.cim.org/standards/MenuPage.cfm?sections=185,188&menu=202 http://web.cim.org/UserFiles/File/CIM_DEFINITON_STANDARDS_Nov_2010.pdf
For the Colibri 2 and 3 Project, Macusani Yellowcake claims an NI 43-101 indicated resource estimate with 62,190,000 tonnes ranging from 111 ppm to 393 ppm, of which 39% are 111 ppm, 10% are 283 ppm, and 6% are 393 ppm. (24,455,000 tonnes at 111 ppm, 13,185,000 tonnes at 176 ppm, 9,173,000 tonnes at 227 ppm and 6,549,000 tonnes at 283 ppm, 4,941,000 at 338 ppm and 3,887,000 tonnes at 393 ppm). For the Kihitian Project, Chilcuno Chico, they claim indicated resources at 571 ppm and 436 ppm inferred resources. (See the Macusani Yellowcake website). Note that Macusani Yellowcake’s Peruvian subsidiary is Global Gold, SAC.
Wednesday 22 May 2013
A STRANGE THING
Nash(2010) in his work on Volcanogenic Uranium, notes some things which appear strange to us, about the Macusani area uranium prospects. He states that IAEA consultants, who studied it in the mid-1980s, “gave it high praise”. However, he adds that no drilling was done at that time. He says that in 2008 the IAEA had it listed as an inferred resource of 0.1-0.2 percent Uranium (0.12 to 0.24 percent U3O8), that is 1,000 to 2,000 ppm. That is significantly higher, than the amounts reported by Macusani Yellowcake. Nash (2010) states that press releases from 2007 to 2009 reported a 0.01 to 0.07 percent U3O8 range (100 to 700 ppm U3O8 or 85 ppm to 594 ppm U). He points out that exploration concessions have been won by Canadian firms, including Cameco (one of the largest uranium companies-producers in the world). (see Nash (2010), p. 14 in references)
How did we overlook that? Cameco is joint venture partner with Vena Resources. The Peruvian subsidiary is Minergia SAC, which has Cameco funding and Vena operating. Cameco has the possibility of earning-in from 50 to 70 percent. While Vena Resources is worth about 14 cents, Cameco was up in value today by 72 cents to $22.29. Cameco became partner with Vena in September 2007. Minergia holds uranium claims covering 40,000 ha (400km2) in three regions of Puno (Macusani area) and Moquegua (478 km south of Macusani). Given that the Rock Art had been National Cultural Patrimony since 2005, a major player like Cameco should know better!
Importantly, Nash (2010) points out that press releases provide information, that may be helpful, but which is neither verifiable nor peer reviewed. He states that “However, petrologists undertook studies of the highly fractionated Macusani volcanics (Pichavant and others, 1988; Cuney and others, 1992) that are somewhat more fractionated than topaz rhyolites… The behavior of U in the Macusani volcanics was studied in detail and found to be higher in concentration (20 or more ppm U) but somewhat less leachable than the U in the vapor-phase altered Pena Blanca volcanics (Leroy and George-Aniel, 1992)”. Then he goes on to say that the “new exploration information suggests that this district is indeed well endowed with uranium and the challenge now is to find higher grades of mineralization. Many intercepts reported in press releases (2007-2009) are in the 0.01 to 0.07 percent U3O8 range, but some are above 0.2 percent.” (Nash (2010, p. 14) For ppm uranium this is 85ppm to 584ppm and 1,700 ppm or higher. So, which is it? 42ppm uranium, discussed last week? 85 ppm? 584 ppm? Or, 1,700 ppm or higher? Why this disparity in evaluation? Did the earlier IAEA researchers make an error? The Uranium grades currently listed by the IAEA for Peru, which have been updated since 2010 show lower grades. Those last updated in 2010 have higher grades, in some instances. It seems that if there was an illegal underground (or surface) uranium mine that it would have been noticed and commented on in Peru. Truly strange. In their NI 43-101 Technical Report from 2010, Minergia (Vena-Cameco) claims indicated or inferred grades ranging from 82 ppm uranium to 258 ppm uranium (96.16 ppm U308 to 304.36 ppm U308).
Friday, 24 May 2013
STRANGE ALLEGATIONS REGARDING A RELATED COMPANY: MINERA COLIBRI
The current CEO (since Aug. 1, 2012), President and Director of Macusani Yellowcake is Dr. Laurence Stefan. He is a founder of Macusani Yellowcake and has served as its managing director in Peru since October, 2007. Laurence Stefan is the founder of the Colibri Group of Companies (Minera Colibri), a mineral service company based in Lima, Peru. He has worked at Gold Fields of South Africa and JCI Ltd. and was involved in uranium research for various golduranium mines along the Witwatersrand basin in South Africa and Namibia http://www.macroaxis.com/invest/manager/YEL.V–Laurence_Stefan The Colibri Group is why several of the Macusani Yellowcake Concessions carry the name Colibri, which means hummingbird in Spanish (German is Kolibri, which was Hitler’s code word for “The Night of Long Knives”).
It appears that suspicions and strange allegations have swirled around Minera Colibri off and on for several years. The outcome is unknown, and, apparently Mineral Colibri denies any wrong doing. Even if, through additional research, we were to find the legal outcome, we will never know for certain the truth. However, in our minds, anyone involved in uranium mining is so lacking in ethics, that any other bad things are also possible. Information on this topic seems conspicuously lacking, but we offer what we can find. Perhaps it will allow others to fill in the gaps.
We start with a video (in Spanish), which is supposed to be an April 22, 2009 inspection of a Minera Colibri (Group) Plant, by a prosecutor, due to allegations of Minera Colibri receiving gold stolen from the Minera Santiago 3 and/or Minera Titan property. This video is hard or even impossible to understand due wind on the speaker, but you can see Minera Colibri on the gate
Other allegations were put forth in La Republica newspaper on March 25, 2012, in an article entitled: “Plantas acopiadoras de oro en Chala son claves en la cadena de minería informal”[Plants gathering gold in Chala are key to the chain of informal mining] by Carlos Herrera. “Informal mining”, part of the “informal sector”, means that it is unregulated and often illegal, i.e. “working under the table”. In the article Herrera states that while on paper Colibri and other companies buy and sell gold, some of them hold concessions where informal miners work. The article is about informal mining in the province Arequipa in Caravelí, but could be anywhere, especially since the new highway, which passes by Macusani, was finished. Herrera explains that informal mining in the province of Arequipa in Caraveli is not comprised simply of a group of miners who come to a hill and begin to dig for precious metals. Rather, the business is fueled by the concentrator plants located in the port of Chala. These companies are legal. The accusations are based on testimony from employees working in the mining tunnels and who spoke to La Republica newspaper. This newspaper also confirmed, through the Ministry of Energy and Mines, that six of these factories have mining concessions in the Sierra de Caraveli, but have not yet been given their exploitation permits. The Chala plants, including Colibri, operate as buyers of gold or processors of the raw material extracted from the tunnels or tailings process. Using mercury small “informal” miners recover only about 50% and the remainder must be recovered by cyanidation done by the plants. Informal and artisanal miners admit to being exploited by these companies. They say that they go up to the mountain to work in groups, where the mineral is located. An informal miner, from Aguadita en Chala-Caraveli, who wished to remain anonymous to avoid reprisals, claims that “All hills have owners”. They go in the tunnels to mine for 30 to 45 days. Employees who work for the plants [in Chala] allegedly deliver the raw material. After huge deductions the miners are paid. The miner said that the plants who are the owners or others charge a percentage of what they extract. According to the interview the companies Laytaruma, Colibrí, Españolita, among others, are involved in these transactions. http://www.larepublica.pe/25-03-2012/plantas-acopiadoras-de-oro-en-chala-son-claves-en-la-cadena-de-mineria-informal
Sunday, 26 May 2013
Before continuing with the article from La Republica newspaper, it seems important to point out that not only is there a recently finished interoceanic highway passing through Macusani, but also, there are many historic underground metallic mines (they seem mostly silver and/or lead) in the area of Macusani-Corani. Some apparently go back as far back as Spanish times. Documentation for these old mines was made in 1959 for a USAID 1959 “development” plan for the south of Peru See: http://minerals.livescience.com/ (search for Corani, Macusani, Macusani Yellowcake)
According to Macusani Yellowcake, Inc.’s Annual Information form for the year ended September 30, 2010, the Colibri II Mining Concession (No 01-00889-05 of 600ha) was granted on July 27, 2005 to Colibri Mining North S.A.C. and transferred to Global Gold S.A.C. [Macusani Yellowcake’s Peruvian subsidiary] on June 26, 2007. Colibri III Mining Concession (No 01-01218-05 of 100ha) was granted to Ulises Raul Solis LLapa on May 16, 2006 and transferred to Global Gold on August 28, 2007. It is stated that both Colibri Mining Concessions are good for all solid minerals. This would mean that they can explore for things other than uranium. Thus, they allege to have held Colibri II for almost 8 years (we have not verified these claims), whereas they are still in the exploration stage. In Queensland Australia the length of exploration permits is 5 years though they may be shortened or renewed. Make note, not only of Laurence Stefan, CEO of Macusani Yellowcake, but also this Ulises Raul Solis Llapa for he is general manager of Minera Corani and we will return to both him and Laurence Stefan.
Returning to La Republica newspaper story:
The miner interviewed by La Republica newspaper, further alleged that companies such as Colibri, Laytarum, Españolita, and others have well-known agents, who have as their mission, finding the wandering informal miner, who is looking for a vein of ore. They convince them to work on the company’s mining concessions, and impose the conditions. The miners are paid by the piece (quantity), but the plants take a larger cut, including deductions for nonexistent costs. There are deductions of 5 to 10% for operating on the concession; 15% for security to avoid invasions of the working zones; costs for transporting ore to the factory. Added are costs for the lab tests and chemicals used. He alleged that they are charged another “nonexistant” fee: 1.5% for exploitation permits, money which large miners pay to municipal or regional governments but which informal miners are not required to pay. There are 23 plants dedicated to collecting, buying and selling gold in Chala. Amongst the largest is Colibrí (along with Titan Mining Peru, Laytaruma, Pacifico, Analytica, Españolita, Benedición de Dios, Jerusalén, and others). Furthermore, according to La Republica, the regional director of Peru’s Bureau of Energy and Mines, Alberto Butrón Fernández, admitted that these Arequipa processing plants [this would apparently include Colibri] favor informal mining by letting the miners work their concessions without [formal] exploitation contracts, only oral ones. He affirmed that based on this system the companies obtain extraordinary profits. They do not have these workers on the pay-rolls, which also means that they pay neither for health insurance or nor into pension funds. Neither do they have to place at the disposition of the informal workers machines (lamps, pics, compressors, drills) or inputs like dynamite and mercury. Everything functions according to the informal economy. Importantly it is noted that holding a mining concession on a specific territory does not signify permission to exploit and that the approval of an environmental impact study is crucial. For small mining concessions of an area of two thousand hectares [is this a typo? If not, this is surely A huge part of the problem because there is nothing small about 2,000 ha!], regional governments give the authorization. The article says that La Republica newspaper tried to talk to the owners of the companies in Chala, but were unable. The workers, which they spoke with, said that it was untrue that these companies abuse the miners. They indicated that they simply buy ore based on the international price. http://www.larepublica.pe/25-03-2012/plantas-acopiadoras-de-oro-en-chala-son-claves-en-la-cadena-de-mineria-informal
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Although the processing plants deny abuses, the regional manager of energy and mines, Alberto Fernández Butrón, pointed out that exploitation in this informal mining sector is undeniable. The municipal Manager of the commune of Chala, Alberto Aquije, indicated that it is true that the plants abuse the miners, but also alleged that they evade their administrative responsibilities, as well. Only one of the 23 processing plants have licenses to operate from the local authority. Aquije says that one cannot just focus on the small miner, but that you have to see who is behind it. http://www.larepublica.pe/25-03-2012/plantas-acopiadoras-de-oro-en-chala-son-claves-en-la-cadena-de-mineria-informal Unfortunately, it does not say which one of the twenty-three has a license.
