Este blog pretende expor e arquivar textos referentes a desenvolvimento e Justiça Sócio-Ambiental.
This blog intends to present and save texts concerning development and environmental justice.
Thursday, 15 November 2012
LAB, based in London, analyses the mining industry in Latin America
14 November 2012
Dear LAB supporter and friend,
MINING AND SOCIAL CONFLICT
year has seen a seemingly endless tide of bad news about mining from
every continent on the globe: reckless use of toxic chemicals;
contamination and threats to the environment; draining or diversion of
lakes and rivers; voracious demand for energy; construction of roads and
railways to the detriment of vulnerable ecosystems; bitter and
sometimes lethal labour conflicts; co-option of police and security
forces to protect company facilities; the long-lasting social costs of
wild-west style mining camps and towns.
however, in many of the news stories has been the active role played by
local communities, no longer willing to be passive bystanders in
processes that threaten their future, nor to accept at face value the
promises of jobs and development. Nowhere has this protest been more
marked than in Latin America.
a masterly overview for LAB of the deepening contradictions involved in
mining development, Luis Claps, The Editor of Mines and Communities
takes an extensive sweep through the Region, charting the numerous
mining projects and the problems and conflicts they create. Read more. Luis’ article contains links to detailed news stories published on www.minesandcommunities.org. LAB was also assisted in preparing this newsletter by London Mining Network, whose own excellent newsletter includes numerous reports from Latin America.
idea of the scale of mining operations is given by an interactive map
of the operations of Canadian mining companies just in Central America. Read more.
course, mining is only one (although arguably the most destructive) of
the ‘extractive industries’. There is keen debate throughout Latin
America, especially in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Peru and
Venezuela, about the dilemma confronting progressive governments for
whom licensing of extraction appears to offer the only means of
fulfilling their promises of social programmes in health, education and
family support—the so-called ‘brown left’ option. Earlier this year the
Uruguayan commentator Eduardo Gudynas gave an interview on this topic to
the Spanish journal ECOS. Read more. Similar questions are posed by Raúl Zibechi, who asks: “Will Latin America be the new Middle East?” Read more.
LAB will return to this topic in the coming months and we hope to
dedicate a newsletter soon to the wider issues of extraction.
Argentina, communities in Tinogasta, Catamarca province, have been
mounting a selective blockade of the highways leading to major mining
developments in the area. They have formulated a ‘Plan Cerro Negro’ to
pursue a blockade that has attracted nationwide support. Read more.
An interview with a local activist gives an idea of how local residents
feel about the mining company, Minera Alumbrera (jointly owned by
Xstrata, Goldcorp and Yamana Gold), and the progress of the blockade. Read more.
Colombia, mining projects, like almost every aspect of life in the
countryside, have been implicated in the country’s interminable and
bloody civil war. Behind the combatants stand the companies that provide
equipment, transport, guards, armaments and the incentives to seize and
exploit land and mineral rights. Patrick Kane of War on Want, has
examined the role played by the City of London in financing some of
these. Read more.
Mining sector publications can sound positively euphoric about
development possibilities, particularly in the Middle Cauca region. Read more.
However, key to resolving conflicts with communities remains a process
of genuine consultation. Small (artisanal) and medium-scale projects can
offer better and ultimately less destructive potential than the
mega-projects beloved of government and the multi-national lenders. Read more.
Peru, communities around the town of Espinar took to the streets in May
to complain about the activities of Swiss mining firm XStrata which
runs a huge copper mine at Tintaya, which it took over from BHP Billiton
in 2006. Despite clashes with police which left two dead and over 100
injured, negotiations have resumed. The company has made some commitment
to financing social projects and maintaining meaningful dialogue with
community leaders. Read more.
In the north of the country, however, Monterrico Metals, listed on the
London Metals Exchange, but owned since 2007 by Chinese mining giant
Zijin Mining Group, chose to settle out of court for a very modest sum
judged sufficient to divide and disarm its opponents. Read more.
there is a lively debate about the relative demerits of large-scale and
artisanal mining. The latter is often blamed by environmentalists for
the indiscriminate use of toxic chemicals, total lack of provision for
restoring ravaged landscape and poor safety record. A detailed report
from Peru Support Group weighs up the pros and cons. Read more.
conflicts are often presented as simple bilateral confrontations
between victims (workers, trade unions, communities, ethnic groups) and
perpetrators (the mining companies, corrupt local officials, distant
national governments, security forces). Reality, however, is often much
more complex. In Bolivia, short-sighted government policies have had the
unintended consequence of pitting mining employees and their trade
union against small-scale co-operative producers (Read more). This has
provoked sharp discussion on the left. Read more.
Become a LAB Partner
America Bureau (LAB) is extending a cordial invitation to NGOs, CSOs
and others in the Region (as well as Aid Agencies, Campaigns, Human
Rights and Solidarity groups concerned with the Region) to become LAB
Partners. LAB will list Partners, with a brief Profile of each, where
they work, their objectives, contact details, website links, etc., on
the Partners Page of LAB's website (www.lab.org.uk)
is no cost. The Partner simply completes a very brief survey and signs
the agreement. LAB will then add them to the listing of LAB Partners.
our work develops, we hope to publish links to websites and articles
with news of the Partners' work and campaigns; to launch discussions and
blogs through which the Partners can communicate with one another; to
provide training material and skills to help Partners to improve their
communication skills; and to build an e-Library of links to articles and
reports on campaigns and themes of common interest.
To become a LAB Partner, simply click the appropriate link below and complete the Survey and Agreement:
annual trade union-sponsored conference on Latin America has
established itself as a fixture in the London solidarity calendar. This
year’s conference on December 12 includes a workshop by LAB editors Sue Branford and Francis McDonagh on 'New Threats to the Brazilian Amazon'.