Help is pouring into the Asian and African countries devastated by the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. The death toll is at least 150,000, and the exact number may never be known. There were five vacationing Canadians among the dead, and another 150 are missing. Survivors face the immediate threat of disease from contaminated water and starvation from the loss of the food supply chain.
Aid is pouring in. Canadian citizens have opened their wallets to the tune of over $65 million and sent the money to major relief organizations. The federal government has pledged $80 million and is sending its Disaster Assistance Response Team to Sri Lanka. DART will arrive with desperately-needed water purification machines as well as medical professionals and facilities.
Now word is coming from Canadian mining companies active in the affected region. INCO LTD. and PT INCO INDONESIA have made a joint donation of 5 billion Indonesian rupiah (about US$540,000) to relief efforts. PT Inco has a nickel mine on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and a head office in Jakarta. Peter Jones, who is PT Inco’s president commissioner as well as Inco’s president and COO, said in a news release, "The people of Indonesia and other nations of south and Southeast Asia have suffered devastating losses from this tragedy. Our thoughts are with them in the massive recovery and rebuilding effort that lies ahead."
WEDA BAY MINERALS reported that its project on the island of Halmahera was sheltered from the effects of the tsunami. The company has completed a prefeasibility study for its nickel/cobalt property.
WGI HEAVY MINERALS says its plants in Tamil Nadu, India, are fully operational and its plant site in Sri Lanka is intact. President and CEO Lindsay Gorrill said, "Because of our proximity to the devastation from the tsunamis, we were able to respond immediately to the health needs of survivors and are currently supplying food and safe water to nearly 2,000 people in the Ovari district of southern Tamil Nadu."
Other Canadian companies with mineral interests in the area are APOLO GOLD, AZURE RESOURCES, GOLDSTAKE EXPLORATIONS, KALIMANTAN GOLD, PACIFIC WILDCAT RESOURCES, TWIN MINING and WASECO RESOURCES in Indonesia; ALCAN and GOLDEN PATRIOT MINING in India; and AMANTA RESOURCES, ASIA PACIFIC RESOURCES and OLYMPUS PACIFIC MINERALS in Thailand. Most of their properties are in the prospective stages, and the companies have not commented on the effects of the tsunami.
CMJ thanks all our readers who have aided the relief effort. I sent a $25 donation to Care Canada. Again, we urge everyone who can to contribute. If you missed seeing the list published last week, we will repeat it.
CARE CANADA (www.care.ca)
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS (www.msf.org)
OXFAM CANADA (www.oxfam.ca)
UNICEF CANADA (www.unicef.ca)
WORLD VISION CANADA (www.worldvision.ca)