That was in March of 2012. Going back to April of 2010, we find that the Peruvian government (La Sunat, National Adm. of Internal Tax Revenues) said that they investigated seven processing plants and that four stood accused of buying gold from the informal sector. However, they would not specify who they were, but indicated that some could count on the help of foreigners. They were investigated because the amount of gold exported from Peru does not match that which appears in financial statements. It was realized that the informal sector required an intermediary in order to export the gold. http://gestion.pe/noticia/460672/sunat-acusara-cuatro-mineras-comprar-oro-informales It would seem that this was the 2009 raid, which was seen on the video.
Since the above suspicions or accusations still fall under the category of hearsay, is there anything official which can be dug up? In January of 2005 Minera Colibri Doble D and Minera Colibri Korijaqui were both fined for Noncompliance with Environmental Standards (Incumplimiento Normas de Medio Ambiente). In the case of Korijaqui, the status was pending, but it was stated that there was Failure to Comply with Recommendations of the 2002 Report. January 2005 is seven months before they allege to have received the concessions near Macusani. For the Minera Colibri Doble D, the status is given as “Anulada por Consejo de Mine”. This means that it was cancelled by the Council of Mines. However, while it seems like the fine was cancelled, it could be that the operating permit was cancelled. Regardless, there must be a reason that they were initially fined for Noncompliance. This is not the type of people that one wants responsible for uranium mining, especially in an environment as delicate as Macusani-Corani. http://intranet2.minem.gob.pe/web/archivos/dgm/publicaciones/comunicaciones/SANCIONES_2005.pdf
Friday, 31 May 2013
CONCERNS REGARDING CAMECO
We take a brief pause from picking on Macusani Yellowcake-Minera Colibri and turn to Cameco. As we already remarked, Cameco is a joint venture partner with Vena Resources in Minergia, SAC. So, if these uranium Macusani-Corani mines look worthwhile, there is a good chance that Cameco will own some or all in the end. Hence, it is important to take notice that on April 11, 2008, the CBC reported that the State of Wyoming had environmental concerns about the Cameco run Smith Ranch-Highland mine near Douglas, Wyoming, reportedly the largest active mine in the US. This mine had about 80 spills and a Wyoming Department of Enviromental Quality (DEQ) official said that he wanted the problem fixed immediately. Cameco alleged that the spills were not dangerous, but the DEQ official said that some of the spills contained contaminated production fluids having uranium, radium, selenium. Additionally, Cameco was behind cleaning up parts of the mine. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2008/04/11/cameco-wyoming.html On May 22, 2008, Ian Austen reported in a New York Times article entitled “Uranium Producer Warns of Lake Ontario Pollution” that “Cameco, the world’s largest uranium producer, has told the Canadian nuclear regulator that its refinery might have leaked uranium, arsenic and fluorides into Lake Ontario.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/22/business/worldbusiness/22pollute.html?_r=0 According to the Northern Miner, April 16, 1990, in February of 1990, Cameco was charged with a spill of contaminants leading to contaminated water in Saskatchewan. These are just a few things we found in a quick search. One can only imagine how much might be dug up in a detailed search. Some more recent things about Cameco are at http://www.wise-uranium.org/umopcdn.html
On Thursday, May 30, 2013, Ann Coxworth published an article: “Uranium mining legacy expensive” in the Star Phoenix newspaper. She notes that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission recently reviewed plans for continuing management [by Cameco] of some of the contaminated sites in northern Saskatchewan, which remain from uranium mining activities in the 1960s and 1970s. She reminds us that because the companies who caused the pollution no longer exist the cost falls upon the taxpayers. www. the star phoenix. com /Uranium+mining+legacy+expensive/ 845 3403/ story.html This appears to almost always occur and is the reason we remain especially skeptical of small companies which can more easily declare bankruptcy to get out from under responsibility for pollution. It also shows the importance of adequate remediation bonding. Ann Coxworth explains that for much of their operating lifetime, the mines and mills were poorly regulated and left behind scattered tailings, waste rock piles, small lakes which had been used as tailings dump sites, and contaminated water-sheds. In April Cameco applied for a 10 year extension of its license to manage these sites. She says that the plan would leave unacceptably high levels of contamination in five watersheds, and that reflects both the technical challenges and the extraordinarily high cost. http://www. thestarphoenix.com /Uranium+mining+legacy+expensive /845 3403/story.html
We find several things interesting here. If the US and Canada have been unwilling or unable to adequately clean up historic uranium mining areas or to prevent new uranium pollution problems, why do we believe that things will be better in Peru? Additionally we find it striking that in 2008 the Wyoming DEQ complained that Cameco was behind in cleaning up parts of the mine. And, in 2013 Cameco demanded a 10 year extension of its contract to manage old uranium sites in Saskatchewan. This makes them appear unreliable and generally not serious. It looks like foot-dragging. Cameco is one of the largest uranium mining companies in the world. On Thursday, May 30, their stock was trading at $22.14 on the NYSE. According to Forbes .com, Cameco CEO Timothy Gitzel is 49 years old and, in 2011, had a salary of $807,000 and a total compensation of $6,651,250. http:// www. forbes. com/ profile /timothy-gitzel/ If a company as big and wealthy as Cameco is either unwilling or unable to do uranium mining or clean-up correctly then it seems highly improbable, yea impossible, that they or anyone else will in the future. See also: http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/30/colorado-orders-cleanup-of-zombie-uranium-mines/
Sunday, 2 June 2013
Dealing with a major corporation, such as Cameco, is also no guarantee of finding an entity to be held liable for any enviromental damage. Even a similarly major US corporation, Kerr-McGee, has appeared able to get out from under environmental liabilities within the US itself. Kerr-McGee spun itself off into a more profitable oil and gas division, purchased by Anadarko, and a less profitable chemical division, Tronox, hence ceasing to exist. It has been alleged that this was to get out from under environmental liability. Whatever the intent, this seems to have been the effective result. Unable to deal with the burden of over 70 years of Kerr-McGee environmental liabilities, including 49 former uranium mines in or near the Navajo Nation, and various creosote sites, Tronox filed for bankruptcy in US Bankruptcy Court (Southern District of New York) in 2009. In this context, Tronox filed a complaint against Anadarko and Kerr-McGee, apparently for alleged fraudulent behavior. The U.S. Department of Justice intervened, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in an attempt to recover costs for environmental cleanups at numerous Kerr-McGee sites around the country. The EPA will get 88 percent of Tronox’s interest in anything which can be recovered from Anadarko. http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/cleanup/cercla/tronox/index.html http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/cleanup/cercla/tronox/community.html [see many additional interesting links in references]
This update was short due to technical difficulties.
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
A courageous Swedish journalist, Fredrik Luberg, and photojournalist Mattias Rubin, traveled to Saskatchewan, Canada, home of Cameco, and produced an excellent four part investigative series: “The Origin of Nuclear Power”, which can be read at this link: http://www.fredrikloberg.se/karnkraftens_%20ursprung.htm Not surprisingly, what they describe might be called a “company town”, but since Saskatchewan is a province, it might be renamed “Cameco Province”. However, opposition persists. One would think that they would give up and evacuate, like Chernobyl. But, it’s not always so easy for people to move. If the nuclear industry and uranium mining companies continue to get their way, there will be no place left in the world to evacuate to anyway.
Part 1 of the Luberg-Rubin series, includes an interview and photos of an 88 year “indigenous” First Nations lady who tells, among other things, of having to move; loss of their traditional way of life, and of illnesses, all due to uranium mining. In Part 2 they recount that during a 14 hour drive north from Saskatoon they met 20 trucks loaded with uranium powder from giant mines in the north of Saskatchewan. Road signs between Saskatoon and northern Saskatchewan warned of large trucks, in particular those carrying large quantities of uranium from mining areas. Many of these trucks continue thousands of kilometers to the Province of Ontario. http://www.fredrikloberg.se/karnkraftens_%20ursprung.htm One can but shiver imagining the risks associated with an accident by one of these trucks, either in Canada, or on the new Peruvian interoceanic highway, which uranium trucks from Macusani-Corani would use. The treacherous nature of this highway for trucks has been remarked. Mhairi Roberts, on 3 August 2011, describes this highway in the Argentina Independent article, “Interoceanic Highway, Road to Ruin”: “Winding bends, steep inclines and sharp descents, combined with unpredictable weather, remain a challenge for drivers of large vehicles.” http://www.argentinaindependent.com/currentaffairs/newsfromargentina/interoceanic-highway-road-to-ruin/ See photo here: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2011/0625/Peru-s-new-highway-to-the-future
We remind the reader that not only is uranium radioactive, but it is also pyrophoric in nature, that is, capable of spontaneous ignition. In 1980, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a notice dealing with this for transportation: “From time to time NRC has received reports of transportation incidents involving shipment of uranium in a pyrophoric form (capable of spontaneous ignition). These forms generally include finely divided metallic saw turnings and chips, sawdust, and abrasive saw sludge…/Fires resulting are extremely difficult to extinguish …. Further, such fires also create an inhalation hazard due to the disperson of airborne uranium as particulate matter.” http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/info-notices/1980/in80025.html Links to information on uranium transport are: http://www.wise-uranium.org/utiss.html http://www.wise-uranium.org/etiss.html, including about commenting thru July 30, 2013 on proposed new US rules.
