Mining-Induced Displacement and Resettlement: Social Problem and Human Rights Issue (A Global Perspective)

45 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2012 Last revised: 18 Jul 2013

Bogumil Terminski


Date Written: August 10, 2012


The object of this paper is to present mining-induced displacement and resettlement (MIDR) as a highly diverse global socioeconomic issue occurring in all regions of the world, as a human rights issue, and as a source of challenges to public international law and and institutions providing humanitarian assistance. Development-induced displacement is primarily an socioeconomic issue associated with loss or significant reduction of access to basic resources on which communities depend. Physical abandonment of the existing residence shall therefore secondary to the loss of access to material resources such as land, pastures, forests and clean water as well as intangible resources such as socio-economic ties. More in-depth analysis has been preceded by an introduction which draws attention to the specific nature of MIDR as one of the categories of internal displacement. Mining-induced displacement is currently not a statistically significant category of development-induced displacement and resettlement (DIDR). Nevertheless, the social costs of exploitation are great, and that is why the topic is worthy of a wider and more profound scientific analysis. The first displacement caused by mining dates back to the late nineteenth century. As pointed out by Walter Fernandes, in India alone, mining has led to the displacement of more than 1,5 million people over the last fifty years (particularly in Jharkhand region). Other sources estimated the scale of mining-caused displacement in India at more than 2,55 million people between 1950 and 1990. Contrary to the opinions of some specialists, the problem of mining-induced displacement and resettlement is a global problem, occurring on all continents. Countries with particularly large-scale MIDR include: India, China, many African countries (e.g. Ghana, Mali, Zimbabwe) and even Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The problem of compulsory resettlement is also a consequence of open pit coal mining in European countries like Germany and Poland. Although mining-induced displacement is a global phenomenon, problems experienced by the displacees in many parts of the world differ greatly. The largest portion of the displacement is caused by open-pit mining (associated with the extraction of gold, copper, iron, lignite, and diamonds).

Keywords: mining, displacement, resettlement, relocation, development-induced displacement, mining-induced displacement, forced migration, lignite mining, open-cast mining, open-pit mine, open-pit mining

Suggested Citation

Terminski, Bogumil, Mining-Induced Displacement and Resettlement: Social Problem and Human Rights Issue (A Global Perspective) (August 10, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Bogumil Terminski (Contact Author)

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