The Rise in Conflict Associated with Mining Operations: What Lies Beneath?

Countries

Madagascar, Bolivia, Peru, Tanzania, Ghana

Focus Area

Improving
Public sector governance

Status

Active

sustainable development goals

Budget

$338,760 CAD

Funders

Global Affairs Canada
United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

Who Benefits

Governments

Academia

Field practitioners

Stakeholders in large-scale mining projects

Delivery Partners

University of British Columbia

Simon Fraser University

Centre for Responsible Mineral Development

Shinglespit Consultants

Triple R Alliance

The Challenge

Mineral resources hold unique potential to lift nations and communities out of extreme poverty. Effective resource governance can stimulate sustainable economic growth, enhance equitable distribution of national wealth, broaden public engagement, ensure access to justice and protect human rights and freedoms. However, a rich endowment of mineral resources is also often a source of conflict, with the social drivers and political determinants of these conflicts poorly understood. In developing and fragile states, poor governance, corruption, illicit financial flows and weak institutions threaten the peace, security and fundamental human rights of the world’s most vulnerable populations. To address these emergent global trends, this project seeks to apply, mobilize and disseminate new research on the processes, pathways and dynamics of mining-related conflicts.

CIRDI's Approach

CIRDI is collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of academics and professionals to conduct innovative, stakeholder-reviewed research that investigates the reported increase of mining-related conflicts globally. CIRDI’s approach to conflict research includes a literature review, conflict database analysis and field case studies. Achieving a broad view of conflict will allow a multi-stakeholder perspective to emerge along with an understanding of the interaction between key players in the generation of conflict. By engaging communities, civil society, government, industry and academia in this research, CIRDI will facilitate a comprehensive analysis of the processes, pathways and dynamics of conflict and mining.

Project Details

This project has two phases. The phase-one study was based on three main components including a literature review, a compilation and analysis of existing global conflict incident databases (2012-2013) and field investigations of four case studies in Latin American and Africa. The literature review and conflict incident database analysis provided an opportunity to analyze the topic from a broad, high-level perspective, involving a relatively large number of incidents. The on-site, field-based investigations allowed for a deeper, more penetrating analysis based on a carefully selected sampling of existing and recent conflict cases.

Building on the findings of phase one, phase two will consist of:

  • An academic literature review focusing on the role of government in conflict
  • A broader database analysis (2002-2013) focusing on the relationship between institutional quality conflict and the ownership characteristics of mining companies
  • A field case study focused on Ghana

Cross-cutting themes

Gender

  • Female participation in field case study interviews was 45% in Peru, 25% in Bolivia, 31% in Madagascar, and 21% in Tanzania. Best efforts for gender inclusion were made, despite some cultural barriers. Field research included open-ended questions aimed at understanding the concerns of all stakeholders, including women and vulnerable groups.

Environment

  • Desktop and field-based components of the project examined the environmental impacts of mining as key drivers of conflict, in particular the quality and supply of water for human consumption and agriculture.

Governance

  • Desktop and field-based components paid particular attention to governance capacity as a potential contributor to or inhibitor of conflict and how it affects stakeholders including companies, host governments, communities and special interest groups.

Results to Date

The first phase of the study included a literature review, a qualitative analysis of mining conflicts and four case studies from Bolivia, Madagascar, Peru and Tanzania. It reviewed 167 mining-related conflict incidents in 44 countries in 2012 and 2013.

The data indicated that:

  • 46% of these conflict incidents occurred in Latin American countries followed by Africa (24%) and Asia (17%).
  • These conflict incidents involved mining companies headquartered in 33 different countries. The top five countries are Canada (30.3%), the U.S. (8.6%), Australia (7.6%), South Africa (7.6%), and the U.K. (7.6%).
  • These reported conflict incidents correlate with the level of industry activity in these regions in 2013 (Latin America – 29%, Africa – 14%, Asia – 9%)

Read the report: The Rise in Conflict Associated with Mining Operations: What Lies Beneath?

Full Report

Executive Summary

Literature Review

Case Study 1 – Ambatovy, Madagascar

Case Study 2 – Bulyanhulu, Tanzania

Case Study 3 – Haquira-Las Bambas, Peru

Case Study 4 – Minera San Cristobal, Bolivia

Intended Impact

This work is grounded in the belief that good governance and informed public policy are key to mitigating and managing conflict by decreasing violence and corruption, increasing transparency and public participation in decision-making, and strengthening regulatory frameworks to safeguard human rights. This project will produce high quality research and data with the objective to strengthen governance systems and institutions at the national level, assisting host governments to integrate conflict prevention and management tools into their national practices at all levels of government.

 

Sustainable Development Goals – Project Contributions

Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Provides a better understanding of conflict and demonstrates ways to predict and prevent conflict by identifying structural and contextual factors. In doing so it provides good governance and peace-building support to companies, governments and communities.

project team

resources

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