aerial view of the Amazon river

Mining

Winter 2014 | Volume XIII, Number 2

Table of Contents

Editor’s Letter →

by June Carolyn Erlick

First Take

First Take: Two Tales of Mining and Human Choice

First Take: Two Tales of Mining and Human Choice

Two tales of very small human settlements with mining potential may help us reflect on what Latin America, on a larger scale, faces today regarding the exploitation of minerals from its territories. At these two settlements, mining was stopped because of human choices and…

Portraits of Miners

Travails of a Miner, VIP-style

Travails of a Miner, VIP-style

English + Español
Sergio Sepúlveda is a Chilean miner with an enviable salary—equivalent to that earned by a university-educated professional. He owns a brand new Korean-made car, and every three years…

Heart of Coal

Heart of Coal

A laminated picture of the Sacred Heart hangs from a naked light bulb in Floresmiro Olaya’s prefab home. It seems that the Christ, with its heart on fire like a burning coal, stares at him out…

Thinking on Development

Mining and Economic Development in Peru

Mining and Economic Development in Peru

Over the last decade, Peru has become one of the most successful economic performers in the developing world, registering average growth rates above 6 percent a year. The resurgence of mining, at a time of high metal prices…

Making Way for Mines

Making Way for Mines

Imagine that you have to move. Imagine that you must pack all of your belongings and memories and move six miles down the road. Your town will be swallowed up to make way for an open pit copper mine. The mountain you’ve looked at all…

The Journalist in an Open Pit Mine

The Journalist in an Open Pit Mine

Some acquaintances asked me a few days ago if I missed journalism. Without hesitation, I answered yes: journalism had provided me with the tremendous privilege and opportunities for my work to be heard, seen or read, and this can turn into…

The Mining Boom in Colombia

The Mining Boom in Colombia

English + Español Back in the 1930s, the famed tango composer Carlos Gardel warned us in a lovely musical arrabal that “twenty years is nothing….” But in the area of mineral and mining, the tune is somewhat different. For more than twenty years, until

Community Responses

Indigenous People and Resistance to Mining Projects

Indigenous People and Resistance to Mining Projects

English + Español
Latin America’s governments and its indigenous peoples are clashing over the issue of mining. Governments, motivated by economic growth, have established legal frameworks to attract foreign investments to extract mining resources. When those resources are located in…

Resistance to Mining in El Salvador

Resistance to Mining in El Salvador

Will tiny El Salvador, where half the rural population lives on less than two dollars a day, become the first nation on the planet to legally ban gold mining? Or will profit-maximizing transnational mining companies succeed in using investor-friendly international…

Power, Violence and Mining in Guatemala

Power, Violence and Mining in Guatemala

It was another cold summer’s night in the Guatemalan highlands when I received a devastating phone call.“Yoli has been shot!” said a voice on the other end. Frantically, I gathered all the information I could: Was she alive? Where is…

In the Name of Development

In the Name of Development

Just over a generation ago, Wayúu healers made ritual journeys to Cerrejón Mountain, where they gathered traditional plants for remedying community members’ ailments. The people of La Guajira, Colombia, roamed the…

Mining Companies and Local Communities

Mining Companies and Local Communities

“That’s the shame of it all, because the relationship got off on that type of foot. You make noise, you get in the way, you cause a problem, we give you money; we get what we want, you’ve got what you want, and then once that…

Mining Challenges in Colombia’s El Choco

Mining Challenges in Colombia’s El Choco

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos likes to promote extractive industries as the “locomotive” that will pull the country’s economy forward. His plan projects providing mining concessions for large-scale operations to multi…

The Environment

Urban Mining

Urban Mining

Consider two seemingly unrelated issues: rising urban poverty and electronic waste. The Cities Alliance estimates that urban slums in developing countries are growing by…

Book Talk

Making A Difference

Making a Difference: Building Blocks

Making a Difference: Building Blocks

Since the first, unplanned visit of a Brazilian entrepreneur in 2011 to Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, a diverse group of professors, practitioners, civil society leaders and other committed individuals at Harvard and in Brazil have…