Mining conference

15 September 1998

A World Bank conference this July in Padang, Papua New Guinea, discussed “mining and the community in South-East Asia” but many NGOs known to represent mine-affected people were not invited. This was despite the criticism the Bank received when it organised a similar meeting in Quito, Ecuador last year also without allocating any time for groups representing indigenous and other communities to make presentations. Ecuadorean groups wrote to World Bank President Wolfensohn complaining that:

“while representatives of communities have been invited, there is no opportunity for them to speak, other than to respond to points put forward by representatives of mining companies and other mining experts. We find this omission to be unacceptable.”

Mining and the Community: Results of the Quito Conference is available from the World Bank as an occasional paper of the Energy, Mining and Telecommunications Department. It states: “with the rapid globalisation of the mining industry, and the large absolute and relative increases in mining investment in developing countries, conflicts between mining companies and local and indigenous communites are likely to increase. Top executives in the mining industry believe that proper management of the relationship with indigenous peoples and local communities is going to be one of the biggest challenges in the next 10 to 20 years.”