1st Edition

Mountain Movers Mining, Sustainability and the Agents of Change

By Daniel M. Franks Copyright 2015
    194 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    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’?


    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.

    "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