Transferring Wealth, Developing Poverty
Posted: 5 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 2014
When large-scale mining companies alight in remote locations, their arrival has significant social and environmental effects on the communities and ecosystems that receive them. In recent years, these effects have been measured by impact assessment reports and this article is driven by the observation that these reports are often sterile in comparison to the complexity and texture of an investment’s actual effects. This Article is informed by countless hours of interviews in the highlands of Colombia and brings to light some of the impacts not included in traditional impact assessments. In particular, it describes how a variety of stakeholders have received a proposed gold mining project and the legal strategies they have employed to resist the project. As a counterpoint, the Article also articulates the legal and financial tools available to companies in these contexts. By inquiring into the legal and extra-legal strategies companies and communities have to protect their interests, this Article takes a critical perspective on the argument that this type of foreign direct investment is a positive development outcome and instead concludes that mining projects like the one under investigation herein have the capacity to facilitate large-scale wealth transfers from resource rich countries to the companies that invest in them.
Keywords: human rights, development, natural resources, mining, gold, foreign direct investment, environment, activism, politics, law & development, Greystar, EcoOro, Paramo de Santurban, Colombia
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