Extractive industry

WRI Council meeting: September 2017

Activists - including members of WRI - celebrate being found not guilty after actions against DSEI in 2015Activists - including members of WRI - celebrate being found not guilty after actions against DSEI in 2015WRI's Council meets once a year, to discuss the future work of the network. This year, our meeting will be in London in September, hosted by our affiliates Peace Pledge Union, Fellowship of Reconciliation (UK), Campaign Against the Arms Trade, and Trident Ploughshares, and coincide with the mobilisations against the DSEI arms fair.

Hanna Sofie Utsi: resistance, mining and Sami culture

Hanna Sofie Utsi

Translated from the original Swedish into English by Anna Björklund

Huge machines gouge wounds in the earth, and tears run down my cheeks. The police have cleared away the local population, Sami, and activists.

My tears are of anger, sorrow, and despair, but not of hopelessness. Not in the least. The fight for Gállok and the Sami is far from over. It has only just begun.

Campaign of the Month: Stop Blood Coal

The 'Stop Blood Coal' campaign is run by PAX in the Netherlands, targetting the Drummond and Prodeco (the Colombian subsidiary of Switzerland-based Glencore) mining companies. The campaign aims to expose and challenge the links between paramilitary violence and coal mining in Colombia, support communities in their search for truth and reconciliation, and pressure European energy companies to take action against their suppliers accused of human rights abuses.

Mining, gender and militarism in Africa

Samantha Hargreaves from WoMin - an African gender and extractives alliance - speaks to Andrew Dey from WRI about the links between gender, extractive industries and militarism in Africa, and what this new network is doing to counter it.

Tell us about your work – what is Womin, when did you form, and who makes up your network? What are the critical issues you are working on?

Samantha: WoMin was launched in October 2013. We work with about 50 allied organisations in fourteen countries across Southern, East and West Africa. Most partners are working on issues of land, natural resources, extractive industries, environmental and climate justice and women’s rights. Our work with women rights organisations has generally been challenged by their focus to more 'traditional' gender issues like violence against women, women and girl child education and health, with a small number working on the terrain of environment, land and other economic justice questions.

WoMin Southern African women and coal exchange. Photo: Heidi AugestadWoMin Southern African women and coal exchange. Photo: Heidi Augestad

Securing whose future? Militarism in an age of climate crisis

Nick Buxton

For anyone concerned with militarism, news of the terrorist attacks in Brussels brought a familiar sense of dread. We ache as we hear the stories of more innocent lives lost, and we feel foreboding from the knowledge that the bombings will predictably fuel new cycles of violence and horror in targeted communities at home or abroad. It creates the binary world that neocons and terrorists seek: an era of permanent war in which all our attention and resources are absorbed – and the real crises of poverty, inequality, unemployment, social alienation and climate crisis ignored.

Campaign of the month: Canadian Mining Kills

Four days after the assassination of Berta Cáceres, a human rights and environmental activist from Honduras, activists in Canada entered the world's largest mining convention taking place in Canada, to protest extractivist projects that lead to militarisation, violence and human rights absuses. The group named some of those killed because of their activism against large-scale mining projects before being escorted from the event by police.

War profiteer of the month: Tahoe Resources


Tahoe Resources is a Canadian mining company. In mid-2010, Tahoe acquired the Escobal mine in southeast Guatemala from Goldcorp; Escobal is a 'high grade silver' mine, and also contains gold, lead and zinc. Some analysts believe it to be one of the biggest silver mines in the world. The Escobal mine is approximately 40km southeast of Guatemala City, and 3km from San Rafael los Flores.

Editorial: Stopping the War Business

War draws on deep roots, and leaves long legacies. Years before the attention-grabbing shots of bombs falling and armoured vehicles rolling around, and well after the photographers have packed up and gone home, violence is being fed, nurtured, and profited from. In November we saw the shocking attacks in Paris – the first business day after the French president 'declared war' on Daesh saw healthy growths in the share prices of some of the world's biggest arms companies.

Resisting Colonialism and Development Aggression in West Papua

Rosa Moiwend

A former Dutch colony, West Papua was occupied by the Indonesian military in 1963. The international framework that allowed this occupation to take place was based on the economic and political interests of the United States and supported by its allies the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Australia. The United Nations actively denied West Papuans right to self-determination and supported the Indonesian occupation. During the first few years of the Indonesian government’s occupation West Papuan resistance was brutally crushed through military operations and aerial bombardment. Two years before the United Nations formally facilitated the transfer of Dutch sovereignty to Indonesia – all without West Papuans consent – the United States and Indonesia established a massive gold and copper mine in West Papua. From the beginning the Freeport mine was declared a national asset and security project protected by a massive Indonesian military presence. Old fashioned colonialism marked by territorial occupation by a foreign military force remained but was augmented by neo-colonialism: intensive capital investment in the extractive industries and the influx of large numbers of Indonesians to displace indigenous West Papuans. In the early years the Indonesian government’s transmigration program was funded by the World Bank. Although on paper the project was designed as development to benefit ‘the poor’ in reality the Indonesian government’s sole objective was to protect its territorial integrity. It was militarised development that in actual fact generated poverty.

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