Responsible mining in the Andean countries

Project description

Title: Regional Cooperation for the Sustainable Management of Mining in the Andean Countries
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru
Regional executing agency: Regional executing agency: United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
Overall term: 2016 to 2022

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Context

The risks of climate change are forcing a global energy and transport transition in which natural raw materials will play a key role. Demand for large quantities of mineral resources and metals such as lithium and copper is expected to surge, which could benefit certain countries in the Andes. Countries that are dependent on coal exports must prepare for changes on the market. 

This brings both opportunities and challenges for the Andes region. On the one hand, increased demand for minerals could result in higher state revenues. On the other, existing challenges may worsen. These include lack of transparency regarding the revenues, socio-ecological conflicts surrounding the mining sites and the existence of economic cycles that are not networked with the domestic economy.

To ensure that the mining industry promotes long-term development, appropriate political measures and strategies need to be developed. These should link proven economic, social and environmental methods along the entire value and supply chain for mineral resources. At the same time, it is important to respect human rights and involve minorities and women in decisions. It is also necessary to economically network the mining sector with the regions and communities in which the operations are located.

Objective

The Andean countries are able to plan and implement responsible mining practices. Transparency along the supply and value chain for minerals is improved.

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Approach

The project promotes international standards for developing responsible mining practices. They contribute to the international climate agenda and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This takes place through pilot projects and the exchange of experiences between the regional partners. The project also supports initiatives for responsible supply chains and the development of certification systems. It strengthens the capacities of the authorities in the Andean countries for designing their complaints mechanisms in a way that is more accessible to residents of mining communities and for processing the complaints more efficiently.

As a central element, the project encourages governments, private-sector companies, civil-society organisations and international institutions to work together. The close cooperation between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) makes it possible to combine mining expertise with socio-economic and environmental knowledge.

Results

  • The project has mainstreamed the topic of sustainable mining in the regions and established a network of more than 1,000 ‘change agents’ for sustainability issues.
  • More than 350 people, of whom 44 per cent were women, have received training in topics such as transfer prices, transparency and the management of environmental pollution.
  • The analysis and networking capabilities of regional and civil-society organisations and networks have been strengthened.
  • Six partnerships with representatives of different interest groups have received support.
  • The project has also systematised and developed approaches to conflict resolution and gender equality.
  • Furthermore, it has developed the scientific, technical, social and financial foundations for cleaning up five former mining operations. This included training the responsible national, regional and local authorities.

Last update: May 2021