Jatam Position Regarding MMSD ReportPublished by MAC on 2001-04-23
Jatam Position Regarding MMSD Report
Due to recent discussions among our friends and networks over MMSD and the extent of our role in countering MMSD's draft report, we would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our position that we refuse to be involved in the MMSD process.
Mining has alienated communities and caused environmental destruction in various corners of the world. We would like to provide a brief background on how mining has done such in Indonesia.
At the moment, 35% of Indonesian land is taken up by mining concessions. This figure includes 1108 mining companies with rights to 66,891,496 hectares of land. This figure does not include Class C mining which includes sand and marble mines.
Large-scale, foreign-owned mining, oil and gas companies such as Rio Tinto, Total FinaElf, Unocal, Inco, Newmont, and many more, are to blame for much of the devastation and conflict reported in Indonesia that continues up to this day without any relief. This includes but is not limited to:
- Numerous severe human rights violations
- Massive and irreversible environmental destruction
- Severe negative impacts on women and children; increased incidents of violence, poorer quality of life
- Alienation of indigenous and local community rights to land, mineral resources, culture and traditional institutions
- Increased militarization in mining areas
- Increased corruption
- Destruction of areas of high biodiversity like protected areas
- Destruction of fragile ecosystems including the disappearance of small islands.
- The loss of local livelihoods as a result of restricted access to resources.
- Serious health problems caused by pollution from mining activities.
The MMSD report claims that the recommendations and agendas for actions are with the goal of moving the industry towards a more sustainable path. However, at the same time in Indonesia, the mining industry is pressuring the Indonesian government to open up its remaining protected areas for mining, threatening to take their investments elsewhere and has gone so far as to threaten to bring the government to international arbitration. The Indonesian Department of Energy and Mineral Resources has recently bowed to this pressure and has declared that mining will be allowed to go ahead in 11.4 million hectares of protected forests and conservation areas.
It is important to remember that the Global Mining Initiative (GMI) was launched by several multinational mining companies, in an attempt to silence the mounting critics over the industry's poor environmental, economic, social and human rights record. GMI's action plan consists of three parts:
1. The Mining, Minerals & Sustainable Development (MMSD) Project.
2. A global conference entitled, Resourcing the Future, scheduled to be held in Toronto in mid May 2002. The conference will conclude the formal work of the GMI and prepare the mining industry for its contribution to Rio+10.
3. Creation of a representative structure to put forth their "sustainable development agenda".
Based on these considerations, we regard the threat of being any way involved in their process as an opportunity for the industry to gain legitimation of their activities. The dangers of this has been apparent with MMSD recruiting various individuals and groups in attempt to show that all groups have been involved in the process. However, particularly, groups from Asia Pacific and Central America have been stronger in their rejection of the process and thus MMSD has failed to gain any legitimation in these areas. Therefore, we urge that support be given to these groups that have thus far been successful in countering the initiatives of the industry.
JATAM has delegitimized MMSD by working outside of the mining industry's frameworks and encourages other groups to do the same.
A long, detailed study of the draft MMSD report is not needed to find that the report does not incorporate sustainability since it does not include the following commitments that we regard as conducive to sustainability:
- Ban on submarine and riverine tailings disposal.
- Ban on mining activities in protected areas and areas of high biodiversity.
- Ban on mining activities in fragile ecosystems like small islands.
- An end to involvement with corrupt and repressive regimes.
- A commitment to cease advocating the weakening of environmental regulations, labour, and indigenous rights.
- A genuine commitment to mineral resource conservation measures (which would reduce mineral demand and the need for new mines) rather than promoting increased production and resource consumption.
- Moratorium on mining and new mining licenses in areas (like Indonesia) where mineral policies and activities do not consider the rights of local communities and the sustainable values of ecosystems.
Moreover, the MMSD report does not recognize that mining will never be sustainable.
We hope that this letter clarifies our position and rallies support from friends seeking similar goals of stopping the mining industry's interventions to be regarded as a 'sustainable industry.'
Jaringan Advokasi Tambang