The rapid global expansion and acceleration of the extractive industries presents an unprecedented & devastating land grabbing threat, claims a new report being launched in Westminster today.  The Gaia Foundation’s report, “Opening Pandora’s Box – A New Wave of Land Grabbing by the Extractive Industries and the Devastating Impact on Earth” has been produced in collaboration with GRAIN, the London Mining Network (LMN) and others. It looks at the global trends, dynamics and impacts of the extractive industries on the planets ecosystems and communities.

“This report shows clearly how the game has changed over the last decade: the grabbing of land and resources is penetrating ever more deeply into the body of the Earth.  Governments are becoming the shoe-shine boys for the extractive industries. We urgently need to set up an international system that holds those ravaging the planet to account.  This is not Nigeria’s problem, or the Gulf of Mexico’s problem: this is everyone’s problem.  The devastating impact being inflicted on ecosystems and communities must be recognised as international crimes and punished accordingly.  Directors of corporations need to be held accountable for the damage they inflict on the planet.” ...Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria


Liz Hosken, Director of The Gaia Foundation says “The issue of mining is no longer about isolated pockets of environmental and social destruction.  Now pristine ecosystems, new depths of land and sea, protected areas such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and even the UK Home Counties are targets for the extractive industries.”

Henk Hobbelink, coordinator of GRAIN, adds “We urgently need to wake up to the new reality, and take stock of the voracious new appetite and spread of the extractive industries. In opening up the Earth, we are reminded of the story of opening Pandora’s Box, which warns of the dangers of wreaking irreversible damage on the planet.  Now, can we close the lid on our greed while there is still hope?”

The report identifies the dangerous convergence of trends which are leading to unprecedented and unsustainable growth and scale in mining across the planet.  The last decade has seen a rapid increase in throwaway “upgrade” culture in new technologies, driving a steady increase in mineral extraction. The 2008 economic collapse and a rush to invest in tangibles such as metals, minerals and oil have further pushed up prices, providing incentives for exploitation of new territories and deposits.  This has been enabled by technological developments in the controversial practices of “fracking”, tar sands, deep offshore drilling and mountain top removal.  In addition to their destructive impacts on vast areas, these technologies use huge amounts of energy, water and toxic chemicals, and have a far greater carbon footprint than conventional fossil fuels. 

"This report reminds us that the increasing level of environmental destruction by the world's mining industry is unsustainable. The result of the massive expansion of mineral exploitation may be short-term prosperity for shareholders and national elites but it comes at the cost of destruction of livelihoods and culture for many of the communities most directly affected and of ecological catastrophe for the planet. We owe it to the communities affected, to future generations, and to the planet itself, to wrest back power from the mining multinationals, massively slow the pace of mining expansion, and move away from a ludicrous economic model that demands that the mining industry behave as if there's no tomorrow." – Richard Solly, Co-ordinator, London Mining Network

"If we think of the world as just material and matter, we will plunder, we will grab, and we will fights for ownership. But when we think of the world, as Earth, as the very condition of our life, and we have a creative unity with her, then we will find joy in lowering our consumption. I urge everyone to read this report and open their eyes to the true cost of mining." – Dr. Vandana Shiva, founding Director, Navdanya, India

“This admirably succinct report speaks with clarity and abundant sense. Damage on a massive scale, virtually irreparable, is being perpetrated as a result of our insatiable and unending pursuit of growth and profit. The necessary data is all here. Doing nothing is not an option.  We must now make amends and initiate change. Before it is too late, the crime of Ecocide should be recognised and placed alongside the other international crimes against peace like genocide.” - Michael Mansfield, QC

“The global extractive industries are causing a new wave of landgrabbing on a scale that the world has never seen before. Mining is on the rise everywhere. In the process, wild ecosystems and fertile farm soils get destroyed, water sources poisoned and local communities dispossessed. Read ‘Opening Pandora’s Box’. When you’re finished, you won’t be able to just close it and put it aside. You’ll have to go out and do something about it. “ - Henk Hobbelink, Co-ordinator, GRAIN

The report will be available as a downloadable pdf from the Gaia Foundation website from today Wednesday 29th February :

The Gaia Foundation   

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ERA has recently received information that a group calling itself the "Niger Delta Coalition in the Diaspora" is still engaging itself in activities and communications giving the impression that it is linked with Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

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