The devil hides in the details, but very often he also lies low in the lack of detail. This is the situation regarding the laws and guidance governing the mining sector in DRC, which are weak and ineffective from the point of view of human rights, environmental protection and the common good. Recognising that a robust domestic legal framework is essential to bring about a fairer and more transparent mining industry, Jesuits and their partners have been involved in proposals to reform DRC’s mining laws.
Archive for Mining
The climate risks that extractive industries face include the rise of extreme and unpredictable weather impacting upon mode of mining activities, mining sites and their surrounding communities and environments. This will not only affect profitability and labour conditions. For example floods can disrupt the tailing of mines sending excess polluted water into the storm drains, placing surrounding communities at significant risk of polluted water. In turn there’s a predicted scarcity of water and consequential negative impacts upon hydrological systems as they adapt to changing climatic conditions. The impact of potential infrastructure damage and energy stress due to climate change upon mining activities is another risk that has not been appropriately assessed by many companies and governments.
“There are a large number of pits (from which the mercury is extracted), and there are the tailing ponds containing mining waste, all of which drains into the rivers. These are people who don’t have other options, they risk their health, their family genetics. There are many people involved, who have no alternative employment,” said Ruiz, the founder of the Sierra Gorda Ecological Group.
Jesuit Hakimani Center has been working with the select Religious Leaders, Civil Society Organizations, and Water Service Providers to improve equity and fairness in water management for communities most affected by the adverse climate in Garissa County. Severe water scarcity in Garissa County is associated with extreme climate variability and deficiencies in water governance.
Over the past decade, the Salvadoran Church has been increasingly vocal about a dire human rights situation in this country: the access to fresh water. In 2017, the archdiocese, along with the Jesuit-run University of Central America, spearheaded the movement to ban mining for gold and other metals, practices that produced considerable water pollution. Now the church is working to protect the human right to water and fighting the privatization of the resource.
Mining is linked to water pollution, deforestation and environmental degradation, as well as conflict and violence due to land grabbing, the fracturing of the social fabric of communities, and human right violations in Honduras. According to survey results, community residents experience high levels of water and food insecurity and limited access to education and health services.