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Jubilee Australia's Resource Centre

Mining and Development

Investigating the impacts of mining, oil and gas projects on communities, especially those in the Asia-Pacific region

In some countries, the mining sector can be a source of great wealth. But for resource-rich developing countries, focussing too much on extracting these resources can often be a curse, not a blessing. This is especially true in our region. We think it is important to critically investigate the connection between mining and development; we also, where appropriate, work with communities who are trying to protect their land from unnecessary exploitation.

Even from a purely economic point of view, mining is not always as much of a benefit to the local economy as its proponents claim. The jobs that are created are few and most of the profits are often repatriated back to the country where the mining company is based.

Moreover, selling large amounts of valuable minerals and petroleum con often overvalue a country’s foreign exchange, making other export sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, tourism and manufacturing less profitable. This is why many people see mineral and petroleum wealth as less of a blessing and more of a ‘resource curse’.

At a local level, mining can be damaging to the local environment, especially if the country does have not robust enough regulations or procedures to prevent damages occurring. Finally, mining, oil and gas companies have been associated with human rights abuses against local populations unhappy with the impact of the mine on the lives.

For all these reasons, more scrutiny needs to be placed the impact of Australian mining, oil and gas projects, as well as to the support given to them by banks, by investors, and ultimately, by our government.

The Australia Institute