MAC: Mines and Communities

London Declaration

Published by MAC on 2001-09-20
Source: MAC London Conference 2001 ()

* Refuting the unsustainable claims of the mining industry
* Opposing current models of "engagement"
* Demanding full recognition of community rights

We - twenty four representatives of communities and groups affected by mining from Asia-Pacific, Africa, India, South and North America - met in London from May 18-23rd 2001, to compare the impacts of mining on the lives of communities and ecosystems and to share strategies on how to confront the industry.

London is the minerals capital of world, where a major proportion of global capital investment in mining is raised and the most active metals trading takes place. It is here that the international headquarters of some of the major mining companies are located, and that recent initiatives have been launched, seeking to persuade the "international community" that the minerals industry can continue many of its unacceptable practices. These initiatives include the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development programme (MMSD) which is supported by more than thirty leading mining companies, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

We have seen our peoples suffering for many years from mining in all stages and forms, and from exploration to development through to abandonment. Industrial mining has caused grievous pain and irreparable destruction to our culture, our identities and our very lives. Our traditional lands have been taken, and the wealth seized, without our consent or benefit.

Invariably mining imposed upon our communities has poisoned our waters, destroyed our livelihoods and our food sources, disrupted our social relationships, created sickness and injury in our families. Often our communities have been divided by 'imported' civil conflicts. Increasing mechanisation has denied many of us a role we once had as mineworkers.

In recent years the mining industry has become more aggressive and sophisticated in manipulating national and international laws and policies to suit its interests. The mining laws of more than seventy countries have been changed in the past two decades. Laws protecting indigenous peoples and the environment are undermined. Structural adjustment programmes have forced many governments to liberalise capital flow for mining expansion. Their role has turned away from responsibility for the well-being of their citizens to becoming servants of the global corporations.

As a result, community resistance has significantly increased; at many sites partnerships have formed between workers and local people. In response the industry has panicked, undertaking a massive public information campaign extolling the virtues of large-scale mining, and promoting self-selected and self-regulated "codes of conduct".

The latest in the series of corporate-led propaganda offensives is the Global Mining Initiative (GMI), which was initially proposed by three major mining companies, and aimed at influencing the "Rio + 10" UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in South Africa in May 2002. The GMI has a three-pronged agenda: the self-styled research and "dialogue" programme - Mines, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD); a global conference called "Resourcing Our Future" and the establishment of a new international pro-mining organisation.

These initiatives promote at least four half truths or myths:

(i) the supposed need for more and more minerals from ever more mines;
(ii) the claim that mining catalyses development;
(iii) the belief that technical fixes can solve almost all problems; and
(iv) the inference that those opposed to mining mainly comprise ignorant and "anti-development" communities and NGOs.

Our experience emphatically belies these assumptions.

We now demand the following:

1) A moratorium on new large-scale mining projects in greenfield areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America;

2) Companies must clean up the terrible damage caused by their past and current mines, without drawing on public funds, and be held morally, legally and financially responsible for their misdeeds;

3) The World Bank/IMF cease funding of industry-initiated mining codes which are imposed on the governments of Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America;

4) Mandatory higher standards in all mining;

5) That surface and subsurface rights of indigenous peoples and all mining-affected communities be unequivocally respected and enforced, as well as their right to veto unacceptable projects.

We seek solidarity from civil society and specifically from development and environment NGOs, in response to the global outcry from communities affected by mining. We ask these organisations:

1) To ensure that mining-affected communities are fully informed in advance on all aspects of mining and minerals projects and empowered to speak for themselves in response;

2) To refuse to participate in initiatives, such as MMSD, which are primarily spearheaded by the industry to serve its own purposes;

3) To advocate for politically and legally enforceable measures that will hold the mining industry accountable, above all to mining and exploration-affected communities.

Original signatories to the Declaration on September 20 2001 (in alphabetical order):

Armando Perez Araujo YANAMA (Colombia)
Ms K Bhanumathi MINES, MINERALS AND PEOPLE, and ASIA-PACIFIC WOMEN AND MINING NETWORK (India)
Abu A. Brima NETWORK MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT (Sierra Leone)
Ms Joji Carino, TEBTEBBA FOUNDATION (Philippines) and PIPLINKS (England)
Catalino Corpuz, MINEWATCH ASIA-PACIFIC and TEBTEBBA FOUNDATION (Philippines)
Vicky Corpuz, TEBTEBBA FOUNDATION (Philippines)
Abdulai Darimani, THIRD WORLD NETWORK AFRICA (Ghana)
Xavier Dias, MINES, MINERALS AND PEOPLE (India)
Jose De Echave, COOPERACION (Peru)
Remedios Fajardo, YANAMA (Colombia)
Tito Natividad Fiel, DCMI (Philippines)
Yenis Gutierrez, YANAMA (Colombia)
Esther Hinostroza, CONSORCIO UNES (Peru)
Joan Kuyek, MININGWATCH CANADA (Canada)
Chalid Muhammad, JATAM (Indonesia)
Adam Rankin, CENSAT AGUA VIVA (Colombia)
Ravi Rebbapragada, MINES, MINERALS AND PEOPLE (India)
Hendro Sangkoyo, JATAM (Indonesia)
Ramamurty Sreedhar, MINES, MINERALS AND PEOPLE (India)
Roch Tasse, MININGWATCH CANADA (Canada)
Hildebrando Velez G., CENSAT AGUA VIVA (Colombia)
Jo M Villaneuva, LRC-KSK (Friends of the Earth - Philippines)
Andry Wisaya, JATAM (Indonesia)
Peter Yeboah, WACAM (Ghana)

Additional signatories (of representatives of communities and groups affected by mining from Asia-Pacific, Africa, India, South and North America):-

Joan Carling, CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE (Philippines)
Xiong Chuhu, HMONG UNITED LIBERATION FRONT (Laos)
Nengfue Lee, HMONG UNITED LIBERATION FRONT (Laos)
Gabriel Rivas-Ducca, COECOCEIBA-FoE COSTA RICA (Costa Rica)
Bon Xiong, HMONG INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (Laos)
Laura Xiong, HMONG INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (Laos)
Yang, HMONG UNITED FOR FREEDOM

Supported by:

Techa Beaumont, MINERALS POLICY INSTITUTE (Australia)
Frances Carr, DOWN TO EARTH: THE CAMPAIGN FOR ECOLOGICAL JUSTICE IN INDONESIA (England)
Stuart Kirsch, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN (USA)
Roger Moody, PARTIZANS (England)
Frank Nally, SOCIETY OF ST. COLUMBAN (England)
Geoff Nettleton, PIPLINKS (England)
Richard Solly, PARTIZANS (London)
Cam Walker, FoE AUSTRALIA (Australia)

Released for publication on September 20 2001

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