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Description: Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, there have been many, some of them major, industrial disasters in various parts of the world. Many were associated with mining activities that are inherently dangerous. Some were associated with the growing chemical industry. Some were linked with the transportation or storage of dangerous products. Some resulted from the interaction of industrial activity with natural phenomena. <break>Regulations have tried to reduce the number of accidents. But regulations create some costs and have always been resisted by the regulated, and by more libertarian governments that give more importance to economic and employment growth than to safety. The chapter describes some of these accidents, which resulted in significant deaths or property destruction.
Even when they are not directly related to the provision of water and sanitation services, business activities can be an important driver for the realization or, more frequent, violation of the HRtWS. The different ways those economic activities engage in development projects can affect the way people, notably traditional communities, access water and sanitation services. Usually, when confronting the economic and social benefits of those projects with the human rights risks for the affected communities, the mainstream narrative overestimates the former and makes the latter invisible. Among those business activities, megaprojects have a prominent role in terms of concerns for the HRtWS.
Metal concentrations in coastal zones are a critical study subject since anthropogenic activities surrounding these zones are increasing and affecting environmental concentrations of metals. Macroalgae have been used as biomonitors since they can act as indicators of metal concentrations in the water column. Tissue samples of three abundant macroalgae species (Spyridia filamentosa, Padina mexicana and Ulva ohnoi) were collected from three sites with different anthropogenic impacts at La Paz Bay and Guaymas Bay, Mexico, during three contrasting seasons (dry, rainy and cold) in the year 2016. Tissue concentrations of iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The highest concentrations were found in S. filamentosa inhabiting both bays. The highest Cd and Mn concentrations were recorded in algae from La Paz Bay, while the highest concentrations of Cu, Zn, Pb and Fe were recorded in algae from Guaymas Bay. Metal concentrations varied seasonally; the highest Fe, Cu, Zn, Ni and Pb levels were recorded in the cold season in algae from both bays. S. filamentosa concentrated more Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn and Pb, while P. mexicana and U. ohnoi showed higher Mn and Cd. Therefore, S. filamentosa proved to be the most suitable indicator of metal concentrations, followed by P. mexicana and U. ohnoi. The high metal concentrations recorded in algae from San Juan de la Costa, La Paz Bay, are related to mining activities, whereas those in algae from Guaymas Bay are related to canneries, maritime traffic and others.
Mining products are essential in our lives. We need them to satisfy our everyday needs. The growing worldwide population, together with rising living standards, pushes up the demand for minerals. The mining industry faces continuous challenges to meet such demand and to fulfil the sustainability requirements imposed by the policy makers. Innovation is a key instrument to address these challenges. This chapter describes the mining industry and its major economic characteristics, discusses the role of innovation in the industry and the environment in which it takes place, and summarizes some of the major findings that emerge from the subsequent chapters in the book.
This chapter analyzes the recent evolution of innovation in the mining sector. It characterizes the mining innovation global ecosystem by looking at the technologies, countries and stakeholders contributing to technological change in the sector. It provides a detailed description of private stakeholders, such as mining companies and mining equipment, technology and service firms (METS), and public ones such as universities and governmental institutions. The chapter brings together aggregated innovation data with a novel unit-record database containing comprehensive patent and firm level data for the mining sector from 1900 to 2016.
This chapter aims to broaden the scope of innovation in the mining sector, with a focus on emerging countries, based on Latin American countries. Current innovation can foster growth of many countries endowed with natural resource in new ways that were not considered in the past. Mining cannot become a true engine of growth for the whole economy unless linkages within the sector and beyond – following the logic of a value chain and systems of innovation – are strengthened and deepened. This requires processes of diffusion, adoption and adaptation of innovation and technology. This chapter describes mining global value chains, national innovation systems and their role in the development of the mining sector. It also discusses some policy implications for emerging countries rich in natural resources.
The metal-mining boom Latin America experienced in recent decades precipitated highly contentious anti-mining social movements in Central America. In this context, El Salvador became the first country in the world to ban all metal mining by law. In contrast, policy in nearby Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua remained pro-mining. These cases are compared using a most similar systems design. Comparison reveals the importance of three variables: how national economic-elite networks and interests relate to multinational corporations; national movement coordination and goals, specifically in relation to prohibition; and how parties and leaders relied on popular bases or capital. These factors shaped the contention between elites and movements that influenced state actions around mining and led to this ‘least likely case’ of extractive policy change in El Salvador.
