Opening Pandora’s Box – A New Wave of Land Grabbing for the Extractive Industries and The Devastating Impact on Earth was launched in Westminster on Wednesday 29th February. The much anticipated report alerts global citizens to the dynamics in the extractive industries as a whole, and shows the alarming scale of this overall trend. Just as in the Greek myth, when Pandora opened the box and let out all the troubles known to mortals, so too this new wave of land grabbing for mining is leading to unimaginable destruction. If hope does remain, we must wake-up and act now.
The extent and the scale of the increase in extraction over the last 10 years is staggering. For example, iron ore production is up by 180%; cobalt by 165%; lithium by 125%, and coal by 44%. The increase in prospecting has also grown exponentially, which means this massive acceleration in extraction will continue if concessions are granted as freely as they are now.
The period between 2005-2010 has seen China’s mining sector grow by nearly a third. In Peru, mining exports for 2011 have increased an astonishing one-third in one year, and the region of Puno in the South of the country has seen mineral concessions almost tripled between 2002 and 2010. In South Africa meanwhile, a consortium of international investors has applied for the rights to drill for shale oil and gas for a section covering around 10% of the country’s surface.
Across Latin America, Asia and Africa, more and more community lands, rivers and ecosystems are being despoiled, displaced and devoured by mining activities. Enormous industrial wastelands are created from vast open pit mines and mountain top removal; voracious use and poisoning of water systems; deforestation; contamination of precious topsoil; air pollution; acid leaching; cancer clusters – the catalogue of devastation is relentless and growing.
The rights of farming and indigenous communities are increasingly ignored in the race to grab land and water. Each wave of new extractive technologies requires ever more water to wrench the material from its source. The hunger for these materials is a growing threat to the necessities for life: water, fertile soil and food. The implications are obvious.
The report was launched in the Houses of Parliament, London at on Wednesday 29th February 2012. Speakers included Henk Hobbelink of GRAIN International, Richard Solly of the London Mining Network, Teresa Anderson of The Gaia Foundation and Deborah Doane of the World Development Movement.
See here for the international chorus of support – Endorsements of the Report
Author, Philippe Sibaud shared a compelling story to end his presentation of the report – Report Launch Closing Story