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Book Chapter

The emperor’s new clothes: sustainable mining?

By
Andy Whitmore
Andy Whitmore
Mines and Community Network, 41 Thornhill Square, London N1 1BE, UK (e-mail: web@minesandcommunities.org)
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Published:
January 01, 2005

Abstract

Over the last few years, the idea of ‘sustainable mining’ has, thanks to industry sponsorship, been working its way into the agenda of many international processes. There is now a push in many countries to invite in multinational mining companies with the idea that there is a ‘new, sustainable mining’ that is different from the old, bad practices of the past. Yet what has actually changed in the industry to match this shift in rhetoric? From the perspective of mine-affected communities, nothing seems to have changed. Their land is still being taken from them without giving their free, prior and informed consent, and they are suffering the same ill effects on their ways of life, health and environment. This paper will illustrate, using case studies from the Philippines and West Papua, how under this rhetoric, the mining industry ‘emperor’ has the same old naked ambitions. This paper intends to look at how ‘sustainable mining’ is perceived from the viewpoint of mines-affected communities and their supporters. Ideally a representative of such a community should be writing this, but as this was not possible, I am writing this as a member of the editorial board of Mines and Communities (MAC). (MAC is a network of organizations across the world seeking to empower mining-affected communities in their struggles against damaging proposals and projects. More information on Mines and Communities, including the members of its editorial board, can be viewed at http://www.minesandcommunities.org.) Many of the communities MAC works with are made up of indigenous (or first, aboriginal) peoples, who have been unfairly disadvantaged by mineral development on or near their land. The paper will therefore concentrate to some extent on the issues of indigenous communities.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World

B. R. Marker
B. R. Marker
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, UK
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M. G. Petterson
M. G. Petterson
British Geological Survey, UK
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F. McEvoy
F. McEvoy
British Geological Survey, UK
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M. H. Stephenson
M. H. Stephenson
British Geological Survey, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
250
ISBN electronic:
9781862394988
Publication date:
January 01, 2005

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