Many mining boom towns swell with job seekers and their families, and nearby farmers displaced by the mine. They converge on towns and cities, increasing demand for social services and in many cases changing the character of a place. Increased alcoholism, prostitution, drug use, and other crime can increase with the influx of job seekers.
Mining can provoke fundamental changes to local governance: While mining companies may fund social programs and provide infrastructure such as roads and schools, this may have the unintended consequence of displacing local government and decision-making structures. And when the minerals are gone and the mining stops, mining communities can become financially and politically unstable as they are forced to absorb the costs of cleaning up environmental damage.
Loss of Traditional Ways of Living
Large, open-pit mines can displace farmers and other groups, including indigenous peoples, from their ancestral lands, frequently without enough compensation to buy land elsewhere. Those that hang on frequently experience a loss of revenue due to the environmental damage to the resources on which they rely for agriculture, such as water.
The Defensoria del Pueblo of Peru recently reported over 200 social conflicts in Peru, most of which are linked to extractive industry projects. But communities' concerns about water pollution, human rights, and the ecological destruction often associated with mining projects often falls on deaf ears.
The trade in minerals such as tin and tungsten has also fuelled brutal conflict in the Congo, eventually leading to legislation to prohibit “conflict minerals.”
The conflicts highlight the need for FPIC, and the government recognized that. Peru passed a new community consultation law that demonstrates the country's intention to quell many of these conflicts. It gives communities the right to determine what, if any, extractive operations are permitted in their areas.