Rally hostile to the Montagne d'Or project, June 16, 2018 Cayenne. – NICOLAS QUENDEZ / SIPA

The "Golden Mountain" continues to be controversial. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination of the United Nations has expressed its concern about this mining project in
French Guiana, believing that it was threatening the rights of indigenous peoples.

In a letter dated 14 December, made public on Thursday by the NGO "International Service for Human Rights", the Committee claims to have received information indicating "lack of consultation and lack of free, prior informed of the indigenous populations of French Guiana regarding the "Montagne d'Or" mining project.

"This project would violate the rights of indigenous people"

According to the Committee, no consultation of these populations is undertaken "despite the negative impact of the mining project on the control and use of indigenous populations of their lands, including threats to ecosystems, deforestation and archaeological sites ".

If this information is confirmed, the Committee considers that "this project would violate the rights of the indigenous peoples of French Guiana who are protected by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination", according to the text of the letter addressed to the French mission to the UN Geneva.

"Ensure" the consultation of indigenous peoples

Consequently, the Committee calls on France to provide information on the measures put in place to "ensure the right" of the indigenous populations to be consulted, in particular through a "social and environmental impact study" with their "Effective participation".

He also asked France to provide information on his "reflections on the suspension of the project until free, prior and informed consent could be obtained".

A controversial gold mine

The "Montagne d'Or" project, the largest project of the French open pit gold mine, is led by a consortium of Russian Nordgold and Canadian Columbus Gold. It must develop near Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni.

Supported by the local employers as well as by some of the elected representatives including the president of the territorial collectivity of Guyana, Rodolphe Alexandre, he is strongly fought by the environmental protection associations and the Amerindian organizations of Guyana.

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