Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Heart of Our Earth

Community Resistance to Mining in Latin America

What is 'The Heart of Our Earth'?

  • A book. Due to be published by LAB and Practical Action Publishing in 2022, it will be written in compelling, straightforward language you don’t need to be an expert to read, it will chart the activities of multinational mining companies in Latin America, the effects on local communities, and the ways in which they are resisting and fighting back.
  • A website. This website provides a space for additional reading, multimedia material, and comment, beginning now and continuing long after the book is been published. We will also encourage the affected communities to contribute. Follow our project-specific Facebook and Instagram pages to keep updated on Latin American mining news.
  • Other advocacy materials. With our partners in the project we will prepare material on mining and communities directed at policymakers, companies, investors, and the general public.

Why mining?

Across Latin America, mining has expanded massively in recent decades. Vast landscapes have been stripped to feed the factories of Europe, North America and Asia – and not only in traditional mining regions, but also in hitherto pristine areas in places like Argentine Patagonia, the Amazon Rainforest and the Guatemalan Highlands. But communities aren’t taking this lying down. All over the region, hundreds of affected communities have been fighting to protect their land, their water, and their traditional ways of life – and in some cases have achieved some remarkable victories, with lessons for social movements and environmental activists everywhere.

‘Green’ technologies, especially the soaring demand for batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage, will vastly increase demand for copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and other minerals and pile further pressures on communities, water resources and the environment.

Why does this matter?

Mining is one of the dirtiest, most destructive industries in the world. It consumes massive quantities of water and generates vast amounts of toxic waste. It devastates biodiversity and is one of the sectors most to blame for the global climate emergency. With life-changing impacts on communities who live close to operations, opposition is inevitable. But all too often this is met with harassment, threats and violence. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, governments have designated mining an “essential activity”, despite clusters of the disease developing at mining sites, with consequences not only for the health of workers, but also local communities already suffering from mining-related health conditions. Moreover, there is mounting evidence that mining companies are using the pandemic to bulldoze opposition and secure regulatory changes in their interest. 

Who is the project for?

  • Students and academics working in disciplines such as geography, development studies, anthropology, Latin American Studies, and others.
  • Journalists, NGOs, and businesses doing work in the region, particularly on mining and other extractive industries.
  • Activists, campaigners, and members of social movements everywhere who wish to learn from the Latin American experience.
  • Investors concerned with understanding what their money is used for.
  • Social movements and activists in Latin America, so they can link up and share their experiences.
  •  

News about mining

Brazil: letting the stampede rip

0
The Bolsonaro government's assault on regulations and indigenous rights has led to a stampede of land-grabbing by loggers, miners and cattle ranchers. They have let through the stampede (passar a boiada).

Guatemala: defending land and water

0
In Guatemala, environmental defenders are criminalised, evicted, beaten, imprisoned and sometimes killed. It is one of the most dangerous places in the world for those who seek to defend their communities, lands and environment.

Lithium: white gold or curse?

0
A proposal to start large-scale mining for lithium in Cornwall, UK, raises all the same issues as seen in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. It's a timely reminder that mining is not just a problem for poorer countries.

Where We Mine: Resource Politics in Latin America

0
As the drive to expand renewable energy capacity speeds up, there is a rush for lithium and other materials around the world. What will the expansion of rare earth mining in Latin America mean for the indigenous communities and workers who have historically borne the harms of extractivism?

Ecuador: we’ve decided – no more mining here!

0
Josefina Tunki and Tania Laurini, two leaders of the Shuar Arutam people in Ecuador have received explicit death threats from Federico Velasquez, senior official at Lowell-Solaris, a Canadian owned mining company. The Shuar are opposing a gold and copper project at Warintza in the Ecuadorean Amazon.

Honduras: water defenders targeted

0
The Guapinol Eight have been in detention for close to two years now, a situation denounced as illegal by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. ‘There is no legal basis for having detained the defenders and even less so for continuing to detain them’.

London Mining Network Blog

Chile: BHP forced to halt mining

Chile: BHP forced to halt mining

0
It's not all plain sailing for mining companies. Communities at Cerro Colorado in Chile have put up stiff opposition to BHP, whose mine threatens water supplies from a key a key aquifer. And peasants in Huamachuco, Peru, staged a massive protest against mining in their province.

Glencore and Anglo-American blamed for pollution

At Espinar in Peru and on Chile's Colina river, major international mining companies are once more in the spotlight, suspected of causing pollution, denying responsibility and failing to consult local communities

Mining protest criminalised

0
Local communities in Andalgala, Argentina have been fighting mining companies for 11 years. Now they are being criminalised. US investment giant Blackrock is continuing to finance Anglo American and other miners laying waste the Amazon territories of the Munduruku and others

Donations

If you'd like donate towards this project, please click here. Thank you very much to everyone who has supported the project thus far.

Reviews