As we had suspected, Loberg and Rubin found that Cameco is “a very important sponsor of the university in Saskatoon”. A cursory search on internet shows that they have indeed, given millions to the University, including “$100,000 to the Chair in Environmental Toxicology”, as part of a $3 million donation from Cameco in 2006. The University built “Cameco Plaza” in honor of the donation. http:// announcements .usask.ca /news/ archive /2006 /09/ u_of_s_celebrat.html. You may recall that we wondered if perhaps Dale J. Schultz, who did uranium prospecting research in the Macusani area, got a slanted education at U. of Saskatchewan, and might not be thoroughly aware of the dangers of uranium for himself or others. These donations and faculty research grants give the uranium industry an important ideological edge. (For more details of Cameco influence at U. of Saskatchewan see: http://ussword.blogspot.ca)
Loberg’s investigation also pointed to the importance of Cameco’s donations to Medical Centers. Following this clue, we found that according to the May 29, 2008 newspaper “The Leader Post”, Cameco gave St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, $1.5 million for two new nuclear medicine tools and renovations, including $1.1 million for a nuclear gamma camera, which can assess kidney function and diagnose bone infections and cancer. [Some of you may suspect that this can also be used to evaluate contamination by radioactive isotopes and you would be right. http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/clinicians/evaluation/pdf/Instructions.pdf ] After receiving the donations, St. Paul’s renamed its dialysis center the Cameco Community Renal Health Centre. Cameco also gave $50,000 to the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital Foundation to buy kidney dialysis machines for their satellite clinic. The Star Phoenix newspaper, on 16 June 2007, in their article “Renal centre to offer hospital alternative: The opening of a community renal health centre across from St. Paul’s Hospital means a growing number of patients needing dialysis will have an alternative to hospitals.” talks about the importance of this $1 million center. Half of the patients are diabetic. But what about the other half? The newspaper doesn’t tell us that nor why there is “a growing number of patients needing [kidney] dialysis”. However, the kidney is one of the primary organs attacked by uranium. Additionally, uranium can cause pancreatic cancer, and diabetes may precede a pancreatic cancer diagnosis by months or years. Loberg interviewed Stephanie Sydiaha who said that it upset her tremendously that even a hospital can not be operated with public funds, but allows itself to be bought by these companies and that “It’s frightening”, the uranium industry and these companies have caused so much trouble. On BBC International News, early morning, 3 June 2013, UTC, it was remarked that Indigenous Australian people are more likely to die at a young age due to kidney, heart or respiratory disease. We must wonder if this has to do with uranium mining in Australia? We have always heard arguments of indigenous people’s health problems stemming from dietary changes (e.g. salt and sugar) rather than uranium. We now see that comment with new eyes. Students of the kidney know the intimate relationship between the kidney and the heart. Kidney damage can cause high blood pressure which damages the heart and vice versa. (See for instance: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15202610)
Thursday 6 June 2013
We think that Cameco should be giving back, but is throwing a few million here and there to the university and medical centers enough? Or, does it have more to do with ideological and social control? Consider that Cameco is currently in conflict with the Canadian government over tax avoidance or evasion. (Recall too that Minera Colibri was investigated by Peruvian authorities for possible tax irregularities.) According to CBC News (May 1, 2013), the Canadian Revenue Agency may issue a tax bill for up to $1.4 billion dollars in back taxes to Cameco, for the years 2003 to 2012. According to David Milstead of the Globe and Mail (May 1, 2013), Cameco has avoided paying taxes on $4.9 billion, meaning that they have saved $1.4 billion, over the last 10 years, by selling their uranium at 1999 prices to their subsidiary, Cameco Europe, located in Zug, Switzerland, and hence paying the lower tax rate for Switzerland rather than higher tax in Canada. If Cameco is avoiding taxes in their own country will they do better in Peru?
The millions donated are nothing compared to the $1.4 billion allegedly evaded. As well, with the millions donated, Cameco gets public relations perks, including buildings named for them and ideological and social control. The donations would be a tax write off too. These perks don’t come with paying their taxes. Nonetheless, the Med School of U. of Saskatchewan currently risks losing its accreditation (see cbc 22/3/12 in references),and the University of Saskatchewan has an operating budget deficit of $3.3 million for 2013-2014. Some of you will recall that Transocean, involved in the 2010 BP oil spill, who pled guilty and agreed to pay $1.4 billion for its role, was also headquartered in Zug (see 3/2013 nola.com in references). Zug being a tax-haven, for so many companies, has inflated housing costs there, meaning that many locals find it difficult or impossible to afford housing, according to RTS.
Saturday, 8 June 2013
Loberg found that in the village where the uranium was processed, a large number of people had gotten lung cancer. Furthermore, independent lab analyses (done in Germany) allowed all who were tested to learn that they had industrial uranium in their bodies. Not all had worked in the uranium industry. As Loberg observes, historic studies from Saskatchewan showed an abnormal number of uranium miners suffering from lung cancer (compared to the general population). However, he says that, according to the mining companies and the authorities, there is no evidence that people who currently work in the mines suffer at all. http://www.fredrikloberg.se/karnkraftens_%20ursprung.htm
A study on cancer in Eldorado Uranium (Beaver Lodge, Saskatchewan and elsewhere) employees was cofunded by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), and Cameco and AREVA, and coordinated by the CNSC. It found higher rates of lung cancer among uranium miners (618 deaths from 1950-99). It is alleged that currently there is much lower radon exposure, due to better mine ventilation, and hence should be less lung cancer (see 3 articles in references). Nonetheless, as we have discussed at length, this is not the only danger of uranium mining. Additionally, it usually takes decades for the cancer to show, and as we have seen, Cameco potentially influences the medical sector and even the above study, by providing funding!
Loberg further points to a lack of basic health studies of current workers in the mines and of people living in the areas. [Obviously if you don’t look, you don’t find!] According to Loberg, Kevin Scissons, head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in Saskatoon, stated that “the mineworking has no negative environmental impact at all on communities in northern Saskatchewan.” When Loberg spoke with Jim Penna and Eleanor Knight of the Inter-Church Uranium Committee, in Saskatoon, they expressed concerns that neither Kevin Scissons nor the CNSC nor Health Canada were doing their job. Penna pointed out that there will always be a big problem of how to take care of all waste safely after the mining, due to the extremely long half-life of uranium substances, and that the companies still have not found a technique that works to take care of the material safely. Penna said that there were many examples of leaks from waste sites, and that the CNSC close their eyes and do not properly punish the companies. Knight pointed to a scandalous lack of basic health studies of current workers in the mines and of people living in these areas. They mentioned examples of leaking contaminated materials, in Saskatchewan, which came to light long after the uranium mining stopped; the most large-scale leak at the Gunnar Mine was discovered in northern Saskatchewan in the early 1990s. They state that there was a large leak of radioactive material from old abandoned barrles into Lake Athabasca. And, the big question is how all waste from [uranium] mining can be stored safely. Only several decades after a mine is closed does it become possible to say whether the companies succeeded in safely storing waste [NB: it can be longer]. Peter Prebble of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society pointed out that if they fail, and if it is leaking into groundwater, there is a risk of incalculable problems. Because there is a lot of money, a lot of energy and many jobs at stake in the nuclear industry, Jim Penna thinks that authorities in uranium mining countries have difficulty examining the environmental and health impacts in a serious manner. He believes that what is now needed is external pressure, from the UN, for example. They point out that [pernicious] impacts of uranium mining on the lives of First Nations indigenous people have been described in Magnus Isacsson’s 1990 film “Uranium” and in Lorraine Rekmans’ book “This is My Homeland”. Rekmans’ father worked in underground uranium mines and died of cancer. http://www.fredrikloberg.se/karnkraftens_%20ursprung.htm For more details re Lake Athabasca and the Gunnar Mine see: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2007/04/03/uranium-mines.html More re Cameco problems see: http://www.porthopehistory.com/nucleargenocide/nucleargenocide7.htm
Elsewhere we have noted that the danger of uranium mining for the lungs has been known for centuries; that it has been proven to cause lung cancer for over one hundred years, and the dangers of ionizing radiation have been known for about 100 years. According to Rekmans’ (2003) “This Is My Homeland: Stories of the Effects of the Nuclear Industries”: In 1963, the United Steelworkers of America discovered that, despite knowledge of the high risks of cancer and other illnesses from radioactivity and chemical toxicity in the mining processes and from the waste tailings, neither mining companies, nor the federal or provincial governments gave the 10,000 workers or residents any protection or warning. Furthermore she points out ʺGood clear drinking water and fish habitat, wildlife, and plants have been destroyed for the benefit of a few people. Weapons producers, nuclear energy developers, and others have demonstrated no regard for the sanctity of an entire ecosystem. They have demonstrated total disrespect and disregard for an entire community of people who rely on this land to survive. They were privy to information about the known dangers of uranium before the mines were opened and did not share this knowledge with vulnerable and unsuspecting people.ʺ http://www.beyondnuclear.org/storage/Nuclear%20Genocide%20in%20Canada%20Part%201%20Elliot%20Lake.pdf Do we really imagine that things would be handled any better in Peru? And, will the risks of uranium mining be made clear to another “vulnerable and unsuspecting people” who lives in the Macusani-Corani area?
Unless acting by ignorance, those dealing in uranium mining will surely spend eternity in an open pit uranium mine (pyrophoric, of course!), but this won’t help the victims this side of eternity.
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
BACK TO MINERA COLIBRI
Minera Colibri, not only was charged with violating environmental regulations, at its Doble D and Korijaqui sites, but also has had multiple infractions of Security and Hygiene norms. For its Doble D site, they were fined 60 UTI (Unidad Impositiva Tributaria) in 2004 over 2003 violations. http://www.minem.gob.pe/minem/archivos/file/Mineria/CONSEJO%20DE%20MINERIA/JULIO.xls A 60 UTI fine corresponds to 6 to 30 nonfatal infractions (depending on if it is classified as a small company or not) or multiple infractions related to fatal accidents (no fatalities are listed). http://srvapp03.osinerg.gob.pe:8888/snl/normaPortalGeneral.htm?_formAction=viewFile&filename=1218-1285&tipoDoc=WORD
They were fined, yet again, in 2005, for still not complying with security and hygiene recommendations from the 2003 control, and review was denied. In 2005 they were also fined for Minera Colibri’s Korijaqui site for the second control in (or since?) 2003. Recall that they were cited at both sites for noncompliance with environmental norms, including failure to comply with recommendations of a 2002 report. http://intranet2.minem.gob.pe/web/archivos/dgm/publicaciones/comunicaciones/SANCIONES_2005.pdf Given this background of repetitive noncompliance with security and hygiene standards, as well as more than one citation for violations of environmental norms, by Minera Colibri, would anyone in their right minds trust the founder of this group, Laurence Stefan, who is also a founder of Macusani Yellowcake and now its President and CEO to do uranium mining?! Unfortunately, there are more allegations against Minera Colibri, which we feel we need to cover, before we open a new post.
