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MPI Mining Monitor - October 2013

Mining Monitor October Newsletter: Questioning Mining

Reading about the end of the mining boom reminds me of the doomsayers who predicted a massive decline of the mining industry when the GFC really started to bite in late 2008.  While tighter and more expensive finance did impact on the mining industry, especially at the smaller end, much of the industry continued on and we witnessed a massive expansion in the coal, iron ore and unconventional gas sectors. As then, while there is a slow down in investment, for the most part mining activity will continue. And so must we.

The big challenge here in Australia will come from the Queensland, West Australian, Northern Territory and the Federal Governments all seeking to cut 'green and red' tape. While reform is good, we need better assessment, monitoring and regulation of the industry, not less. Internationally the resistance to mining builds, with two inspiring stories below.

As always, we need to build the network of people who care about the impacts of mining, please forward to a friend and support our work here in Australia and overseas by becoming a monthly donor. Or volunteer, we currently need some assistance with research, mapping and graphic design [report].

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In this Newsletter - MPI News

Hidden Valley Premiere

In early September, The Environmental Film Festival Melbourne premiered the Mineral Policy Institute's film Hidden Valley on opening night of the festival. Hidden Valley is a 22 minute documentary focusing on the Hidden Valley gold and silver mine in the Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. This film portrays community members of the Watut River, as well as advocates, talking about how indigenous models of development are clashing with those imposed by mining companies and government when they are not listening to local landowners. Bob Brown (former Greens Leader) was there to launch the film, which was shown alongside another Australian documentary Mining the Truth, by the Australian Student Environment Network. Read what Bob Brown had to say about Hidden Valley and the Mineral Policy Institute.

Mining Legacies Update

MPI is developing the the Mining Legacies project. We are currently engaging with the various State and Territory mines departments on their policies and funds to remediate legacy sites. It has been an interesting process and revealed that there is growing consensus that the abandoned, orphaned or legacy sites need to be closed properly. Except in some instances. This research will be available on the Mining Legacies website in coming months. To read the rest of the update click here.

Disaster Capitalism & Mining

Profits of Doom, new book by Antony Lowenstein,
Prolific author, blogger and commentator Antony Lowestein has targeted disaster capitalism in his new book, Profits of Doom.  It’s an ambitious book seeking to not only build on Noami Klein’s work from the The Shock Doctrine but to ‘generate a global debate’. A wide ranging text; part philosophy, part travelogue, built on a frank and unrelenting account of disaster capitalism as it applies to the resource sector, war, environmental catastrophes, foreign aid and detention centres.   Read the rest of the review

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In MPI related news: The Redbank Mine on the Northern Territory/Queensland border that MPI visited in 2011 is in the news: Traditional owners in the Gulf Country want to work with government and industry to clean up one of the Northern Territory's most toxic legacy mines. The old Redbank copper mine, south of Borroloola and about 40 kilometres from the Queensland border, closed in 1996 but still leaks copper sulphide into a nearby creek. Read the article here: Indigenous leaders want government help to stop copper sulphide leaks at Redbank mine.

Around the World

The rainforest of gold: Blessing or curse? Al Jazeera, Mining in French Guiana may be either an end to villagers' way of life, or an economic opportunity.
Saul, French Guiana - Accessible only by a small plane landing on a dirt strip, this tiny jungle village of 70 people is in a battle with a mining company - the outcome of which could have great significance for the future of the only part of the Amazon rainforest within European territory.

Here's the story of a fisher girl who turned icon hero, Pamela Philipose , Sep 28, 2013, Deccan Herald
Her formal educational qualification is barely basic, her living modest. But Sharada Devi is nothing short of a visionary in her village, observes Pamela Philipose. Sharada Devi, from the fishing community in the small village of Govupeta, educated herself by simply trying to understand the social processes going on around her. Her formal educational qualifications are basic; schooling ended far too quickly. As she explains simply, “I was married after I passed Class X, after that there was no question of going to school. Yet today, working in the old colonial Dutch fishing village of Beemili, near the coastal city of Visakhapatnam, Sharada Devi has emerged as an able defender of the rights of her community. It was her association with Vikasa that set Sharada Devi on this road of discovery. Vikasa, an organisation instituted by social activist P Viswanadham, helps the fishing community of the area to develop their capacities and access their entitlements. Click on the link to read the article.

Mine Urban Waste, Not Oceans

Controversial plans to mine the floor of the Pacific Ocean should not go ahead before Earth's 'urban mines' have been exploited, say campaigners. They made the call following a conference in London this month (31 July-1 August) on deep-sea mining attended by industry leaders and global investors. Each year silver and gold worth US$21 billion is used in personal computers, mobile phones, tablets and similar devices, creating precious metal 'deposits' that are up to 50 times richer than ore mined from the ground, says Natalie Lowrey, a campaigner with the Deep Sea Mining campaign, a project of the US-based Ocean Foundation. Read - Sci Dev Net.

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