Natural Resources Daily Update

Green energy mining triggers climate change, supports colonialism, leads to labor abuse, spread disease

Monoz, 8-4, 2021, The Ecologist, Mining and green new deals, https://theecologist.org/2021/aug/04/mining-and-green-new-deals

The recent mainstreaming of the Green New Deal framework has intensified scrutiny on oil majors. However, the same cannot be said of global extractivist power – especially mining companies, who see the climate crisis as an opportunity to reinvent themselves and guarantee their bottom line. Supported by the World Bank, the mining industry has cynically positioned itself as key actors in the energy transition, claiming they are needed to provide the minerals and metals to meet growing renewable energy demand. This series of articles has been published in partnership with Dalia Gebrial and Harpreet Kaur Paul and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in London. It first appeared in a collection titled Perspectives on a Global Green New Deal. Batteries Yet, many of these same companies are heavily invested in fossil fuel extractors, and are among the world’s highest corporate emitters. The mining industry, along with other extractive industries, has been at the heart of a colonial model which continues to bring profits to multinational corporations and the wealthy few, while dispossessing countless communities of their lands, water and livelihoods and exploiting workers at the expense of their health and well-being. Miners are also amongst the most mistreated workers in the world. In July 2019, at least 43 artisanal miners died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), due to a mine collapse at an industrial copper and cobalt mine owned by Anglo-Swiss multinational Glencore – cobalt is a vital part of electric car batteries. Protest UNICEF estimates that 40,000 children work in mining across the south of the DRC. Meanwhile, Glencore sees itself as part of the energy transition powering the electric vehicle revolution. During the pandemic, multiple governments declared mining an essential activity, or responded to industry pressure to do so after a brief shutdown. Mining operations became vectors of the disease – for workers and rural communities. This Author Sebastian Ordoñez Muñoz is the senior international programmes officer (Latin America) at War on Want, based in London, UK.