International mining workshop, Bali

Down to Earth No 53-54  August 2002

Seventy-four representatives of communities affected by mining, NGOs and activists from 15 countries gathered in Bali in May to highlight the industry's abysmal record on human rights and the environment. The meeting, which preceded the preparatory meeting for this year's World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (PrepCom IV - WSSD) countered the extractive industries' attempt to present their activities as "sustainable".

A statement issued by the workshop asserted that "mining as we know it today is unsustainable and runs counter to people-oriented development."

The group demanded:

  • a moratorium on all new mines;
  • an immediate shutdown of all existing mines where communities demand it;
  • a ban on mining, oil and gas activities in sensitive ecological and cultural areas including protected areas, small islands,
  • mountaintops, oceans, and in conflict zones;
  • the promotion of reduced minerals usage and the development and strengthening of metals substitution, recycling, and re-use;
  • an end to financial support for projects related to the mining sector by the World Bank, regional development banks, Export Credit Agencies, and other financial institutions whether it be in the form of loans, guarantees, and/or insurance;
  • an immediate ban on destructive mining technologies, specifically open-pit mining, block-caving, cyanide heap-leaching, riverine tailing dumping, and submarine tailings disposal;
  • a stop to uranium mining;
  • the scrapping of all existing mining laws which promote and protect the interests of mining TNCs in line with the neo-liberal policies imposed by International Financial Institutions;
  • that governments hold mining TNCs legally responsible to affected communities for all past, present and future activities;
  • respect for the rights of indigenous peoples to ancestral domains, the rights of communities to local resources, and the precedence of all laws protecting these rights as opposed to those protecting the rights of TNCs.

(Statement of the International Mining Workshop, Bali, 24-27 May 2002.)


Women and mining

The women and mining group at the workshop condemned mining as "completely unsustainable" and opposed the entry of any new mining projects or expansion of existing projects, especially in indigenous regions. "We want to practise our traditional livelihood systems based on land and forests. We want economic and social progress which enhances the conservation of these resources as opposed to making for their destruction. As mining destroys our lands and forests, we demand the continuation of our traditional livelihoods, and the creative pursuit for alternatives to mining."

The groups also demanded:

  • Legitimate entitlements for women with regard to land and natural resources;
  • Where mining exists or must continue, equal opportunities for women in the mining sector;
  • Wages and working conditions for women miners which strictly follow international standards and agreements and ensure equality and equity without discrimination based on gender;
  • The abolition of child labour in all mines;
  • A Gender Audit of all mining projects.

(Demands of the Women and Mining Group, Bali 24-27 May 2002)


New women and mining publication:

A report of the "Women and Mining" international conference in 2000 has been published by RIMM, Bolivia, and includes contributions by several Indonesian women. The 166-page illustrated report is available in English and Spanish.