Wednesday, 13 June 2013
According to an article by Alejandro Arteaga in La Primera newspaper of Peru, Saturday 26 November 2011 “Empresas que son una mina de oro”, a businessman named Pedro Livschitz accused Laurence Stefan, [current CEO of Macusani Yellowcake], and his Peruvian colleague, Ulises Raul Solis Llapa, of seizing his mine via legal tricks. They would have benefitted by up to $2 million. Over the course of 20 years, Livschitz and his brother created a company dedicated to the extraction and export of gold, thanks to a mine located in Arequipa. However, according to Livschitz, as though by magic, a South African [Laurence Stefan] and a Peruvian [Ulises Raul Solis Llapa] managed to seize it almost two years ago [i.e. Jan. 2010], earning a profit of approximately $2 million, despite the fact that the public prosecutor’s office had been ordered to investigate them. The accusations range from falsification of facts, crime against public faith and money laundering, but the allegations have had no apparent effect. Livschitz, mine owner and engineer, filed a complaint, first to the police and then to the public prosecutor. According to the complaint before the public prosecutor, Livschitz was the owner of the Erika mine, located in the province of Caravelí…in Arequipa until about 50 men invaded his property, looted gold and then forbade him entry. His company, La minera Erika, is located in the area of Chala in Arequipa, where in addition to the small-scale mining, there are groups that launder illegally obtained gold. Apparently this area, and others in the country, like Madre de Dios, are “worked” by organizations dedicated to buying gold and invading mines and buying explosives. According to the police at the Caraveli police station, the mine was raided and the use of explosives was observed, as well as firearms and theft of money (robo de dinero en efectivo). How is it that they were raided and they can continue as though nothing happened? The answer lies in a legal move, made by those investigated for money laundering, Ulises Raúl Solís Llapa and the South African Laurentiu Daniel Stefan [aka Laurence Stefan; aka Laurenco Stefan], who constituted the mining company Colibri, which held a general meeting of shareholders on January 18, 2010. (Alejandro Arteaga, La Primera 26 de noviembre de 2011)
The above allegations are pretty serious. Nonetheless, we have no reason to believe that a journalist would fabricate them. We need to pause, however, before continuing this story, and discuss what constitutes “money laundering” (Lavado de Activos) according to the Peruvian government. It is defined as the set of operations performed by one or more natural or legal persons, intended to conceal or disguise the illicit origin of goods or resources that come from criminal activities. The crime of money laundering is usually developed by conducting various operations, designed to cover up any trace of illicit origin of the resources (funds). On June 26, 2002, Peru enacted a Criminal Law against Money Laundering (Law No. 27765), which extends Money Laundering to other crimes such as illegal profit-generating sources. http://www.sbs.gob.pe/0/modulos/jer/jer_interna.aspx?are=0&pfl=2&jer=461 From our understanding, the allegations are not necessarily the first, “classical”, definition of money laundering, but may be only the extended definition of illegal profit-generation sources.
Laurence Stefan, 49 years old, CEO, President and Director of Macusani Yellowcake, since August 2012, is estimated to have a total compensation of $814,250, at Macusani Yellowcake, even though the stock is worth 8 cents, with a 52 week high of 18 cents.
Saturday, 15 June 2013
So, just what was the trick which was allegedly pulled by Stefan and Solis? According to Arteaga’s (2011) article, in the January 2010 meeting, the Colibri stockholders acquired the Lucila Maximiliana II mine, but according to the purchase document, this mine was 800 hectares, whereas, in reality, it was 233 hectares. Since the Erika mine is next to Maximiliana II, the total area indicated made it appear that Stefan and Solis were owners of both mines. Furthermore, the article says that, according to the General meeting of stockholders, Laurentiu [Laurence] Stefan owns 1% of the stocks of Minera Colibri SAC, and represents The Gold Leaf Trust and Adamastor Resources, companies with 73 and 25 percent, each, of the shares [from our understanding, these two companies own 73% and 25% respectively of the shares of Minera Colibri]. Arteaga says that the problem is that neither company exists legally according to the search results for business names in the National Public Registry (la Superintendencia Nacional de Registros Públicos), SUNARP. (Alejandro Arteaga, La Primera 26 de noviembre de 2011)
Now, if we understand this correctly, then, The Gold Leaf Trust, Adamastor Resources-both represented by Stefan- and Stefan own 99% of Minera Colibri. If this is correct, then Minera Colibri and Macusani Yellowcake CEO, Laurent Stefan, are essentially synonymous. Ulises Solis Llapa, general manager of Minera Colibri, is said, in the article, to hold 0.05% of the stocks of Colibri.
Since the Gold Leaf Trust was allegedly not registered in Peru, we wondered if it might be registered anyplace else? Of course, unrelated companies in different countries can have the same name, but it is worth a try. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has a Gold Leaf Trust, CIK: 0001564745, IRS Number: 336379971, Reporting File Number [left blank], Regulated Entity Type: None, SIC Code: [left blank], Address: 1808 James L Redman Parkway #237, Plant City, Florida 33563, Phone Number: 813 817 2442 [this number is for Tampa, FL], State of Incorporation: [left blank], Fiscal Year End: [left blank], Date of Last Update: 12/14/12. http://www.edgarcompany.sec.gov/servlet/CompanyDBSearch?page=detailed&cik=0001564745&main_back=4 This address seems to be for a UPS Store, which offers mailbox services: Package Acceptance, Package Receipt Notification, Mail Forwarding, 24-Hour Access Call-in MailCheck®. In other words, it is similar to a private PO Box. However, they can put the UPS address and not P.O.Box, which is often considered a non-physical address and not accepted for some purposes. Is it registered in Florida then? There are many Gold Leaf companies at http://search.sunbiz.org/, but we don’t know if they are related. No names match exactly and a quick look didn’t match any addresses for active companies, unless we overlooked it. What about Delaware? There are 30 “Gold Leaf” companies in Delaware. But, Delaware gives virtually no info for free (only incorporation date), and most likely little if you pay (we are too cheap to pay for this reason). South Africa doesn’t have a Gold Leaf Trust, and most of the years of incorporation for Gold Leaf there look improbable. http://www.cipro.gov.za/2/home/ Might it be registered in the Cayman Islands? This seems a popular location for this sort of folks. We found a German news release for 21.05.2004, involving “Gold Leaf Holdings Limited”, described as “an exempted company with limited liability incorporated in the Cayman Islands.” (see Finanz Nachrichten in references)
The only clearly useful information comes from an April 27, 2007 Marketwired article, about Macusani Yellowcake. It tells us that Laurence Stefan of Johannesburg South Africa owns or controls 12% of the Macusani Yellowcake shares through The Gold Leaf Trust, a trust controlled by Dr. Stefan. At the time, Laurence Stefan was described as V.P. Exploration, and Director of Macusani Yellowcake; the Managing Director of Minera Colibri in Peru, itself described as a private gold processing and exploration company. It also tells us that, at the time, Peter Hooper of Toronto Canada, CEO prior to Stefan, owned 14% of Macusani Yellowcake, and Alan Ferry of Toronto owned 23% of Macusani Yellowcake through 1140301 Ontario Ltd, a company controlled by him. The next largest stock owner was Lonnie Kirsh of Toronto with 1.1%. http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/macusani-yellowcake-inc-silver-net-equities-inc-provides-details-proposed-qualifying-648484.htm These four would be the majority shareholders of Macusani Yellow at 50.1%.
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Just what is Adamastor Resources, which was said to own 25% percent of Minera Colibri, and is represented by Macusani Yellowcake CEO Laurence Stefan? Unlike Gold Leaf Trust, which appears a front for Stefan himself, Adamastor was, and presumably, still is run by a notorious, self proclaimed con-artist known as Niko Shefer (his birth name may be Sifnaghel). Shefer served six years of a 14 year sentence for perpetuating one of South Africa’s biggest bank frauds. He defrauded the bank of more than $10 million. He then fled to Switzerland where he was extradited to South Africa, and tried, convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison. After getting out of jail he moved into trading and mining in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Congo. He was special envoy the notorious Charles Taylor of Liberia. http://www.publicintegrity.org/2002/11/11/5690/adventure-capitalist
The Center for Public Integrity, in a 2002 (updated 2011) article devoted to him says “Shefer runs an array of companies, including several divisions of the Tandan group, the Cobalt Metals Company, Scimitar Holdings and Adamastor Resources.” They “are all the work of a lone man in a top-floor office of a mansion.” http://www.publicintegrity.org/2002/11/11/5690/adventure-capitalist Shefer is not unique in this sort of one-man show. We hope that you will carefully read the complex articles about him. There are a laundry list of links about him in our reference section, or you can find more info by searching online. A 2006 article about him, has the catchy title of “Shady Shefer”: “To describe Niko Shefer as a shady businessperson is arguably an insult to trees everywhere, but the convicted fraudster has always had a reputation for chutzpah. This, after all, was the man who reportedly boasted, in a 1999 interview about his innovative methods when conducting business in Africa: ‘I move with cash. I can buy the president a Mercedes 600.” http://mg.co.za/article/2006-01-31-shady-shefer This statement also appeared in the Public Integrity article, where he elaborated that he was the corporate board, so he did not have to offer explanations. We have heard a similar statement, regarding the Mercedes, from a similar one-man show company, who has operated in Africa, Haiti, and South America. We are convinced that this sort of one-man show company causes more grief in the world than most people imagine. This is one reason that we are endlessly suspicious of Penny Stock Mining Companies. Some are just smarter than Shefer and manage to stay below the public (and internet) radar and cannot be documented like he can. Or, they walk just on the edge of legality and get chalk on their cleats. According to the Public Integrity Article “In Liberia’ Shefer once said, ‘it is a question of who is a better con – me or them. Taylor is good. I am better.” http://www.publicintegrity.org/2002/11/11/5690/adventure-capitalist
While Shefer appears tied to Macusani Yellowcake CEO, Laurence Stefan and Minera Colibri, we have not been able to document any direct relationship between Shefer and Macusani Yellowcake. Still, this connection is interesting, especially in the context of accusations of fraud against Minera Colibri. And, it tells us something about the company that the Macusani Yellowcake CEO, Laurence Stefan, seems to keep. If you lay down with dogs you might get fleas (if you didn’t have them already). Parents beware. If you treat your kids as gods, and teach them no respect for God or humankind, or the law, you will likely add yet another megalomaniac fraudster who will wreak yet more misery on the world.
