Rural communities and indigenous peoples often lack legal title to their lands, even though they may have occupied the same lands for many generations. In many countries the law does not recognize indigenous peoples as owners of their lands. Consequently, they are often vulnerable to eviction when a mining lease is granted.
This may be imposed without prior consultation, meaningful compensation, or the offer of equivalent lands elsewhere.
Local communities around the world are demanding that new mining projects only go forward with their approval.This concept is called “free, prior, and informed consent” or FPIC and is recognized for indigenous peoples under an international convention. FPIC protects the international human right that “all peoples have the right to self-determination” and linked to the right to self determination, “all peoples have the right to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”.
A close examination of the social impacts of the mining industry reveals a consistent pattern of disregard for community rights to free, prior, and informed consent as well as other basic human rights.