Construction raw materials in Timor Leste and sustainable development
Jorge F. Carvalho, José V. Lisboa, 2005. "Construction raw materials in Timor Leste and sustainable development", Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World, B. R. Marker, M. G. Petterson, F. McEvoy, M. H. Stephenson
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Timor Leste is the newest and one of the poorer nations in the world. One of its main challenges that could lead to poverty reduction is the reconstruction and maintenance of the infrastructures that were almost completely destroyed after its independence referendum. To achieve this, there is an imperative need for construction raw materials in a country where the extractive industry is scarce and artisanal. Available geological studies deal with the island’s geology and tectonic evolution or its oil and gas potentialities. Very few broach other geological resources. A general study of the country’s territory demonstrates that Timor Leste possesses large resources in clays, limestones and sand and gravel, which can support small- to large-scale raw material extractive industries. Some selected areas have been the target of more detailed study: Venilale and Aileu, with resources for structural ceramics and whiteware respectively, and Beheda, where a crinoid-rich limestone crops out, with potential for usage as ornamental stone. These resources are suitable for non-sophisticated small-scale mining operations that should be able to accomplish environmental and social liabilities. No public policy exists for the management of these mineral resources, which is essential for the sustainable development of Timor Leste.
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Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World
The sustainable development of minerals, which are non-renewable resources, is a major challenge in today’s world. In this regard the true definition of sustainability’ is a debating point in itself: can such a concept exist with respect to non-renewable resources? Perhaps the ideal sustainability model is one that minimizes negative environmental impact and maximizes benefits to society, the economy and regional/national development. Developed and near-developed economies rely for commodity supplies on developing countries where major mining operations are often a mainstay of the domestic economy. Limited environmental regulation and low wages lead to charges of exploitation. Also, large numbers of people have no alternative to living by informal, often dangerous, ‘artisanal’ mining. This Special Publication gives examples from developing countries at all scales of mineral extraction. The volume reviews environmental, economic, health and social problems and highlights the need to solve these before sustainability can be achieved. The better solutions require mutual understanding, through full involvement of all stakeholders, education, training and investment so that small-scale ansd artisinal mines can grow into well-managed operations. At larger scales, most major interantional mining companies have now inoproved their practices and are monitoring their progress, although there is no room for complacency in this rapidly changing area.