Local businesses, Indigenous leaders, and environmental groups were unable to provide comment and ask questions during the event video, later buried by the company
The Conglomerate Mesa Coalition
The Conglomerate Mesa Coalition comprises a diverse group of organizations, tribal nations, and local businesses that support the immediate protection of Conglomerate Mesa for the land’s cultural, historical, conservation, and recreation values from extractive industries like mining.
LONE PINE, Calif., April 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Wednesday, March 24th, Mojave Precious Metals and K2 Gold (KTO.V) hosted a virtual “Community Town Hall” about their upcoming road construction and exploratory drilling at National Conservation Lands site Conglomerate Mesa. With roughly 200 people in attendance, community members were eager to share their perspectives and ask company representatives questions. Attendees quickly found that this Town Hall was anything but community-oriented.
“When our local community joined the K2 Gold/Mojave Precious Metals Zoom Town Hall, we showed up to locked comment boxes and hidden screens. All you could see was the company. Everyone who attended the meeting was completely in the dark about who else was there and what questions were being asked,” said Jeremiah Joseph, Cultural Monitor for the Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe. “The community sat alone in their homes and listened to the company talk at us, rather than talk with us.”
In the first half of the presentation, the company provided background on their staff and the drilling program at Conglomerate Mesa. In the final half of the meeting, local leaders and community groups began adding comments and questions via Facebook, where the event was live-streamed. The comment section amassed nearly 400 comments by the end of the presentation, almost all of which in opposition to exploration at Conglomerate Mesa.
Fifteen minutes after the presentation, the company deleted all records of the Facebook Live video and deleted all comments made during the presentation. Local groups recorded the webinar and awkward Q&A where management struggled through filtered questions completely dodging relevant environmental and operational concerns like water sourcing.
“People need to understand that this company is attempting to bury the voices of opposition to their project,” said Wendy Schneider, Executive Director of Friends of the Inyo. “It seems these companies are not interested in actually addressing any of the concerns raised by the community. For example, locals are legitimately concerned about water, which is such a precious resource around here. The company would not answer questions about where it would legitimately obtain water for an expanded exploration, or for a mine.”
Many are calling attention to the fact that the company does not have the formal support of local Tribal Nations. “The company claims to have great working relationships with the local tribes,” said Kathy Bancroft, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe. “The Lone Pine Tribe has a General Council form of government, meaning all tribal members vote on support or opposition to a project. The tokenizing of one or two voices within the tribe does not constitute support of the Lone Pine Tribe for their exploratory drilling”.
“I think what broke my heart the most about the presentation is that the landscape in question, Conglomerate Mesa, was not mentioned until 41 minutes into the webinar” continues Jeremiah Joseph. “Boxing people into debates or pro-mine or anti-mine or pro-jobs or anti-jobs is a disservice to the landscape. This is a site-specific issue. Why Conglomerate Mesa? For me, it’s the homeland of my people and it deserves our protection.”
For ongoing updates on Conglomerate Mesa visit protectconglomeratemesa.com.
Background on the Conglomerate Mesa Coalition
The Conglomerate Mesa Coalition comprises a diverse group of organizations, tribal nations, and local businesses that support the immediate protection of Conglomerate Mesa for the land’s cultural, historical, conservation, and recreation values from extractive industries like mining. For more information click here.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/520ac8cf-45c3-4e38-8313-f8b8aa9db7d2
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