MAC: Mines and Communities

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Published by MAC on 2004-10-15

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Third International Women and Mining Conference

1st-9th October 2004, India


1. We oppose the present global economics and processes of liberalization, deregulation and privatization of our natural and mineral resources and challenge the paradigms of sustainable development which impose the current mining activities on our countries and communities and workers by the transnational corporations and national governments.

2. We demand that our governments and the mining industry admit the social, cultural, economic, livelihood, physical, ecological and sexual abuses on women and children as a result of mining operations and projects so far undertaken in each of our countries and demand that they take accountability and responsibility for all the losses and suffering experienced in existing and abandoned mines all over the world. We demand cleaning up of our lands, rivers, forests and compensation for our injuries, ill-health, proper rehabilitation for the loss of livelihoods, especially of women affected and women working in the mines.

3. We reject the mining operations of national and transnational corporations that destroy our lands, fragment our societies, displace our communities, perpetrate violence and conflict and influence the legal and policy frameworks in all our countries in order to gain access to the mineral resources. Therefore, from our gender perspective, we believe in harnessing our own resources and demand the withdrawal of these companies, where demanded by communities and that governments promote public sector or community/workers' ownership of mining.

4. We oppose the retrenchment and marginalisation of women mine workers and demand for their inclusion in the formal and organized sector and demand that they be protected by legislative, executive and judicial norms and safeguards in order to promote the full exercise of their rights to dignity of life, incomes and healthy work environment.

5. We reiterate the significance of indigenous peoples, especially indigenous women, their cultures and knowledge systems and reject the present models of development being imposed on them through mining. The indigenous peoples must have a right to free, prior and informed consent with regard to the utilization of lands, forests, waters and other resources in their territories and to the choice of livelihoods and development activities with or without mining. We oppose the amendment of existing protective legislations of the indigenous peoples under the influence of privatization and transnational lobbies for exploitation of the mineral resources.

6. We support the rights of indigenous peoples and communities as owners and stakeholders to the mineral resources under their land and territories. If mining should exist communities must have priority and first right of exploiting the mineral resources.

7. We demand the recognition of artisanal, traditional and community mining where women play an important part, and that governments provide economic support, development facilities, technology interface, safety measures and market linkages to improve the condition of the women miners and their environment.

8. We oppose the use of waters, oceans and lands for the dumping of mine tailings and call for a complete ban on riverine and sub-marine tailings disposal and mining in sacred sites, cultural lands and protected areas because they directly impact the livelihoods and sentiments of women.

9. Transnational mining companies must not be allowed to implement projects, use processes and commit violations that are prohibited in their own countries.

10. Where countries and communities have alternative economies to mining, we demand for national governments to support the priority of other land based economies that communities choose over mining. All communities must have the right to reject mining.

11. The revenue made by the mining industry should be made available or returned to the people to be invested back in the development of the local community.

12. We demand gender just and responsible mining in existing mines and where communities choose to have mining.

13. We demand for the right of women to participate in community decision making and for governments and companies to provide proper, timely and detailed gender disagregated information for the entire project cycle from proposal to post closure stages, and the full disclosure of all risk assessments on demand. Women in communities and women mine workers should be given the right of reviewing the projects during the process of mining.

14. Governments must not allow closure or abandonment of mines without the industry first cleaning up and taking responsibility for rehabilitation of the workers and the community and the environment in a sustainable manner. Rehabilitation and compensation of communities and workers before and after mine closure should particularly include women whether with regard to land ownership, employment, alternative livelihoods or development activities.

15. We state that the mining industry is as legally and socially responsible as our governments are for the child labour directly or indirectly working in the mining sector and demand that they immediately abolish child labour while providing sustainable alternative incomes for their families and education opportunities for the children.

16. We demand for positive gender sensitive public policies and laws nationally and internationally which protect, safeguard and promote the rights of women mine workers and local communities. Existing laws and regulations that discriminate in respect of gender must be amended.

17. We demand that it be made mandatory for governments and mining companies to undertake independent and periodical gender impact assessment and gender audits in addition to social impact assessments of mining projects and present these to local communities and public/civil society before any new projects are permitted.

18. We dispute the current methods of valuation of mining projects and demand that multi criteria analysis of mining projects be undertaken from a gender and ecological perspective and to provide for legal safeguards and guidelines for communities' consent or objections.

19. The international laws that protect women and provide for sex discrimination on the basis of gender must be implemented and enforced by our governments and applied in respect of mining.

20. We demand for the active participation and equality of women in the decision-making processes at all levels in the context of mining.

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