The Canadian province of Alberta is one of the largest oil producers in the world. Hydrocarbons are extracted from tar sands in enormously costly processes – either in open-cast mining or underground by injecting steam into the subsurface (in situ). This is not oil, but keroge, a kind of intermediate product that first has to be processed into artificial crude oil (Syncrude) for pipeline transport. The consequences for the region are devastating.
An excursion of MPIWG-Berlin in cooperation with the University of Calgary to Fort McMurray in June 2018 provided oppressive insights into the ecological, but almost more so into the social and almost colonial setting of this region. Canada’s oil and other natural resources depend to a considerable extent on the deprivation of rights and exploitation of the indigenous population. It is ‘first nations’ territories in which the most important mineral resources of the supposedly progressive country are mined. It is ‘first nations’ territories that will suffer for decades from the extraction.