Mining projects are often established on land which is already occupied and used by people who
depend on farming, ranching, fishing and artisanal mining for their livelihoods. The establishment of
a mining project will therefore cause changes in the environment, economy and society of these
people. These changes can either be positive or negative. Positive changes are associated with
enhanced welfare of the society through responsible mining that is socially and environmentally
Meanwhile, negative changes are associated irresponsible mining that diminishes the
welfare of host communities through environmental degradation, destruction of the means of
livelihoods and other social costs.
The establishment of a mining project raises the hopes and expectations of host communities. Mining
projects come with the promise of development in the form of job creation, infrastructure
improvements such as roads and improved service delivery. Yet hope is deferred as mining
companies claim they want to recoup capital expenses and eventually the hope fades away as
companies declare losses, retrench staff and shuts down once the mineral is depleted. It is left to the
community to ponder means of reclaiming its amputated environment, with no financial resources
to assist them.†
The host communities are found having to contemplate whether the arrival of a mine investment will
improve or deteriorate community welfare and to what extent. Foretelling the magnitude and nature
of these changes is hard enough for everyone and more so for rural dwellers who usually have no
access to critical information such as mining contracts, mine plans, environmental impact
assessments and community development plans.
The government and mining companies often lack full disclosure of information and engaging
communities on the negative impacts. Without full disclosure, communities often end up with
expectations that far exceed what the miners are capable of providing. Host communities often find
themselves having to face the reality of environmental degradation, interruption of livelihoods and
cultural invasion with little return by way of benefits. This situation leads to conflicts between
communities and mining companies.
Company-community conflict can also arise because change is experienced differently by different
stakeholders and can be inequitable or incompatible with community membersí values and interests
(Davis & Franks, 2014).
Conflicts within the natural resource sector have attracted greater attention and scrutiny from
scholars, governments and non-governmental organizations in recent times. The impacts of mining
companies on the surrounding community and the distribution of the costs and benefits of resource
development and community involvement in decision making influence the nature of company community
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s) and not do necessarily reflect the views of the AfricaFiles' editors and network members. They are included in our material as a reflection of a diversity of views and a variety of issues. Material written specifically for AfricaFiles may be edited for length, clarity or inaccuracies.
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