Thursday, 20 June 2013
One corrupt enterprise with which Niko (aka “Nico”) Shefer was involved was Greater Ministries International. According to the Center for Public Integrity Article, “Shefer ran Greater Ministries’ Liberian operation for what he bragged was a $50,000 monthly salary and benefited from the church’s ‘gifting’ program – a plan under which the church got donors in the United States to help feed Africa’s starving poor.” http://www.publicintegrity.org/2002/11/11/5690/adventure-capitalist Note that this salary was monthly, not yearly, and this was in the 1990s. The yearly salary would be $600,000, which looks a lot like the salaries of the mining CEOs we are dealing with. In 2001, Gerald and Betty Payne, founders of Greater Ministries International Church, were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Tampa to prison terms of 27 years, and 12 years, 7 months, respectively, on charges of conspiracy and securities fraud, following a seven week criminal trial. They ran what was believed, at the time, to be the largest Ponzi scheme in American history: “Greater Ministries took in $490 million from 19,000 investors before the Ohio Division of Securities and the Alabama Securities Commission sought and received a permanent injunction in 1999 from a federal court in Tampa.” http://www.com.ohio.gov/secu/docs/BUL013.pdf Elsewhere it is said that they swindled $578 million from 1993 to 1999, and that those swindled included the elderly. http://www.theperspective.org/greaterministry.html Greater Ministries Pastor Don Hall reportedly described to Church Member-investors a Liberian mine with “$40 billion in gold only 15 feet below the surface”. Greater Ministries’ company in Liberia was called Greater Diamond. However, “apart from a marginal diamond operation, the church and Shefer did very little that was remunerative with their Liberian concessions.” http://www.publicintegrity.org/2002/11/11/5690/adventure-capitalist According to a U.N. report from October 2000, cited in the same Center for Public Integrity article: “Niko Shefer is a businessman located in South Africa, and was Chairman/CEO of the Greater Diamond Company (Liberia) Ltd, a subsidiary of Greater Holdings….” Furthermore, according to the report, “In the end, Shefer’s explorations were unprofitable and were abandoned. The American partners in Greater Diamonds were at that time under investigation by American authorities for tax evasion and money laundering, using assets in Liberia.” http://www.publicintegrity.org/2002/11/11/5690/adventure-capitalist Shefer was also involved with Amalia Mining Company in Liberia, which was investigated for fraud, although he, reportedly, was not: http://mg.co.za/print/1998-03-06-fraud-probe-as-amalia-collapses http://www.publicintegrity.org/2002/11/11/5690/adventure-capitalist
A UN Securities document cites the London Times, as alleging, in February 1999, that Nico Shafer, an Ecuadorian, was once in business with Columbian drug baron, Pablo Escobar. http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1132/pdf/sclet1150e.pdf
Saturday, 22 June 2013
According to a UN Security Council (2000) document, in February of 1999, “the London Times reported that the United Nations and ‘western intelligence agencies’ were investigating the probability that an international criminal consortium of diamond dealers and cocaine traffickers were behind the attempt by Taylor to seize Sierra Leone’s diamond fields through their RUF [Revolutionary United Front] proxy. The article named Fred Rindel and Nico Shefer, an Ecuadorian who was once in business with Colombian drug baron, Pablo Escobar, as central figures of this consortium”. http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1132/pdf/sclet1150e.pdf
According to the Public Integrity article, Shefer signed on several groups of investors, who gave him complete freedom to invest their money as he saw fit, in sales of commodities. Middlemen companies close to Shefer dealt with the investors. By the second quarter of 2000, Shefer suggested that the investment focus switch to mining. Congolese mining concessions were proposed as alternative investments. These were the Ruashi and Etoile cobalt tailings reserves from early mining activities, which could be easily reprocessed. Shefer featured the deposits in Scimitar Holdings and Adamastor Resources prospectuses. The Adamastor Resources prospectus also promised a stake in a Peruvian mine. They observe: “But as in Liberia, it soon began to look as if the enterprise had more to do with dazzling investors than mining. Almost three years after Shefer became involved, the project remained undeveloped.” http://www.publicintegrity.org/2002/11/11/5690/adventure-capitalist We assume that the project remaining undeveloped, included the Peruvian mine. They further observe that “Shefer has also made the most of the numerous corporate structures he sets up for each chapter of his life, juggling company names and directors to disguise his own involvement.” http://www.publicintegrity.org/2002/11/11/5690/adventure-capitalist According to one study: “Under cover of layers of entities, including Sentinelle Global Investments, Shefer ‘sold’ Ruashi to Metorex.” https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/attach/169/169219_SA%20Mining%20Companies%20in%20Southern%20Africa.pdf
Now, as we said, Adamastor Resources owns a 25% stake in Colibri, and is represented by Macusani Yellowcake CEO and fellow South African, Laurence Stefan. We wonder which mine this is? It is possible that it is the Macusani-Corani Colibri properties, and that Solis picked it up from Shefer or that Shefer is still involved. Remember the above statement about Shefer “juggling company names and directors to disguise his own involvement”.
Where it gets interesting is that for this Peruvian Mine, proposed by Adamastor Resources, we are speaking of the late 1990s to 2000. Who was President of Peru from July 1990 until late 2000, but Alberto Fujimori. Fujimor has been accused of having taken a $1 million campaign donation from Pablo Escobar, head of the Medellin Cartel. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/14/world/peru-congress-ousts-its-president-fujimori-ally.html Additionally, the head of Peru’s intelligence service (SIN), Vladimiro Montesinos, was allegedly in business and protected Colombian narco-traffickers (e.g. Pablo Escobar). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimiro_Montesinos Montesinos was alleged, but never proven, to have intervened in a conflict over control of the Yanococha Mine in Peru. Nonetheless, in 1998 a Newmont senior executive, Larry Kurlander, met with Montesinos to discuss the Yanococha case. Given that Niko Shefer was allegedly in business at one point with Pablo Escobar and had or has a mine in Peru, and seems to own a quarter of Minera Colibri, we just wonder if we are missing something? We have the feeling that there is something here that we can’t quite touch; some link which we cannot find. Perhaps it is not there. Perhaps it is. Unfortunately, the UN Security Council document does not elaborate the origin of this very damning allegation that Shefer was involved with Escobar. And, Escobar was killed in December 1993. But, especially in the context of the allegations against Minera Colibri, it makes one wonder.
Tuesday 25 June 2013
The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, 13 Feb, 1999, discusses Niko Shefer’s alleged involvement in Liberia-Sierra Leone, and with Pablo Escobar, and asserts that Niko was a Director of Amalia Mining: http://archiviostorico.corriere.it/1999/febbraio/13/Mercenari_neonazi_Sierra_Leone_co_0_990213657.shtml On the Amalia Mining financial collapse: http://mg.co.za/article/1998-04-03-probe-into-the-amalia-puzzle If keeping bad company leads to “fleas”, a whole bunch of flea-powder is needed. Niko Shefer’s alleged mischief seems never-ending. In another context, that of complaints about a UN employee, someone alleged the following: “Peter Wolfgang Filippinetti is a co-director along with Paul Fraefel, Stephan Frischknecht in a registered company Petralus, AG…In 1998 in South Africa Austrian Mr Peter Wolfgang Filippinetti operated in a similar International Scam / fraud with Mr J.H.Le Roux an ex CCB Officer, Yunis Moosajee Mayet, Petrus Van Der Westhuizen and his known partners, Nico Shefer, Dr Maarten Adriaan Schalekamp and ex RSA Diplomatic Intelligence officer Chris Du Toit a.k.a. Christoffel Petrus Du Toit, identified as a Current United Nations Employee as the UNDSS Country Advisor Sri Lanka. In 1998 Filippinetti and their group used the fraud / scam structured as the hidden fortunes in gold, gemstones, and currency….” http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2011/04/24/bad-faith/
According to Ben Laurance of the Sunday Times (20 Sept 2007), “Shefer was charged in 2003 with a number of breaches of South Africa’s companies act. He was also charged with obstructing police and had to pay fines….” http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=10634 Around 2006-2007, Niko Shefer was, once again, involved in the Congo (DRC), according to a March 15, 2007, US Embassy Cable (via wikileaks), and the London Sunday Times (20 Sept. 2007). He was allegedly involved in questionable and apparently illegal uranium mining deals. At the time, uranium mining was not allowed in the DRC, but he is said to have helped broker a deal (memorandum of understanding-MOU) giving Brinkley mining special consideration if uranium mining restarted “in return for unspecified ‘support’ for the DRC’s CGEA, especially for CREN-K.” The CGEA is the Atomic Energy Commission and the CREN-K is the Regional Nuclear Studies Center in Kinshasa. “The CGEA is the Congolese entity which is charged, among other duties, with controlling anything having to do with radioactive material, mined or unmined.” Niko Shefer was also alleged to have attempted to bribe a government official. The Embassy Cable Concludes that “the real issue at stake: opaque deals of questionable legality being entered into for the exploitation of the DRC’s natural resources. The memoranda of understanding … may or may not stand up under the scrutiny of the new government. The deal allegedly made with Nico Shefer of Sentinelle Limited, likely will not…” Nico Shefer is said to have identified himself as “the head of a company called Sentinelle International, registered in the Seychelles but based in South Africa.” http://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/cable.php? id=07KINSHASA313&q=shefer According to Ben Laurance (2007), “Shefer’s role in Brinkley’s DRC uranium project has never been disclosed to investors. But papers seen by The Sunday Times show that Brinkley acknowledges that a key role in securing the deal was played by Sentinelle Investments. Shefer’s wife’s family trust has been a major shareholder in Sentinelle. Shefer’s accountant is the company’s sole director.” Furthermore “Brinkley announced last year that a majority-owned offshoot, Brinkley Africa Limited (BAL), was forming a partnership with the Congolese atomic energy authority, the CGEA, to mine uranium ore in five areas. The identity of the minority holder in BAL was not made public”. http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=10634 For more info see also: http://www.wise-uranium.org/upafr.html#CD Brinkley et. al. seemed to have opened the way for Areva and others to do uranium mining in the DRC.
Is this everything on Niko or on Colibri? Nope! More still to come, this time back to Latin America. But we are weary of Niko and his shenanigans so this will be continued.
