While fossil fuels, aviation and other dirty industry’s have found themselves in the spotlight during COVID-19, to-date the mining industry has received little scrutiny. But this doesn’t mean mining companies globally have not been seeking to profit from a crisis that affects us all.
Over 300 organisations from around the world have released an open-statement condemning the ways that the mining industry and numerous governments are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to manufacture new mining opportunities and enhance their damaged reputations.
The statement, based on a global analysis of over 500 sources, identifies four major trends in how the mining industry has abused the pandemic to turn a profit and advance their interests, putting land and water protectors at greater risk of harm.
The key trends are:
- Mining companies are ignoring the real threats of the pandemic and continuing to operate, using any means available
- Governments around the world are taking extraordinary measures to shut down legitimate protests and promote the mining sector
- Mining companies are using the pandemic as an opportunity to whitewash their dirty track records and present themselves as public-minded saviours
- Mining companies and governments are using the crisis to secure regulatory change that favours the industry at the expense of people and planet
These trends are explored in-depth in an accompanying report, entitled Voices from the Ground: How the Global Mining Industry is Profiting from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The report reveals how and why these trends pose an immediate threat to the health and safety of communities and organisations that have been struggling to defend public health and their environments against the destruction and devastation of mining extractivism for decades, as well as to the safety of workers in the mining sector.
The report was jointly produced by Earthworks (USA), Institute for Policy Studies – Global Economy Program (USA), London Mining Network (UK), MiningWatch Canada, Terra Justa, War on Want (UK), and Yes to Life No to Mining, through which Gaia has contributed. It is indebted to input from numerous partner organizations and communities in different parts of the world, for whom we show our deep thanks.