Mining and Development in the Andes: Alternative strategies for mining-based economies
Alternative policy approaches to the extractive industries in Peru
Dr. José de Echave, Cooperacción (by video link)
Mining activity has the potential to bring significant developmental benefits to countries in the Andes. However, as resources are exhausted, governments are turning to exploration in less desirable areas and proposing projects which may cause serious environmental damage. This has increasingly resulted in conflict with local communities and raises questions about how to manage and regulate the extractive industries. There are also broader debates about the risks and dangers associated with depending on a handful of commodities to sustain national economies, particularly when these are non-renewable.
Even while governments pursue "extractivist" policies, innovative alternative development proposals are emerging from civil society and from governments themselves. Both the Bolivian and Ecuadorian governments have included the language and principles of vivir bien in development plans and laws. Others prioritise in-country processing of raw materials or a move away from export-based, growth-centred strategies. Another approach is simply to better regulate large-scale mining investment so as to maximise its spread effects and contribution to local development.