Anti-Mining Protests: An Issue of Growing Global Importance

2012 is shaping up to be the Year of Anti-Mining Protests.  Globally, there are serious protests happening in the Philippines, Peru, Indonesia and elsewhere.  This is not a unified group of activists and they are approaching the problem from a host of different ideas: distribution of benefits seems to be the issue in South Africa and Morocco, environment and indigenous rights are key in Peru and Panama, while the environment seems to be crucial in the United States.

Before writing this blog, I wasn’t really aware of the large anti-mining protests happening around the world.  However, after two of my first three photo highlights were of protests related to mining and processing, I decided to look into the issue more seriously.  And found a wide range of anti-mining protests happening around the world.  The trend also appears to be spreading and increasing in activity.

Map 1: Highlights the countries that have had anti-mining protests in the first two months of 2012 (Jan-Feb). (Note: UPDATED Map is available Here)

2012 Anti-Mining Protests around the world

Map 2 shows the countries that experienced anti-mining protests throughout all of 2011.

2011 Anti-Mining Protests around the world

What was included:  So I collected protests against mines and mining facilities from a variety of different sources: News archives of the past two years, Google searches primarily.  They are not complete, but are sufficient to see that 2012 is shaping up to be a significant year of anti-mining protests.  In addition, I did not include protests against refining or processing facilities and did not include tar sands protests in the counts.  So this provides a consistent way to understand what is happening with anti-mining protests globally.

There appears to be growing activity in multiple countries against the practices of mining, extraction of resources, and processing.  This may be a result of mining activities moving to new, more contentious areas as old sources of resources get limited.  It also may be a development in environmental understandings and ideas around the world.  At the same time, the use of state and paramilitary violence against anti-mining activists is of serious concern: with multiple deaths at the protests and severe crackdowns in Argentina, Panama, Peru, Tibet, Indonesia and elswehere.

Whether the various protests will congeal into some form of a collective that can press ideas and demands for change will be one of the key questions for global environmental politics in 2012 and after.

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One thought on “Anti-Mining Protests: An Issue of Growing Global Importance

  1. Pingback: Anti-Mining Protests Around the World: Issue of 2012 « Lullaby of the Commons

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