This article examines the transformation of mineral matter into mineral property from the vantage point of Ga-Mphahlele, a section of northern South Africa's platinum belt in which minerals are particularly complex to access. Building on Thomas Sikor and Christian Lund's work, I show that the demands of mining capital played a key role in facilitating a co-constitutive relationship between political authority and mineral property. Because of the geological difficulties accessing Ga-Mphahlele's platinum, mining companies have only shown an intermittent interest in the area's minerals, resulting in a volatile relationship between mineral property and political authority. In turn, this has meant that minerals have often been a relatively unstable property form. By adding the role of capital to Lund and Sikor's analytic lens for studying property and authority, this article tracks the relationship between chiefly authority, African land purchasing, platinum companies, and the emergence of mineral rights.
Asian colobines make up close to half of all non-human primate species found in Asia. These monkeys have specialized dietary and habitat needs and are found in a wide range of habitat at different latitudinal and altitudinal zones. About two-thirds of Asian colobines are endemic to only one country, with the largest number of threatened species found in Indonesia, Vietnam and China. The highest percentage of colobine species are found in tropical rain forest and tropical moist deciduous forest that have correspondingly less areas remaining. Species that are found in specific habitats like karst limestones, flooded forests and highland forest are also particularly threatened. Expansion of agriculture, aquaculture and biological resource use, through hunting and trade are the current top threats to colobines. The successful conservation of these species would require that species-specific protection needs are met, as well as collaborative approaches to ensure better protection across their distribution ranges.
Reconstruction ended in 1876 as railroads, mining, and agriculture grew. Robber Barons emerged as the leaders of these activities became rich. The Supreme Court in the 1880s eliminated the constitutional amendments passed during Reconstruction to help Blacks by either rejecting them or reinterpreting them. Jim Crow laws were passed in many Southern states after 1896 depriving Blacks of the vote and leading to a decline in Black education. I describe the movie, Birth of a Nation, to show the attitude of white people at the time of World War I toward Blacks and Reconstruction. Those views have been shown since to be totally false.
This chapter explores the coal–water nexus with evaluation of the chemical hazards in coals and the magnitude of their emission with coal combustion, the quantity of water use for coal mining and processing and implications for water quality, with an emphasis of the formation of coal mine effluents such as acid mine drainage and the large water-impaired intensity. The chapter describes the different technologies for cooling thermoelectric plants and the associated water intensity and thermal pollution upon the discharge of the cooling water to the hydrosphere. The chapter explores the formation of coal combustion residuals after coal combustion, the enrichment of contaminants in coal combustion residuals, and the volume and quality of effluents associated with coal ash impoundments, and the environmental risks associated with the management of coal ash and leaking coal ash impoundments. Finally, the chapter looks at the different regulations in different countries with respect to coal mining, combustion, and disposal, as well as the transition from coal to different energy sources.
This paper analyses whether the implementation of business and human rights (BHR) frameworks in Colombia properly responds to the challenges posed by informal mining and gender-based violence and discrimination in the context of conflict and peacebuilding. The mining sector has been considered key in Colombia to promote economic growth, but it is also characterized by significant informality. Informal mining in Colombia has been linked to gender-based violence and discrimination. We contend that while informality has been identified as a substantial hurdle to the realization of human rights, BHR frameworks still fall short in addressing this aspect of business. By examining the specific measures Colombia has devised to implement BHR, including two National Action Plans on BHR, we demonstrate the urgency of addressing informal economies in BHR and to continue developing particular insights to properly protect, respect and remedy the human rights wrongs women experience in the context of informal mining.
While some authors defend the existence of a widespread economic crisis in Brazil during the 18th century, motivated by the fall in the extraction of precious metals, others suggest that the colonial economy maintained a positive performance thanks to the growth of its domestic market. The main goal of this article is to challenge these two explanations, showing that different rhythms of development characterised Brazil's economy in each of its regions. We show that between the 1750s and 1790s, the Amazon region (Maranhão and Pará) experienced uninterrupted growth. Despite some fluctuations, Bahia and Pernambuco showed a tendency towards growth while the centre-south (Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais) suffered an economic contraction. We conclude that there was a stagnation in the added value of exports from all regions, whilst simultaneous growth for all territories occurred only after 1790.
The transition to a low-carbon economy will increase mineral commodity demands by up to tenfold by 2050. Improving the quality of lives in developing countries will further increase resource demands. Mineral ores are critical for manufacturing low-carbon technologies. The projected increase in demand provides a major business opportunity, in turn providing a driver for the required investment to move to low-carbon mining, processing and recycling. To improve efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of mining and metals recycling, the industry can take advantage of solar photovoltaics, wind and batteries, and renewable energy power purchase agreements, and reduce flaring, venting and fugitive emissions. Adaptation to cope with extreme weather events is critical to ensure materials can be delivered to low-carbon technology producers. Reducing exposure to climate risks through an integrated adaptation–mitigation approach lessens operational, maintenance and insurance costs. This chapter reviews tools to help the sector simultaneously achieve both climate mitigation and adaptation cost-effectively.
