Phillips, A (2001) ‘Mining and Protected Areas. Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development’


Recognizing that resource projects can have both negative and positive local economic, environmental and social effects, Precept 5 outlines the internationally accepted frameworks governing resource extraction. The paper by Phillips addresses the issue of mining in protected areas, thereby assisting in steering the design and implementation of best practice guidelines as outlined in Precept 5.

Phillips presents both mining and conservation perspectives on mining in protected areas and calls for a dialogue between the two communities. The paper suggests that mining ought to be considered in its land use, with access to such land requiring “prior approval by government, informed consent of local communities and a commitment to conservation of biodiversity and of other natural and cultural values” (p. 4). A vision for a sustainable approach to mining and land use ought to involve a number of aspects:

    - A development or land use plan for a particular region or country, which seeks to maximize social, economic and environmental objectives.

    - A number of graded policies reflecting varying degrees of sensitivity of natural values to mining.

    - The establishment of ‘no go’ areas which are off limits to mining.

 Of particular difficulty is reaching an agreement on ‘no go’ areas for mining and on restrictions on mining activities in protected areas. The author calls on mining companies to recognize the different categories of protected areas where mining ought to be prohibited. This can be achieved through a joint declaration by major mining companies recognizing ‘no go’ areas and protected areas as well as supporting the work program of the conservation bodies. The conservation community on the other hand ought to improve the application of the protected areas categories system.

Access the article here.