Mining represents a great opportunity for economic growth, especially for emerging economies. It is often seen as the path to prosperity. However, the mining industry is a double edged sword. Countries in Latin America are managing to attract significant foreign investment. In Chile, the extractive sector’s participation in the economy has tripled in the last 10 years, reaching 15% of GDP. In Colombia and Peru, it has doubled to 10% of GDP. The Santos administration in Colombia has made mining one of its top policy priorities.
However, there may be significant downsides to mining, as governments are forced to offer favorable conditions to mining companies and investors. This is having negative consequences for the environment, national revenues, and human rights. If badly managed, the mining boom might even harm long-term economic growth. This week, communities from Colombia, South Africa, Mongolia, and the U.S. will demonstrate in London against some of the world’s largest mining companies.
Lisa E. Sachs,
Great Debate: Mining in Latin America,
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/sustainable_investment_staffpubs/145