Concepts & Topics

Social and ecological aspects

Mine water in an abandoned open pit

Human rights

Working conditions in Serra Pelada, Brasil

The extraction of natural resources in developing countries is often thought to be associated with a disregard for human rights. A lack of statutory regulation and supervision means that poor working conditions, inadequate occupational health and safety provision and child labour are among the main problems encountered. Other particularly common points of criticism are the practice of forced resettlement and the scant compensation payments afforded to the people concerned. Find out more about the issue of human rights.  more

Artisanal and small-scale mining

Small-scale mining in Mozambique

In many emerging and developing countries, mineral resources are extracted not only using industrial mining methods but also in much smaller-scale operations. The World Bank estimates that the livelihoods of between 80 and 100 million people around the globe are dependent on artisanal and small-scale mining. As much as 20 per cent of the world’s gold production takes place in this way. Small-scale mining is thus both a significant economic factor and an important source of income. At the same time, though, small-scale mining presents one of the greatest challenges in the extractive sector, because resources are often extracted illegally and under shockingly bad working conditions. Find out more about the issue of small-scale mining here. more

Natural resources and conflict

Columbit-Tantalit Ore

In some countries, resources obtained through small-scale mining promote and fund conflict. Curbing the illegal production of and trade in natural resources in places where they help to finance conflict is an important sphere of activity for the international community. Find out more about the subject of natural resources and conflict here. more

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