From 4 to 5 February 2014, Stephanie Booker and Frances Kelsey of Natural Justice attended the 5th Alternative Mining Indaba, held at the Ritz Hotel in Cape Town.
The Alternative Mining Indaba, organised by Bench Marks Foundation, Oxfam, the Economic Justice Network and Norwegian Church Aid, brought together 200 activists from all over Africa as well as from Brazil, Canada and Myanmar to discuss, from the perspective of local communities, the impacts of mining and other extractive industries.
The Alternative Mining Indaba was held at the same time as the African Mining Indaba, an international mining conference taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and therefore provided an alternative space for those organisations working with communities to focus on the local social, economic and environmental impacts of mining. Under the heading “Our Resources, Our Future, Putting Local People First”, various groups - from community forums to international non-governmental organisations presented and discussed their experiences, knowledge and expertise on the impact of mining.
In parallel sessions, presentations fuelled discussion on specific issues, including community rights and community empowerment in relation to mining activities; mining and social protection; civil society’s response to illicit financial flows in the extractives sector; and community perspectives on the oil, gas and forestry industries.
In their presentation on free, prior and informed consent in the extractives context, Oxfam America mentioned community protocols as a potential tool for engendering constructive dialogue between companies and communities.