Parallel to the big mining corporations and governments annual conference – Mining Indaba. An event where the above-mentioned gather every year to talk about ways to expand the mining industry
– which involves building more strategies to steal more land from peasant producers, pollute their water and air, over 200 delegates from Angola, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, USA, United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe gathered in Cape Town to attend the fifth Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI). The conference took place on the 4th up to the 7th of February 2014 at Ritz Hotel in Sea Point.
The Alternative Mining Indaba provided a dialogue for communities and civil society organizations to discuss progress made in improving the socio-economic and environmental impacts of mining on communities.
The conference was led by a keynote address from Reverend Malcolm Damon, the executive Director of Economic Justice Network (EJN). In his introduction he explained that, the theme of this year’s AMI was developed in a way that clarifies that “the resources of Africa belong to all of us (Africans), and local people should share the benefits of the mining industry”.
Godfrey Kanyenze, Director of the Zimbabwe Labour and Economic Development Research Institute in his opening input, emphasized that more than 60 percent of the world’s poorest people live in countries rich in natural resources, but they rarely share in the wealth. Oil, gas and mining are an important part of the economy in more than 50 developing countries, but governments and big cooperation’s are the ones who benefit and people who are directly affected by the negative impacts of these industries often do not benefit, he said.
The main focuses of the 5th AMI was to look at rights of communities that are affected by mining and the issues around social protection. Health impacts, environmental, ecological and socio-economic wellbeing were some of issues the communities were most concerned about.
The forum provided a space to share experiences, peace promoting strategies, the need for a new framework that puts environment and communities at the center of development and not profits. Each country shared their own struggles and numerous actions to be taken to demand transparency, responsibility and sustainable utilization of natural resources. This year an important call was made on communities affected by mining to unite in national, regional and international coalition to fight for socio- economic and environmental justice.
Each organization presented its planned action, contribution, research and legal resources to fight against mining corporations that destroy communities. The organizations included OXFAM, Center for Environmental justice and the Legal Resources Center
The conference was concluded by a march to the Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Center (CTICC).