Mining conflicts in the global environmental justice movement

Mining conflicts in the global environmental justice movement Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos (ICTA-UAB)

Tuesday 5th July, 12.00-13.30, UAB Campus


The mining extraction frontier continues to expand worldwide. What is driving this expansion? For some, the fundamental factor is the change in metabolic profiles (in terms of energy and material flows) of high-demand countries. For others, interest in mineral commodities escalated with the advent of financialisation. This is not only an intellectual question. Increased mineral consumption and extraction has triggered a ‘glocal’ wave of socio-environmental conflicts around extractive industries. Among affected communities, environmental justice (EJ) has emerged not only as a central concern, but as a framework to organise claims in resistance movements.

We explore contemporary mining conflicts in the context of growing global societal metabolism and financialisation, to broaden the sphere of the EJ movement and position mining-related activism as a ‘glocal’ process. Drawing insights from a collective-case study approach, we identify four main sources of perceived environmental injustice in mining conflicts, and five types of responses or proposed alternatives emerging from resistance. The latter range from protests that are close to the so-called not-in-my-backyard positions to claims for a post-extractivist systemic transformation. These typologies help us to discuss the role of mining conflicts in the emergence of a global environmental justice movements and, in particular, the political dimension of mining resistance movements at the glocal level.


Background reading material: Towards environmental justice success in mining resistances: An empirical investigation (