The Economic Justice Network (EJN) in collaboration with Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), BenchMarks and the International Alliance on Natural Resources in Africa (IANRA) will host the third Alternative Mining Indaba at the Upper Eastside Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa from 6-8 February 2012 which will bring together about 100 members of civil society, faith-based organisations, academics and other stakeholders.
The Alternative Mining Indaba was conceptualised in 2009 by Civil Society Organisations working on Extractive Industries to present case studies of victims of mining activities and evidence of ecological damage as a side event to the annual Mining Indaba in 2010. The meeting is aimed at countering the loud voice of greed by mining companies and governments with that of the poor communities affected by mining activities.
The Alternative Mining Indaba is a desire by civil society to articulate the suffering of ordinary people at the time corporations and governments are meeting to design strategies to consolidate their profits. It is a space created to bring to the fore the issues faced by communities and explore areas through which CSOs could support communities affected by mining. It is an advocacy instrument targeting extractive industries and ecological debt on the continent. It brings new and existing knowledge to address the challenges brought by extractive industries on local communities.
Mining Indaba has been an affair of government and mining companies. Civil society has difficulties to access because of the exorbitant entry fee. The exclusion of civil society has been carefully designed. In the face of this exclusion from a forum where key stakeholders meet to discuss African resources, civil society created the alternative mining indaba to tell a different but true story of the impact of mining on African people. Mining companies and corporations do not discuss seriously the impact of mining on communities and their exclusion from participating in the management of their resources. The Alternative Mining Indaba raises the issues that Mining Indaba deliberately refuses to raise - the issue about poverty of communities adjacent to mining activities, the lack job creation and the environmental impact of mining activities on these communities.
It is important to highlight that women also find themselves at a disadvantage in mining communities. They are often excluded from community negotiations with mining companies and once extraction begins, there are very few employment opportunities for them. Such that changes brought about by displacement, for example, exacerbate social problems in mining communities such as increased alcoholism, prostitution, drugs and crime.
For more information contact:
Mandla Mbongeni Hadebe
Economic Justice Network
1 Queen Victoria Street
Cape Town, 8000
Tel: 021 424 9563/1322
Fax: 021 424 9564
Cell: 072 952 2402
For more about the Environmental Justice Network, refer to www.ejn.org.za.
To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.