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
- Panama: Anti-mining protest turns deadly
- Argentina: Argentina Waging War on Anti-Mining Protesters
- Peru: Thousands of Anti-Mine Activists Hold March for Water
- United States: Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Protest Draws more than 1200 in Kentucky
- Morocco: Moroccans Take on Silver Mine for a Share of Wealth
- Australia: Mantle Mining Protest
- Philippines: Groups from Northern Luzon hold Protest Against Mining Corporations
- Mexico: Huichol Indians Protest Silver Mining Plan at Sacred Mountain
- Sweden: Sami Mining Protest in Arctic Sweden
- India: Maoists Protest Bauxite Mining: Damage Equipment
- South Africa: South Africans want more from mines, prompting sometimes violent protest
Map 2 shows the countries that experienced anti-mining protests throughout all of 2011.
2011 Anti-Mining Protests around the world
- Tibet: 15 Tibetans put behind bars over anti-mining protests in Shigatse
- Australia: Anti-mining protest hits new heights
- Philippines: Zamboanga del Sur hosts biggest anti-mining protest
- Peru: At least 38 injured in anti-mining protest
- Indonesia: Indonesian anti-mine protestors shot dead by police
- Panama: Indigenous Panamanians rise up against Canadian mining interests
- U.K.: Anti-mining protesters in Telford
- India: Anti-Mining Protesters block Road in Panaji
- Guatemala: Marlin Mine, Guatemala: Protests, Death and the Search for the Truth
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.