Corporations often claim to be economic actors solely interested in capital accumulation. However, historical and anthropological scholarship has argued they have had outsized political roles, especially during high colonialism when transnational corporations such as the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company shaped colonial entities. This article explores the case of American mining company Freeport-McMoRan, which runs the world’s largest gold and copper mine in West Papua, and its entanglement with contemporary imperial and colonial projects in the region. Through the study of the company’s decisive role in the transfer of West Papua from the Dutch to Indonesia during the decolonization period of the 1960s, and in the formation of the postcolonial Indonesian state characterized by its militaristic and capitalistic stances, this article argues that Freeport’s operation in West Papua has been central to shaping U.S. imperial policy in Southeast Asia. The company’s relationship with the U.S. government and its contract of work with the Indonesian government reproduce an older form of state-corporation partnership called a charter, which grants a corporate body privileges associated with exploration, trade, and colonization. Combining a historical study of the political role of corporations across time and an ethnographic study of Freeport’s operation, this article rethinks the anthropological and historical study of transnational corporations and their roles in the contemporary politics of colonialism.
In this article, we engage with environmental conflicts on indigenous land through a focus on an attempt to gain social licence to reopen and operate the Biedjovággi mine in Guovdageainnu/Kautokeino in Sápmi, Norway. We argue that mining prospects bring forth ontological conflicts concerning land use, as well as ways to know the landscape and the envisioned future that the land holds. It is a story of a conflict between two different ways of knowing. The paper explores the Sámi landscape through different concepts, practices and stories. We then contrast this to the way the same landscape is understood and narrated by a mining company, through the programmes and documents produced according to the Norwegian law and standards. We follow Ingold’s argument that the Sámi landscape practices are taskscapes, where places, times and tasks are interconnected. These were not acknowledged in the plans and documents of the mining company. We conclude by addressing the tendency of extractive industries to reduce different landscapes in ways that fit with modern understandings, which oppose culture to nature.
As evidenced by the widespread controversy surrounding an otherwise small-scale mining investment pending in Casamance, Senegal, uncertainty shapes the extension of the extractive frontier. Fent argues that amid this uncertainty, different actors are able to politicize or depoliticize extractive investments through the work of scaling. Opponents cast the project as part of larger-scale, longer-term extraction, linking it with regional narratives. By contrast, state and corporate actors depoliticized the mine by emphasizing its limited extent and downscaling conflict to the local level. This demonstrates the conflictual processes through which extractive frontiers are realized—and resisted—through both space and time.
The book concludes with an analysis of its key themes and arguments. It provides a comparative explanation of the region’s historical development, emphasising the role of elite and popular knowledge production in its social history. It considers the ways in which this approach may be applied to social history more generally.
Living for the City is a social history of the Central African Copperbelt, considered as a single region encompassing the neighbouring mining regions of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Haut Katanga and Zambian Copperbelt mine towns have been understood as the vanguard of urban 'modernity' in Africa. Observers found in these towns new African communities that were experiencing what they wrongly understood as a transition from rural 'traditional' society – stable, superstitious and agricultural – to an urban existence characterised by industrial work discipline, the money economy and conspicuous consumption, Christianity, and nuclear families headed by male breadwinners supported by domesticated housewives. Miles Larmer challenges this representation of Copperbelt society, presenting an original analysis which integrates the region's social history with the production of knowledge about it, shaped by both changing political and intellectual contexts and by Copperbelt communities themselves. This title is available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
This chapter discusses the paths of Spanish and Lusophone America from the late colonial period through independence for most of Latin America to 1870. Relative continuity from colony to independent empire in Brazil contrasts sharply with regime change from colonial to republican systems in mainland Spanish America. Late colonial economies expanded significantly. Trading systems were transformed in the later eighteenth century; mining and slavery-based staple exports expanded fast, as did market integration within Latin America. Indicators of living standards show great diversity but paint a relatively positive picture until at least the last quarter of the eighteenth century. War and independence in the early nineteenth century knocked mainland Spanish America off its path of preindustrial expansion, while Brazil continued to expand. Rather than a ‘reversal of fortune’ new Spanish American republics faced the costs of a transition from a corporate political economy to an incipient republican one. It destroyed the fiscal basis of the state, led to increased concentration of landholdings, and dislocated goods and financial markets. Also, weak states failed to replace corporate structures of protections of the weaker social strata with individual access to legal protections. Regime change created opportunities for growth in the long run, but its immediate result was more inequality and falling living standards for significant parts of the population.