Applying the Concept of Human Security to Research on the Consequences of Mining-Induced Displacement and Resettlement

32 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2012

Date Written: November 18, 2012


According to a report published in recent years, developments in the mining industry are the cause of about 10.3 percent of all displacements in the world. This means that more than a million people per year may be resettled as a result of resource extraction in various parts of the globe. Countries displaying the greatest growth rate of this phenomenon include India, China, Ghana, and many other African counties. The most burning issue is the establishment of large open-pit mines in developing countries, such as the Tarkwa Mine in Ghana, and the Tedi and Porgera Mines in Papua Island. The impact of mining on the dynamics of internal displacements remains a topic rarely analyzed in the literature. Authors are more concerned with displacements induced by the construction of large dams and the creation of national parks or by ongoing urbanization processes. Instead of contributing to the well-being of local communities, the extraction of resources leads to a growing number of resettlements, environmental destruction, and a deterioration of the situation of marginalized groups. The consequences of the aforementioned problem do not diverge significantly from other categories of development-induced displacements such as oil-induced displacement, dam-induced displacement, or conservation-induced displacement.

The analysis of internal displacement has become the focus of different fields of study. Sociology, social anthropology, human rights and development studies, and even philosophy are amongst disciplines particularly useful in the exploration of the consequences of development induced displacement.

Research into this category of displacements, now under development for more than 40 years, has prompted the creation of specific theoretical concepts (i.e. the IRR model). The notion of human security also appears to be a useful scientific tool for more in-depth social analyses. Classification included in the Human Development Report published in 1994 distinguishes seven basic aspects of human security: economic security, food security, personal security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security, and political security. Extraction of mineral resources leads to substantial threats to each of these aspects. An application of the aforementioned classifications to the research on the consequences of mining-induced displacement and resettlement helps to understand the broader context of problems encountered by the displacees. However, it should also be supplemented by two specific categories: gender security and cultural security.

Keywords: internal displacement, IDPs, mining, human security, human rights

Suggested Citation

Terminski, Bogumil, Applying the Concept of Human Security to Research on the Consequences of Mining-Induced Displacement and Resettlement (November 18, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

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