Mountain Movers: Mining, Sustainability and the Agents of Change, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Mountain Movers

Mining, Sustainability and the Agents of Change, 1st Edition

By Daniel M. Franks


178 pages | 27 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415711715
pub: 2015-09-10
Hardback: 9780415711708
pub: 2015-09-23
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315884400
pub: 2015-09-16
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The products of mining are everywhere – if it wasn’t grown, it was mined or drilled. But the mining industry has a chequered past. Pollution, human rights abuses, and corruption have tarnished the reputation of the industry across the globe. Over a decade ago the major mining companies embraced the concept of sustainable and equitable development and embarked on an explicit process of reform – but has the industry actually changed?

This book explores the dynamics of change-making for sustainable development in the resources sector, specifically the mining of mineral and energy resources. The author recounts the stories and insights of over forty change-makers both inside and outside the industry, from anti-mining activists to the professionals charged with the task of reform, introducing the people who are moving an industry that moves mountains. The book takes stock of what has worked and what has not, analyzing the relative influence and dynamics of the key corporate, civil society and government actors with a view to developing new approaches for improving environmental and social outcomes from mineral and energy development.

Illustrated with case studies from Angola, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and The United States of America, and brimming with the backstories to the major sustainability initiatives, Mountain Movers reveals where progress has been made and where reform is still needed towards a more sustainable and equitable mining industry.


"A sobering and powerful account… Mountain Movers beautifully and dispassionately takes us through the shades and colorations of mining, the paradoxes confronting the sector, the motivations for change, the unattended frustrations, the mountains still to climb, and the gains achieved so far."Antonio Pedro, Spearhead of the Africa Mining Vision and Director, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa.

"Expansive and compelling, Franks delves into the heart of industry change – and finds that it is the people. A blueprint for the next necessary wave of extractive industry reform."Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum and Former Vice-President & Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, World Bank Group.

"Mountain Movers documents the important progress made in recent years in the global mining industry and the urgent and continuing need for further reform."Keith Slack, Global Program Manager, Extractive Industries, Oxfam America.

"The narrative is engrossing and enlivened by the author's first-hand accounts of visits to remote regions— some, but not all, in mountain areas—and his conversations with key actors and “movers” in the mining and petroleum industries. Although “many in the industry have been slow to recognize that the extraction of resources is as much a ‘social project’ as a technical one” (pp 103–104), remarkable progress has been accomplished since the Global Mining Initiative was formulated 20 years ago. In conclusion, Franks reflects positively on these achievements while urging that there is still much to do." - Norman R. Moles, School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton, Brighton

Table of Contents

Part 1: The Imperative of Change

1. Breaking New Ground

The 'long petal of sea, wine and snow'

Pangue, the Bío-Bío and the Performance Standards

The Global Mining Initiative

The Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development Project

Part 2: The Markers of Change

2. Rights

People and their place

Saltwater, freshwater

Beds are burning

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

Protect, Respect, Remedy

Free, Prior and Informed Consent

3. Environment

Sirloin and sausages

Marinduque and Marcopper



The International Cyanide Management Code

Climate, water and energy

Biodiversity and rehabilitation

Quicksilver and the Virgin Mary

Onto the agenda

4. Development

Sudbury to Sewell

An agent of social development?

Backward, forward

The Africa Mining Vision

The Social Way

The Sustainable Resource Communities Policy

The bird-poo war

La Tirana and The Esmeralda


5. Conflict

Near and far

The belligerent’s best friend

Fatal Transactions

‘Big Hole’ and the de Beer brothers

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme

The legacy of blood diamonds

Community rising

The costs of company-community conflict

Getting to the table

6. Transparency

Dirty deals, done dirt-cheap

A crude awakening

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The Natural Resource Charter

A mandatory standard after all

Part 3: The Agents of Change

7. Mountain Movers

The bald mountain

A governance ‘ecosystem’



The theatre of agency

Conclusion: The mines are they a-changin’?

About the Author

Daniel M. Franks is Deputy Director at the Centre for Social Responsibility of Mining at the University of Queensland's Sustainable Minerals Institute, Australia, and serves as Co-Chair for Social Impact Assessment at the International Association for Impact Assessment.

About the Series

Routledge Studies of the Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development

This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to the extractive industries and sustainable development, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes textbooks, research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics