Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Atrocity in Denver: Newmont mining 'humanitarian' award

On August 30, the University of Denver held a banquet at the ballroom inside the ritzy Marriott City Center as a fundraiser as well as to celebrate this year’s International Bridge Builder Award winner.

The award goes out to those humanitarians who have “distinguished themselves as builders of ties between Colorado and the world beyond our national frontiers.” And the lucky winner? Wayne Murdy, the CEO of Newmont Mining; one of the largest gold mining companies in the world and also one of the most notorious polluters and violators of indigenous peoples’ rights.

University of Denver and Democrats Award Gold Mining Company's Atrocious Record with a Humanitarian Award

by Colorado Indymedia

On August 30, the University of Denver held a banquet at the ballroom inside the ritzy Marriott City Center as a fundraiser as well as to celebrate this year’s International Bridge Builder Award winner. The award goes out to those humanitarians who have “distinguished themselves as builders of ties between Colorado and the world beyond our national frontiers.” And the lucky winner? Wayne Murdy, the CEO of Newmont Mining; one of the largest gold mining companies in the world and also one of the most notorious polluters and violators of indigenous peoples’ rights. To add insult to injury, the night was MCed by Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State under President Clinton, who amongst other things said on 60 Minutes that the sanctions on Iraq that lead to the deaths of over 500,000 children was “worth it.” The ceremony was also attended by Democratic Governor Bill Ritter who told the audience that Newmont Mining is a “good corporate citizen.” It should not come as a surprise to see Democrats cozying up to the company; Newmont just donated $260,000 to the Democratic National Convention being hosted in Denver a year from now.Outside the hotel, people protested the utter hypocrisy of awarding the CEO of Newmont Mining a humanitarian award. An effigy of Murdy was given the more appropriate award of a citation for building Newmont’s bridge on a foundation of human rights and environmental abuses. Others voiced their outrage at dinner attendees, DU students burned their degrees and Newmont stockholders burned their stock certificates. Awon Atuire, representative of the Ghanan group Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining was also there to speak to Newmont’s practices in his country which includes the displacement of 10,000 farmers. The activists also found a more fitting person to receive what they called the “REAL International Bridge Builder’s Award” to Western Shoshone elder Carrie Dann. Originally the ceremony was to be held in the Marriott’s Molly Brown room, but hotel changed its tune at the last minute stating a “conflict of interest to a current piece of business.” Dann was instead honored on the public sidewalk for her continued activism in support of her people. In response to Newmont Mining and its operations in Shoshone ancestral lands Dann stated that, “Newmont has done nothing to address the impact of their operations on the ongoing human rights violations against the Western Shoshone.”

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