How developing countries are paying a high price for the global mineral boom
Wooden houses in the old village of Didipio have been abandoned – the community moved to make way for a large scale gold mine owned by a New Zealand company.
The Filipino mine, guarded by high fences and bitterly contested by the indigenous Bugkalot people who fear pollution, spills and ill-health, is just one of scores of major new gold and copper mines opened in the last few years to meet soaring world demand for minerals used in electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops.
While the spot price of gold and other minerals has recently seen its greatest annual decline in more than 30 years, the legacy of the global mineral boom is social conflict, human rights violations and environmental devastation across Asia, Latin America and Africa, says a global investigation into hundreds of the world’s mineral mines.
As angry communities in Colorado last week counted the cost of a toxic spill from an old gold mine, a new atlas of 600 international mining and oil companies has identified more than 1,500 ongoing conflicts raging over water, land, spills, pollution, ill-health, relocations, waste, land grabs, floods and falling water levels.
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