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Mark Shaw (2003), in a paper for a Dutch research institute, Clingendael, gives some additional info on Niko, as well as detailing things already discussed. He says that “The activities of another individual with connections to South Africa, Niko Shefer, show much more clearly the involvement of a criminal enterprise with the supply of war material and the trade in diamonds….Shefer was born in South America and is an Israeli citizen. He came to South Africa in the early 1970s and was regarded as being close to the apartheid government at the time….It is alleged that he brokered arms deals for the old South African government”. Shaw discusses Shefer’s Greater Ministries involvement and Shefer’s arrest for fraud; time in jail and says he was again allegedly involved in fraud and that “This was investigated by the authorities but it is unclear what happened to the case.” Shefer states that “Later an investment company owned by Shefer called Amelia Gold was found guilty of stock exchange fraud and closed down.” He adds that “Shefer clearly had the propensity for criminal activity and had wide contacts in both the world of licit and illicit business.” He observes that “It is likely that Shefer was involved in more than just mining concessions in Liberia including the supply of weapons and the purchase of diamonds mined in Sierra Leone, but this is difficult to determine on current evidence.” He alleges that Shefer “entered into partnership with a notorious underworld figure in Southern Africa, Mr T …to mine diamonds in the DRC. Mr T and Shefer themselves then fell out and parted ways. If Shefer had been close to the old South African government, he showed little political distaste for the new one…” http://www.clingendael.nl/sites/default/files/20030300_cru_working_paper_10.pdf Reading about Niko Shefer, certainly puts in mind Marc Rich who died yesterday. Rich was indicted on more than 50 counts of fraud, racketeering and tax evasion to the tune of $48 millions(in 1983). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130626/eu-switzerland-obit-rich/?utm_hp_ref=homepage&ir=homepage According to his biographer, Daniel Ammann, Rich “went where others feared to tread – geographically and morally.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/marc-rich-dead-commodities-trader-dies-obituary_n_3501206.html Those who do not care for yesterday’s book recommendations may like Daniel Ammann’s book: “The King of Oil: the Secret Lives of Marc Rich”. Despite the name of the book, Rich was also involved in other commodities and mining (Glencore-Xstrata). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glencore_Xstrata Rich’s death, at a fairly young 78, of a stroke, proves that money can’t save you and Rich now knows that you can’t take it with you when you die. He can’t take the money but he must now pay for any wrongdoing. These two are not the only ones who have treaded where others fear to tread geographically or morally, they were simply dumb enough to cross the border of illegality (and get caught). The intelligent ones cannot be read about on internet. But, they are there, doing similar sorts of things. And, just because we cannot track wrong-doing on internet, or elsewhere, does not mean it is not there. We can sometimes recognize them by the company they keep.
According to a November 2011, Peruvian governmental document,[Ecuadorean Ambassador to South Africa], José Samuel Valencia Amores had a Work Meeting with the Executive Chairman of Sentinelle Group, Niko Shefer, in order to prepare the trip to South Africa of the Special Representative of Yasuni-ITT Initiative, Ivonne Baki, and about a business visit to be undertaken by Mr. Shefer to Ecuador. http://www.mmrree.gob.ec/ministerio/reglamentos/MNI_102011.pdf http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/forrep/preced_alp.html The Yasuni-ITT initiative is a program whereby international donors promise to pay Ecuador not to drill in a National Park in the Amazon, designated by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve. The government will drill away unless given the money, showing how worthless such a UNESCO designation can be. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasun%C3%AD-ITT_Initiative http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasuni_National_Park Why was Ambassador Valencia meeting with Mr. Shefer to prepare for Ms. Baki’s visit to South Africa and Shefer’s to Ecuador? That is a question we unfortunately cannot answer. Who is Ivonne Baki who is running the initiative? At the end of 2011 she was accused of trying to get Chevron to donate to the Yasuni Initiative in exchange for her petitioning Ecuador to rule against those Ecuadoreans sueing Chevron, due to massive pollution, caused by improper drilling of oil in the Amazon by Texaco, which was bought-out by Chevron. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mitch-anderson/chevrons-ecuador-end-run-_b_1156876.html http://chevrontoxico.com/news-and-multimedia/2011/1223-chevrons-1-billion-bribe-offer-to-quash-legal-case-rocks-ecuador http://amazonwatch.org/news/2013/0617-ecuadorian-locals-still-seeking-damages-from-chevron-for-environmental-damage http://chevrontoxico.com (Please watch this short video which shows why drilling for oil MUST be done properly and the risks involved to aquifers. It argues that the problem was that things were improperly done but after seeing this video it is clear that there are risks to aquifers even if the companies do things right (accidents). This is all the more true if the geology is not good (e.g. karst).
Saturday, 29 June 2013
Unfortunately, the most serious accusations against Baki appear based on “hearsay” and, of course, they would be. Any backroom deals, are exactly that — backroom deals and unless you are a participant or a fly in the wall you won’t know the truth. We will also probably never know what her business was with Niko Shefer. However, Ms. Baki is said to have denied any contact with Chevron, whereas when she was Trade Minister, she met at least three times (on or about 20 May 2004; 21 June 2004; 2005 at a panel for the Council fo the Americas in Washington DC) with Chevron representatives to discuss the Republic of Ecuador (ROE’s) “binding legal and contractual obligations reflected in the settlement and release agreements, and the ROE’s and Petroecuador’s responsibility and liability for any further remediation or environmental impact associated with the Concession area, including any and all relief sought in” what Chevron calls “the baseless Lago Agrio Litigation”. chevrontoxico.com http://chevrontoxico.com/assets/docs/2011-09-15-chevrons-supplemental-responses-to-lap-modified-first-set-of-interrogatories-pp-36-38.pdf Why would the Trade Minister need to meet with Chevron about this legal case brought by Ecuadorean citizens for historic pollution? Chevron is said to have removed its assets from Ecuador, so presumably they had no trade with Ecuador, at the time, and even if yes, it would have nothing to do with this lawsuit. Additionally, at some of the earlier stages of this lawsuit, in 1998, when Baki was Ecuador’s Ambassador to the US, she wrote a letter to a US judge implying that she thought the case illegitimate because, she says, the Republic of Ecuador had absolved Texaco from all responsibility in 1995. http://chevrontoxico.com/assets/docs/1998-11-11-baki-letter.pdf http://www.ipsnews.net/1998/11/environment-bulletin-ecuador-case-against-texaco-resumes/
Besides the apparent indirect links, via Niko Shefer and Ivonne Baki, between this case and Laurence Stefan, this case also involves the Quechua people: “Maria Aguinda is an elder of the Quechua indigenous people in Ecuador, and lead plaintiff of 30,000 in a lawsuit against oil multinational Chevron. Between 1964 and 1990, Chevron pumped over 16 billion gallons of toxic waste into the Amazonian environment. Plaintiffs believe this increased the local incidence of health problems, including cancer.” http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/beyond-prisons/people-we-love-maria-aguinda This case is also important because it deals with the complex issue of environmental, health, and social liability. The lawsuit, first against Texaco, and then against Chevron, who merged with Texaco in 2000, has been ongoing for 20 years. It is better to just not give the companies the chance to operate in the first place, especially in remote, underpopulated, unmonitored and ecologically sensitive areas like the Amazon rainforest and the Macusani-Corani area. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lago_Agrio_oil_field
This is a two minute video on the case:
This is the 15 minute video from Chevrontoxico.com, which explains how to drill for oil correctly (at one minute 50 seconds) and what Texaco chose to do instead:
A 1972 document has recently emerged regarding new instructions for Reporting of Environmental Incidents, for Texaco Ecuador, which says that only major events should be reported and that a major event is defined as one which attracts the attention of the press and regional authorities or in the manager’s judgement merits reporting. Furthermore “No reports are to be kept on a routine basis and all previous reports are to be removed from Field and Division Offices and destroyed.” This was by R. C. Shields, Chairman of the Board, but signed by R. M. Bischoff. It seems that Shields should be held criminally liable in this case, but he may not be still alive. http://chevrontoxico.com/assets/docs/shields2008-10-15.pdf It is interesting that Texaco was also guilty in the dramatic Lake Peigneur disaster where they drilled into a salt mine, sucking the lake into the mine with the resulting whirlpool sucking in the drilling platform, eleven barges, many trees and 65 acres (260,000 m2) of the surrounding land. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Peigneur There is a dramatic video of this on youtube (also linked to our Drilling for Oil post.)
The Mining Companies, and in this case an oil company, try to get in good with the people on the front end or tail end by comparatively cheap social donations. For instance, Bear Creek Mining, which wants to run a lead mine in the Macusani area, reports having given contributions to help with Alpaca farming. They or another company were to help pay for an Alpaca fairground, too. What good is this if the Alpacas are poisoned and have no place to graze? On the tail end, to try to get out from under liability, according to a 2008 US Embassy Cable: “Chevron had begun to quietly explore with senior GOE officials whether it could implement a series of social projects in the concession area in exchange for GOE support for ending the case, but now that the expert has released a huge estimate for alleged damage, it might be hard for the GOE to go that route, even if it has the ability to bring the case to a close.” http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/04/08QUITO323.html Basically these companies are playing a game equivalent to someone murdering your entire family (or proposing to) and then trying to make you satisfied by replacing it with a pet mouse. Some people may prefer the mouse, but we hope that those get our point anyway. The companies are playing a PR stunt.
After our lengthy aside, we return to the article by Alejandro Arteaga in La Primera newspaper of Peru, Saturday 26 November 2011 “Empresas que son una mina de oro”, where Laurence Stefan, founder of the Peruvian Colibri Group, and current CEO of Macusani Yellowcake, and his Peruvian colleague Ulises Raul Solis Llapa were accused of stealing Pedro Livschitz’ mine via legal tricks, and of money-laundering, as defined under Peruvian law (see 13 June). In the context of our examination of Stefan’s Gold Leaf Trust and Adamastor Resources, companies with 73 and 25 percent, each, of the shares Minera Colibri; and of Niko Shefer, apparent owner of Adamastor Resources, whose stake in Colibri is said to be represented by Laurence Stefan, the accusations against Minera Colibri sound less far-fetched. Of course, anyone involved in uranium mining is lacking in all ethics, in our opinion. According to the article, adding to the complexity of Ulises Solis Llapa and Laurentiu [aka Laurence] Daniel Stefan’s situation, is that Attestation no. 1085 of the Division of Investigation of Complaints arising from the public prosecutor’s Office, the Dirincri, Colibri Mining was created in the year 2002 with a capital of 2 thousand soles [$564] and in less than a year earned profits of $790,000, without it being properly clear the means by which the ore was collected, presuming that both parties are involved in the offence of money-laundering. [In September 2002 3.64 soles was equal to 1 dollar https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuevo_sol ]
Tuesday, 2 July 2013
Arteaga in La Primera says that he communicated repeatedly with the office of the Colibri mining company, but was informed that Mr. Ulises Llapa was not there and the Secretary said they did not know what time he would arrive, so the possibility is left open for them to make their disclaimers. Arteaga further observes that twenty years ago, anyone could buy or sell gold. However, now the general mining law requires buyers and exporters to apply for a certificate that guarantees the legal origin of the metal, but they do not [always] do so. An estimated 30 tons of gold from illegal mining enter the formal market annually and end up being exported. He asks if some authority has information on how that gold was obtained? (Alejandro Arteaga, Diario la Primera, Peru, 26- Nov-2011)
Turning back again to our June 13 post, regarding the Arteaga article, we recall that it says that according to the police at the Caraveli police station, the mine was raided and the use of explosives was observed, as well as firearms and theft of money (robo de dinero en efectivo). We would draw your attention to the alleged existence of firearms at the site. The firearms reported may be for security purposes. The article doesn’t say how many firearms. We have read of artisanal miners being chased off of sites with guns, when they hadn’t made a deal with the companies. However, in May, the Peruvian Minister of the Environment expressed concerns about illegal mining companies using billions of dollars in profits to fund armed groups. http://www.peruviantimes.com/14/perus-illegal-mining-on-verge-of-funding-armed-groups-minister/19119/ http://www.larepublica.pe/11-05-2013/ministro-del-ambiente-estamos-cerca-que-mineria-ilegal-financie-grupo-armados
According to security analyst Ruben Vargas (Andean 3 Mar 2012), there is an “undeniable link” between those financing illegal mining and drug trafficking. Illegal mining is used for money laundering. http://www.andina.com.pe/Espanol/Noticia.aspx?id=AfYAHgwA788=#.UdIkLcsaySM A journalist and blogger, Steve Bodzin, who lives in Chile, more clearly elaborates: “One thing I do know is that cocaine producers buy illegally produced gold in South America as a way of laundering their US dollars. They buy it below market price out in the jungle, take it back to ‘ghost mines’ that they own but that don’t really produce much if any metal, and then put it on the market at a higher price.” http://settysoutham.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/those-outlaw-diamond-mines-in-amazon-venezuela-may-lose-kimberley-certification/ This is certainly food for thought, as a possibility, for the Macusani-Corani mines, but even more so for Haiti, since Haiti is generally considered an important drug transshipment site. On one hand, the existence of Vena Resources, partly owned by Cameco, lends an air of legitimacy — i.e. that they intend to mine uranium. On the other hand, perhaps we should not underestimate the apparent connection between Macusani Yellowcake CEO, Laurence Stefan, and Niko Shefer, who allegedly worked with Pablo Escobar. As well, Peru is said to have replaced Colombia as the first producer of cocaine. Nonetheless, we lack sufficient information. But, it appears strange that these properties have been sat on for so many years and so little has happened.
