“Flin Flon Flim Flam” takes an unflinching look into the operations of one of Canada’s oldest miners
InvestigativeMEDIA’s documentary “Flin Flon Flim Flam” on the worldwide operations of Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. and its plans to construct the Rosemont Copper Mine on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson, AZ, is now available online.
Produced by Arizona-based investigative reporter John Dougherty, the film premiered Oct. 18 at the Loft Cinema in Tucson and was broadcast on KGUN-9 on Dec. 13 in a special edition of Tucson’s weekly public affairs show ZonaPolitics.
Mr. Dougherty traveled to northern Manitoba to report on Hudbay’s historic operations, to the Guatemala highlands where Mayan peasants allege they are the victims of atrocities at the hands of Hudbay, and to the Peruvian Andes where Hudbay has clashed with the local community over the company’s largest operation, the Constancia Mine.
The film documents Hudbay’s history in Flin Flon, Manitoba, where the company operated Canada’s most polluting copper smelter for more than 80 years. The smelter contaminated the surrounding area with high levels of toxic metals including arsenic, mercury and lead before it was closed in 2010.
The film highlights Hudbay’s conflicts with indigenous people in Canada, Peru, Guatemala and Arizona. Hudbay is currently defending three civil suits stemming from its former operations in El Estor, Guatemala in a precedent-setting legal proceeding unfolding in Toronto. Hudbay stands accused of gang rapes, murder and a shooting that left a man paralyzed.
In Arizona, Hudbay is seeking state and federal permits to construct the Rosemont Copper Mine, which would be the third largest open-pit copper mine in the U.S. The documentary focuses on the key environmental, permitting and legal issues that Hudbay must overcome before construction could begin. The mine is projected to produce approximately six billion pounds of copper over 22 years.
The Rosemont Mine would dump waste rock and tailings on more than 3,000 acres of the Coronado National Forest in the biologically rich Santa Rita Mountains. One of several desert mountain ranges collectively know as “Sky Islands”, the Santa Ritas host a dozen threatened and endangered species that would be impacted by the mine. These include the only known wild jaguar in the United States that has been repeatedly photographed less than a mile from where the open pit would be blasted.
The documentary exposes how Hudbay is misleading its shareholders and regulators by failing to report a state court subsequently overturned a required air pollution permit was issued by Arizona regulators. The film highlights the regulatory hurdles Hudbay must clear, including obtaining a Clean Water Act permit from skeptical federal regulators.
Mr. Dougherty founded InvestigativeMEDIA in 2006 after 22 years as a financial and investigative reporter. He has been a contributor to the New York Times and named Arizona Journalist of the Year three times. He is a member of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Hall of Fame.© Copyright 2015 John Dougherty, All rights Reserved. Written For: Investigative MEDIA
iris Sullivan says
I grew up in Flin Flon my Father worked in the Smelter. My husband worked as an electrician at Hemlo Gold Fields near Marathon, Ontario. The workers were exposed to silica levels at over six hundred times legal limits at some points of operations. Majority of the workers now have lung disease kidney and heart as well as cancer. The laws cover the corporate pollution with lies spoken under oath and falsified documentation that is presented. MINING EMPLOYEES in Canada are treated no differently than third world mine site employees. Canadians are naive and believe the legal obligations are being observed bythe mining corporations. Time to understand lives have no value when it comes to corporate greed.
Elaine Taylor says
I would like to follow this story and documentary, as I was born and raised in Flin Flon…. My father worked as a miner for 33 years…
Can you tell me where the documentary is available to view????
John Dougherty says
The documentary is posted on the website and is also available here:
Billie Stanton Anleu says
Thank you for taking on this challenging investigation and producing such brilliant results. I hope justice will prevail in Guatemala, Peru and Manitoba, and may the beautiful Santa Ritas ecosystem of my homeland be left intact. Great work, John. Congratulations.