MAC: Mines and Communities

Statement from the AlterNATIVE Mining Indaba 2011

Published by MAC on 2011-02-21
Source: AlterNATIVE Mining Indaba, Norwegian Church Aid Alliance

Statement from the AlterNATIVE Mining Indaba 2011

The AlterNATIVE Mining Indaba, The Fountains Hotel, Cape Town (7th -9th February 2011)

10 February 2011


We, members of Civil Society, having gathered at the alternative Mining Indaba, in Cape Town on 7th -9th February 2011, comprising faith based organisations, NGOs and community based organisations from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Guatemala, Tanzania, Kenya, Swaziland, Zambia, the Netherlands, Norway, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, hereby label the so-called ‘Official Mining Indaba' 2011 as a gathering of exploitative profit mongers due to the glaring lack of attention paid to vital elements such as environmental degradation, deepening of poverty, slippages in the quality of life and concentrating instead on the reckless pursuit of profit at any cost. CSR-CSI hardly features in the official conference, which confirms our view that much of CSR is green-washing.

Having deliberated for three days on the negative impacts of mining on communities and the environment, we issue a clarion call on all Parliaments and governmental agencies to live up to their mandated roles by speaking out and acting on behalf of ultimate beneficiaries i.e. the people of the land.

We deplore the creation and perpetuation of impoverishment which continues to afflict our communities who have not received tangible benefits from mining in stark contrast to the fortunes garnered by elitist Corporations and their lackeys.

The delegates further resolved that:

We hereby avow our commitment to the above stated issues and pledge our on-going support on the same with unflinching resolve and adamance!

Declared and endorsed at the AlterNATIVE Mining Indaba held in Cape Town, Republic of South Africa in February 2011 by:

African church leader challenges international mining companies

Norwegian Church Aid Alliance

3 February 2011

The president of the All Africa Conference of Churches confront the injustice in extractive industries when opening the 2011 Alternative Mining Indaba.

When more than 4000 delegates from more than 800 international mining companies and 40 governments get together to talk business at the Mining Indaba, Norwegian Church Aid and its partners Economic Justice Network (EJN) and Benchmarks Foundation bring in the human aspects of mining forth, by arranging the ‘Alternative Mining Indaba'. Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa, the President of the All Africa Conference of Churches, will officially open the 2011 Alternative Mining Indaba.

- The extractive industries sector has acquired notoriety for being non-transparent and unaccountable. Most problems in the extractive industries are often in developing countries where minerals and oil are being extracted in communities and the proceeds do not benefit these communities.

The Archbishop will attend the Alternative Mining Indaba together with participants from Africa and Latin-America, and the venue is just few streets away from the official Mining Indaba which is held annually at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The Mining Indaba is the world's largest gathering of mining decision-makers. The Alternative Indaba seeks to challenge mining Indaba by bringing the real life human aspects to the conference, to confront the injustice rampant in extractive industries.

Victims of mining

The problems with extractive industries are similar across Africa and other developing nations. Testimonies from members of affected communties across the whole continent shows that the mining industry brings unfulfilled promises, environmental degradation (soil, water contamination), threatens livelihoods, health hazards poor housing provided as alternative accommodation for displaced communities (hostels in South Africa), poor working conditions for the few who secure employment and negative effects on women, households and communities in general.

Large-scale mobilization

Such testimonies played an important role at the first ‘Alternative Mining Indaba' arranged in 2010, which aimed to bring human life and dignity into the mining business. More than 50 people attended the one day event which attracted significant media attention. The 2011 event will be bigger and lasts for 3 days. Participants from Angola, Guatemala, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are expected to attend, and pressure for change in the mining sector.

The key objectives of the Alternative Mining Indaba are to:

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