Protests planned for Inco sites world wide

Oct. 6, 2003

Canadian Press

TORONTO An environmental group plans to hold protests Tuesday at sites around the world operated by mining giant Inco Ltd. to call attention to what they say are the company's "inferior environmental practices."

"Inco remains the worst mining polluter in Canada," Dr. Rick Smith of Environmental Defence Canada said in a news release.

"Inco has also left a legacy of pollution and environmental destruction around the world."

Canadian protests were planned for Port Colborne, Ont.; Sudbury, Ont.; Toronto, Thompson, Man.; St. John's, Nfld.; Halifax and Prince Edward Island.

Abroad, demonstrations were planned in London, Indonesia, New Caledonia, Guatemala, Australia, Japan and Wales. In New York, a meeting of Wall Street financial analysts being addressed by Inco chairman Scott Hand on Tuesday has also been targeted by the group.

Officials at Inco could not immediately be reached for comment.

Inco is the western world's biggest nickel producer, with its Sudbury complex producing nine per cent of the world's supply of the metal.

A provincial Environment Ministry survey in 1999 found 25 Port Colborne properties near an Inco refinery were contaminated with nickel levels high enough to pose a potential health risk to toddler-aged children.

The company has until the end of next year to clean the properties and complete further soil testing.

A $750-million class-action lawsuit launched by area residents in 2001 was dismissed before it could begin because it failed to meet key legal tests. The residents have since filed an appeal, but courts have not yet issued a decision.