Papua New Guinea is a part of the world that few Canadians ever think about. But for the people of Porgera, their lives have been shaped by the decisions of Canadian companies. It’s hard to wrap your head around the atrocities that people in Porgera have suffered over the last thirty year. Environmental devastation. Murder as a matter of course. Hundreds of women and girls who have been raped. So why is Barrick Gold, the company that has operated the mine for the last decade and a half, still celebrated across the country? And why is Barrick’s founder, Peter Munk, still viewed as a philanthropic and corporate icon?
Attawapiskat has become famous across Canada and around the world. Not for the natural beauty that surrounds it, or for the Cree culture of the people who live there. Instead, it’s become a byword for the toxic legacy of Canadian colonialism. But while Attawapiskat faced crisis after crisis, the community was sitting on a literal diamond mine run by the world’s most famous mining company. So why is it that a community rich in diamonds is so poor? And why did the government and De Beers do so little to help them through?
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