Nine members of the Justice in Mining (Jesuit GIAN working group on mining) network are in Johannesburg this week from 12th t0 15th November 2018 to participate in the Thematic Social Forum on Mining and the Extractivist Economy. The office of Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar JCAM Justice and Ecology Office is also participating in the forum.

The Justice in Mining representatives join more than 300 delegates from faith-based and community groups around the globe to discuss issues arising from mining activity, including environmental damage and human rights abuses.

The Thematic Social Forum is modelled on World Social Forums and is organised by the People’s Dialogue and a range of partners including Franciscans International and CIDSE (Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité”/ International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity).

In introducing the event, organisers note that mining projects can have devastating environmental and social impacts. “Affected communities, especially women, indigenous peoples, workers’ and environmentalist movements, as well as scholars and researchers who investigate these phenomena have identified the need to unite, articulate, and enhance their often isolated or fragmented efforts. In this scenario, it was proposed that  a Thematic Social Forum on Mining and Extractivist Economy, be tailored  with the aim to consolidate a broad movement of resistance and social control over extractive activities, as well as the launching of the Campaign for the “Right to say no” to socially and environmentally degrading projects.”

Julie Edwards, the global leader of Justice in Mining, said: “We see this as an exciting opportunity to forge relationships with other organisations operating in this field and thereby strengthen our own advocacy work. Mining projects are frequently international in nature, involving large corporations headquartered in one jurisdiction with operations in another. It follows that collaborating with our peers internationally can enhance the effectiveness of our Network.”

The nine Justice in Mining delegates represent every Jesuit region, and will contribute local perspectives and experience to discussions at the forum. Justice in Mining will also present a workshop highlighting the Ignatian approach to advocacy and drawing on field experience of members from Mexico, Democratic Republic of Congo and India. “We have already seen the benefits of networking across the Society of Jesus,” Ms Edwards said. “By connecting with other advocates we take this networking to the next level.”

“It is a momentous occasion for us to continue to finding ways to make mining work for communities. What we are pushing for is to make business work for economic and social development. That business also serve community interests and not merely profits” said Fr Charles Chilufya, the head of the JCAM Justice and Ecology Office said.

“While we appreciate the need to develop through mining and other businesses, we must also take into account the need to preserve our environment, the support base of our life” Fr.  Chilufya added

Article by Justice in mining