The Peruvian Times (14 May 2013), however, cites a recent study which estimates that illegal mining is now more profitable than cocaine trafficking. http://www.peruviantimes.com/14/perus-illegal-mining-on-verge-of-funding-armed-groups-minister/19119/ Nonetheless, “Insight Crime” states that “In Peru, informal mining is still more of an environmental, economic, and social problem than an issue of organized crime. So far, there is more evidence of criminal groups’ involvement in illegal timber exports than gold.” http://www.illegal-logging.info/item_single.php?it_id=6701&it=news&printer=1 http://m.insightcrime.org/pages/article/2643 But, illegal logging and illegal gold mining go hand in hand, at least in the Amazon.
Yesterday (1 July), an Insight Crime Article, by Marguerite Cawley, observes that “Despite the implementation of a national plan to combat money laundering, the government reported in 2012 that the country had not achieved any convictions for money laundering, and that of around 120 cases investigated, only four had resulted in judicial proceedings. In June, Peruvian authorities reported a rise in money laundering through small businesses, with official data indicating that 3.5 percent of annual GDP may be the product of illicit funds. Police corruption exacerbates the situation — as of June, 900 police were under investigation in Peru for complicity in crimes including money laundering and kidnapping.” http://m.insightcrime.org/pages/article/4353
Besides the export of undocumented illegal gold, there is, the possibility that what is said to be gold, or other mineral, exports — legal or illegal could actually be cocaine or other contraband. Uranium itself could be mined illegally and exported as contraband. This is yet another iteration.
In Colombia, the National Tax agency head, Juan Ricardo Ortega,
says that Colombia’s official annual gold exports are reported to be as much as 70 tons, although the industry only produces 15 tons. He believes that the bulk is fictitious sales, despite the considerable amount of artisanal gold that could account for some of the extra. Illegal gold itself, also needs to be laundered. ( This article may make you see the world in a new way: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/28/us-colombia-moneylaundering-idUSBRE94R03E20130528 )
See also: http://npsglobal.org/eng/news/138-strategic-trade/815-brazil-uranium-traffic.html
On the lighter side, someone accused of importing cocaine into Jamaica testified that he thought that he was importing white gold. http://m.jamaicaobserver.com/mobile/news/Accused-says-he-thought-cocaine-was-white-gold_14010035 (9 April 2013)
Thursday, 4 July 2013
TAX EVASION ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MINERA COLIBRI
Laurence [Laurentiu] Stefan, CEO of Macusani Yellowcake (Global Gold, SAC is the Peruvian Subsidiary) is said to own 1% of the stocks of Peru’s Minera Colibri SAC, and to represent The Gold Leaf Trust and Adamastor Resources, companies with 73 and 25 percent, each, of the Colibri shares. The Gold Leaf Trust is said to be controlled by Laurence Stefan and owns at least 12% of Macusani Yellowcake. He also is said to represent Adamastor, though this company appears to belong to the notorious Niko Shefer. Stefan owns 1% of the stocks of Colibri, in his name. So, the CEO of Macusani Yellowcake seems to own or represent 99% of Peru’s Minera Colibri. Hence, responsibility for any misdeeds would fall squarely upon him.
As shown on a video, there was allegedly an April 22, 2009 inspection of a Minera Colibri (Group) Plant, by a prosecutor, due to allegations of Minera Colibri receiving stolen gold. In this post, we have also noted similar accusations from news sources. On 19 April 2010 Reuters News reported that Minera Colibri was believed to buy gold from illegal or artisanal miners to avoid taxes. Colibri did not deny purchasing from them, but claimed to pay taxes. http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/04/19/peru-mining-investigation-idUSN1921188320100419 On the 26 April, 2010 the head of SUNAT is said to have announced that there was evidence that Minera Colibri bought gold from the informal sector. http://www.minerandina.com/en/sunat-fines-4-companies-trading-in-gold/
Most interesting of all is a 4 May 2011 ruling of the Peruvian Constitutional Court, found online: EXP. N.° 00834-2011-PA/TC
LIMA, MINERA COLIBRÍ S.A., RESOLUCIÓN DEL TRIBUNAL CONSTITUCIONAL, which appears to be an attempt by Colibri to get out from under, be protected from, its tax obligations. From what we understand, SUNAT, the Peruvian Tax Authority, believed that Colibri owed additional taxes and Colibri did not want to pay them. Not only did they not want to pay the taxes, but they took it to court more than once. On July 17, 2009, Minera Colibri SA brought a claim for protection against the National Superintendency of Tax Administration (SUNAT). Note that this was shortly after the April 22, 2009 inspection-raid on the video. There were a couple of rulings. Then on November 12, 2010, the Fifth Civil Chamer of the Superior Court ruled that Colibri had failed to exhaust administrative remedies and dismissed their claim. This position was upheld again in the May 4, 2011 ruling. http://www.tc.gob.pe/jurisprudencia/2011/00834-2011-AA%20Resolucion.html In short, not only does Minera Colibri — essentially Laurence Stefan — appear to owe money to the Peruvian Tax Authority, SUNAT, but Colibri has wasted the monies of those who pay their taxes by first forcing SUNAT to investigate them and more importantly through whining for protection from SUNAT in about 4 court proceedings. They have also wasted their own monies. Why don’t they just pay the taxes instead! It shows how truly antisocial and above the law they think they are. If they cared at all for Peru, they would simply pay, even if they truly thought they did not owe more money, and note that the tax authorities and others seem to think that they did owe taxes. This sniffs strangely of Cameco’s tax avoidance or evasion (aka tax noncompliance). Recall that Cameco is joint venture partner, in the Macusani area, with Vena Resources. The Peruvian subsidiary is Minergia SAC, which has Cameco funding and Vena operating. Cameco has the possibility of earning-in from 50 to 70 percent. And, who will be left with the liability for the environmental, medical and social disaster left behind if uranium (or lead) mining occurs? That would be, almost certainly, the taxpayer.
It is clear that the proposed uranium mining in the Macusani-Corani area is illegal, immoral, and simply downright stupid. Peru signed the UNESCO International “Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage” in 1972 and Peru has a related Law “Ley No 28296: Ley General de Patrimonio Cultural de la Nacion” (General Law of the Cultural Patrimony of the Nation). There was also an earlier Peruvian law, which would have protected the area. Somehow the Government of Peru and the Mining Companies, and almost everyone else, seem to be oblivious to what this convention and law mean in the context of Macusani-Corani. Since the CEO of Macusani Yellowcake, Laurence Stefan, and Cameco, partner of Vena Resources, appear to think they are above paying taxes, it should not surprise us that they think they are above laws protecting the area. As we have also documented, Laurence Stefan, in his Minera Colibri incarnation, seems to also think that he is above environmental and security and hygiene standards. Minera Colibri, not only was charged with violating environmental regulations, at its Doble D and Korijaqui sites, but also has had multiple infractions of Security and Hygiene norms. They were fined again for not implementing previous recommendations for correction of security and hygiene infractions (see June 11th update for dates and links). Cameco also has a questionable environmental record, as we have discussed.
The Corani-Macusani Rock Art is classified as a World Endangered Monument. In 2005, it was designated National Cultural Patrimony by the Peruvian government. There are almost 200 rock art sites in the Corani-Macusani area. The same year, 2005, that the Rock Art was designated as National Cultural Patrimony by Peru, mining companies started exploring for uranium: ”In 2005, mining companies began exploring the potential to develop operations in the districts where about 90 percent of the rock-art sites are found. Despite designating the sites as national patrimony that same year, the Peruvian government continued to distribute mining rights … Without intervention, open-pit mining will result in the destruction of the Macusani-Corani rock-art sites.” The World Monument Fund states that “Collectively, they [the Macusani-Corani Rock Art] constitute the largest concentration of art from the Archaic period in the Americas. http://www.wmf.org/project/macusani-corani-rock-art The Rock Art has been well-documented by numerous researchers. We believe that the Quelccaya Icecap (Natural Heritage), along with the Corani Rock Art (Cultural Heritage) are supposed to be protected under both the UNESCO Convention and Peruvian Law.
To add insult to injury, the uranium, which they propose to mine, appears ultra low grade ore. Macusani Yellowcake’s Corachapi Project is the only one with an NI 43-101 “Measured Resource” and 77% of the ore is at 42 ppm (parts per million) uranium. The ppm uranium appear comparable to average volcanic rock or byproducts to copper mining. This 42 ppm is well below some of the byproducts. It is also substantially below Namibia’s lowest mine grades of 110 ppm. In fact, only 10% is over 100 ppm for the Corachapi measured resource. Recall that a Measured Resource is still not a reserve, which is the highest level of confidence. After Measured Resource is Probable Mineral Reserves, then Proven Mineral Reserves.
