New report maps mining impacts of energy

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In the wake of COP-26, where world leaders agreed to make unprecedented investments in energy transition, frontline communities already in the crosshairs of essential mineral mining warn of the dangers posed by the mining boom of “green technologies”.

The Atlas of Environmental Justice, coordinated by the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technologies of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), MiningWatch Canada and the communities affected by mining in nine countries of the Americas – Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, United States and Canada – have launched a new interactive map and a new report documenting some of the social and environmental impacts of lithium, copper and graphite mining.

Through analysis of 25 cases, the report documents how the global mining industry has quickly positioned itself as the solution to the climate crisis, with companies and countries scrambling to supply the three billion tonnes of metals and minerals that some estimates will be needed. over the next 30 years to fuel the energy transition.

Mining is already growing rapidly in fragile and biodiversity-rich ecosystems such as the Amazon and other rainforests, glacial areas, salt marshes, mountain ranges and wetlands – areas often of great importance. vital importance for providing fresh water, sustaining life and regulating the climate.

This rush for metals and minerals is becoming an unprecedented financial opportunity for mining companies. However, the sharp increase in the extractive pressure for metals and minerals is worsening the environmental and social crisis, making one of the origins of the climate crisis an apparent pillar of its solution.

Frontline communities, academics and activists say that an energy transition that depends on the massive extraction of new materials without considering for what, for whom and at what socio-environmental costs, will only reinforce injustices and unsustainable practices that are already part of the climate crisis itself.

According to Dr. Mariana Walter, researcher at ICTA-UAB and Atlas of Environmental Justice, “nearly 20% of the 3,550 socio-environmental conflicts documented in the Atlas of Environmental Justice are related to mining. . This is the most controversial activity listed to date. An energy transition based on mining will only extend and intensify these conflicts, both in the North and in the South of the planet ”.

Atlas of environmental justice documents and lists social conflicts around environmental issues. The EJ Atlas is coordinated by a group of researchers committed to the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technologies of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) in collaboration with activists and researchers from all over the world.

Mines Alert Canada is a non-profit organization that provides a public interest response to threats to public health, the environment and community interests posed by irresponsible mineral policies and practices in Canada and around the world. It provides timely information and support to mining affected communities and related organizations and works on reform of mining related policies.

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