The most important part of our work is the solidarity and advocacy that we offer to communities badly affected by London-linked mining companies. These communities are the main actors in their struggle for justice, but they welcome the support of friends around the world. Our role is to bring their voices to London and find ways of persuading companies financed from our city to accept the demands of those whose lives they affect so badly.
Getting companies to change their behaviour is always an unequal struggle – they have great wealth and power, while we and the communities with whom we work have relatively little. The issues on which we and our member groups are working are many, and often complicated by differences of views within the affected communities.
And there is often no appealing ‘business argument’ for why a company should behave justly towards affected communities in countries where the state can be relied on to assist companies with financial support, sympathetic legislation, threats against mining opponents and armed repression of dissent. In contrast, there is growing industry recognition of the need to adopt climate change policies, or at least greenwash aspects of their work, including the use of CSR (corporate social responsibility) to generate favourable public opinion.
The mining-affected communities, or organisations working with them, we have worked with include those in Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Eritrea, India, Indonesia and West Papua, Madagascar, Mongolia, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, the UK, the USA and Zambia.
We have built strong links with groups challenging gold and uranium mining in Spain, begun to build links with organisations in Peru, and continued monitoring developments in Armenia, Bougainville, Canada and Sweden. We also work with global mine workers’ union IndustriALL on workers’ rights issues.
We advocate alongside and on behalf of affected communities in a number of ways:
In recent years, we have held a number of community visits, where members of communities adversely affected by mining or representatives that work with these communities, come to the UK for a speaker tour. They meet with parliamentarians, journalists, academics and members of the public to share their experiences, struggles and successes. They forge links with UK groups campaigning against extractivism and, where speaker tours involve people from multiple countries, they meet others who are involved in similar struggles. Our visitors tell us this solidarity and connection strengthens their community’s resistance on return home. See Community visits for more information.
A few groups meet throughout the year to keep up the momentum garnered during community visits. The groups are in regular contact with overseas partners and work on issues in collaboration or on behalf of communities affected by: Brazil’s 2015 Samarco tailings dam disaster in Brazil, South Africa’s 2012 Marikana Massacre, the Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia, and mining by UK-linked companies in Chile.
We post regular updates and news from mining affected communities on our website and on social media. We write press releases to attract media attention, particularly during community visits and create or organise media. We put on and support network member events on mining issues. We are also developing our education and outreach work and we have conducted workshops with over 200 young people so far. This year we hope to expand this work further in collaboration with other groups and networks. See PhoneCycle Game and School Witness Project for more information.
We support demonstrations by network members and other groups and respond to calls for action by our friends in mining affected communities. These protests put pressure on UK mining companies, finance houses and shareholders whose actions, and money, ensure that human rights violations and environmental destruction continue in the name of profit. We post news of protests on our Events page. Let us know if you are organising, or would like to organise a relevant protest and we can help promote or support it.
Throughout the year, we work with our international partners to form and maintain relationships with sympathetic MPs, to ask them to sign Early Day Motions (EDMs), and for concerns to be raised in parliament. We, along with other network groups, push for changes in policy on domestic and international issues of trade and business, that affect London-listed mining companies and how they operate overseas.
Sign this petition by member group Coal Action Network, calling on James Brokenshire, Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, to revoke planning permission for the Bradley opencast mine in Durham, which opened in 2018.