If the governmental accusations of enviromental and security and hygiene violations, and apparent failure to pay taxes are insufficient, others have accused Colibri of money laundering and theft of a mine. These last accusations might be taken less seriously if it were not for Laurence Stefan’s apparent relationship to a notorious self-proclaimed con-artist and convicted crook, Niko Shefer, through Adamastor Resources, which owns part of Colibri, and is represented by Stefan. Niko Shefer also has alleged historic ties to the late Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar.
As we have explained and history has shown, even huge companies can get out from under liability by declaring bankruptcy or more fancy corporate moves. Even where they can be found and held liable it often drags through the courts for years and even decades. It is all the more easy for Penny Mining Companies, like Macusani Yellowcake and the others involved, to disappear and many Penny Companies seem to be layered with entities in the Cayman Islands or other tax havens, which facilitates avoidance of taxes and environmental liabilities.
And, who generally foots the bill? The environment and the population pay dearly. The cost of any cleanup and medical care generally falls upon those who pay their taxes and even upon insurance companies — both medical and corporate.
It is best to stop these people, in their “Mining Company” incarnations, on the front end, and not wait on the tail end for clean-up and medical compensation, which will probably never come. They need to be stopped before it is too late. And, especially in the case of uranium mining, it is virtually impossible to restore the environment, and the cost of any restoration is prohibitively high. The proposed Bear Creek lead mine for Corani is not much better than the uranium. It will destroy the rock art and most surely poison the environment. Lead poisoning is also very devastating.
It is, above all, the duty of the Peruvian Government to uphold their own laws and to stop these “mining companies”. It is also your duty and ours to oppose them. Everyone is actually doing them a favor to oppose them. They need to learn the boundaries of right and wrong that their parents seem to have failed to teach them. It gives them less sin to account for in the final reckoning. Those dealing in uranium mining will surely spend eternity in an open pit uranium mine (pyrophoric), but this won’t help the victims this side of eternity. Nor will it help the earth. THEY MUST BE STOPPED ON THE FRONT END, THIS SIDE OF ETERNITY, FOR THE SAKE OF THE ALPACAS, THE QUECHUA, THE ENVIRONMENT AND FOR THEIR OWN GOOD. Those who are too “nice” to stand firm against people who are doing bad things are contributing to and enabling evil. You may notice that where many people are too “nice”, that evil blossoms more prolifically. And, let’s call this uranium (and lead) mining what it is — evil. Whether based on ignorance or on the fact that these people have been allowed to stomp on others for their entire life, it must be stopped. If they are ignorant, then they must be educated, and if they are used to breaking the law and having their way, then they must be opposed and made to follow the law. THIS MINING AT MACUSANI-CORANI IS ILLEGAL, AS WELL AS UNETHICAL. IT MUST BE STOPPED!
Here we stand.
Note: There will be a Part IV of this topic, which will discuss yet another way this mining at Macusani-Corani is illegal-violates legal intent; environmental problems, including water and tailings dams and social considerations. The date is unknown but will be announced on our NEW DAILY POST on news, tidbits, and trivia, which will start on SATURDAY, 6 JULY 2013.
THORIUM AND URANIUM MINING IN HAITI will be continued TOMORROW FRIDAY, 5 JULY 2013, “technology willing”.
ADDITIONAL REFERENCES AND READINGS
References and further reading added 17 May 2013
World Monuments Fund, Fall 2011 Newsletter
1976 OAS Convention:
GRAND CANYON LINKS
Map of proposed uranium mines in relation to Indian Reservations, National Forest, etc.
References-readings added 22 May 2013
Nash, J. Thomas, 2010, Volcanogenic uranium deposits—Geology, geochemical processes, and criteria for resource assessment: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1001, 99 p.
“Technical Report for Macusani Uranium Exploration Project”, 23 Nov. 2010, for Minergia SAC, prepared by Henkle, William R., Jr., P.Geo., Henkle and Assoc. See Vena Resources web site and probably SEDAR
Additional References-readings 24 May 2013
Additional references and readings added 26 May 2013
MACUSANI YELLOWCAKE INC.
Macusani Yellowcake, Inc. “Annual Information Form for the Year Ended Sept. 30, 2010” January 31, 2011 (as amended March 16, 2011)
Additional references and reading added 2 June 2013
Kerr McGee and Tronox v. Anardarko
The cases appear available online but we were unable to get the links to work due to technical difficulties. They should be findable by typing Tronox v. Anardarko.
Cameco and EPA
Additional references and reading added 6 June 2013
“Cameco’s $800-million tax battle” by David Mistead, Globe and Mail
Wednesday, May 1, 2013.
University of Saskatchewan Budget Summary
http://announcements. usask.ca/news/archive /2006/09/u_of_s_celebrat.html
Additional References and Readings added 8 June 2013
Rekman, Lorraine. “This Is My Homeland: Stories of the Effects of Nuclear Industries by the People of Serpent River and the North Shore of Lake Huron” Published 2003 by Serpent River First Nation .
Lane RSD, Frost SE, Howe GR, Zablotska LB (2010) Mortality (1950–1999) and cancer incidence (1969–1999) in the cohort of Eldorado uranium workers. Radiat Res 174: 773–785.
The Health of Uranium Miners: Two Studies help paint a picture, opportunity North (2006)
Eidemueller M, Jacob P, Lane RSD, Frost SE, Zablotska LB (2012) Lung Cancer Mortality (1950–1999) among Eldorado Uranium Workers: A Comparison of Models of Carcinogenesis and Empirical Excess Risk Models. PLoS ONE 7(8): e41431. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041431http://www.helmholtz-muenchen.de/fileadmin/ISS/PDF/Risikoanalyse/Eidemueller_Eldorado_PLoS_ONE_2012.pdf
[Read funding and competing interest disclaimers. Note that Frost used to work for El Dorado].
If you need the statistics read all three above carefully and check the math yourself. It appears unclear how they got percentage rates. We recommend that you redo the math yourself. Originally the workers were 19,855 individuals. The total cohort retained for 1950 to 99 mortality seems to be 17,660, of which males were 16,236. The total cohort used for 1969 to 1999 cancer incidence seems to be 16,770. Some few were working in headquarters and hence had less or no exposure. The Lane, Frost, Howe and Zablotska (2010) article has the most basic stats. Itemizing the numbers from 1950 to 1999 there were 530, non-lung cancer, cancer deaths; from 1969 to 1999 there were 961, non-lung cancer, cancer incidences (see Lane, Table 5, p. 781); 1950-1999 lung cancer deaths were 618; 1969-99 lung cancer cases were 626 (see Lane, Table 3, p. 779). Once again double check us. Other possibly uranium related causes of death, from 1950 to 1999, in our opinion, include 158 due to respiratory disease; 60 due to cirrhosis of the liver; 64 due to diabetes (see Lane, Table 5).
Yellowcake Road, Part 2 – Uranium Mining in Canada
Australian aboriginal health
Additional References-Readings Added 11 June 2013
Additional References-Readings Added for 13 June 2013
Diario “La Primera” del Peru, sábado, 26 de noviembre de 2011,
“Empresas que son una mina de oro”
http://huy carajo. blogspot.com/2011/11/empresas-que-son-una-mina-de-oro.html [The title of this blog can be an obscenity, but it is the only online copy we could find, as the original link seems broken; the content of the blog itself appears interesting]
“The Doornhoek gold deposit in the Limpopo Belt, South Africa : an example of an Archaean shear zone hosted deposit formed at high-grade metamorphic conditions” by Stefan, Laurentiu Daniel
Executive Profile, Laurence Stefan
http://investing. businessweek. com/ research /stocks/ people/ person.asp?personId=45466946&ticker=YEL:CN
Laurenco Stefan, p. 13
Stolen gold and money laundering in Mexico
References for 15 June 2013
Gold Leaf Trust
Gold Leaf Holdings Ltd.
Delaware company registration
Florida Business Search
la Superintendencia Nacional de Registros Públicos, SUNARP
South African Company Search
April 27, 2007 “Macusani Yellowcake, Inc.: Silver Net Equities Inc. Provides Details of Proposed Qualifying Transaction”.
References and Additional Readings for 18 and 20 June 2013
“The adventure capitalist” by Mungo Soggot and Phillip van Niekerk, November 11, 2002, August 10, 2011
http://www. mineweb. com/mineweb/content/en/mineweb-hot-topics-results?topic=Niko%20Shefer
Katja Lindenberg (nee Sifnaghel) > Niko Shefer (ne Sifnaghel)
“Fraud probe as Amalia collapses”. by Mungo Soggot and Andy Duffy. Mail and Guardian. 06 Mar 1998
References and readings added 25 June 2013
“Mercenari neonazi in Sierra Leone: La guerra civile diventa un affare per le ex milizie bianche del Sudafrica”. Corriere Della Sera. 13/2/1999
“Probe into the Amalia puzzle”. By Mungo Soggot. Mail and Guardian. 3/April/1998
“Congo purge puts Brinkley deal in doubt”. By Ben Laurance. Sunday Times. 20 September 2007
“Bad Faith: Three Panellists And A Shady South African Intelligence Officer”. By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha. The Sunday Leader. 24/4/2011.
Reference id 07 KINSHASA 313 aka Wikileaks id #100587
“Lumu Set Free, Future Of Uranium Investigation Uncertain”
Origin Embassy Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Cable time Thu, 15 Mar 2007 15:59 UTC
References and Readings. 27 June 2013
Working Paper 10 (2003) “The Middlemen’: War Supply Networks in Sierra Leone and Angola” by Mark Shaw
For 2 July 2013
“Peru’s Illegal Mining on Verge of Funding Armed Groups – Minister.” May 14, 2013 by Andean Air Mail & PERUVIAN TIMES · http://www.peruviantimes.com/14/perus-illegal-mining-on-verge-of-funding-armed-groups-minister/19119/
“Peru Breaks Up Colombia Money Laundering Ring”
By Marguerite Cawley. 1 July 2013
“Illegal Mining Bigger than Drug Trade in Peru’: Analyst”
By Elyssa Pachico. May 17, 2012
Andina. Lima, Peru. “Minería ilegal tiene ‘vínculo innegable’ con el narcotráfico, afirma experto”. (Illegal mining has “undeniable link” to drug trafficking, says expert). 8 Mar 2012. http://www.andina.com.pe/Espanol/Noticia.aspx?id=AfYAHgwA788=#.UdIkLcsaySM
“Money laundering distorts Colombia’s economic comeback”
By Helen Murphy and Nelson Bocanegra
PUERTO NUEVO, Colombia | Tue May 28, 2013 2:09am EDT
Added for 4 July 2013
“Peru to fine miners for evading taxes via wildcatters”
Tues Apr 20, 2010. By Luis Andres Henao and Patricia Velez