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The Dirty Secrets of Gold Mining in Senegal

“Look at it,” Samba says as he hands me a solid piece of gold. “It’s better than farming.” I take the gold nugget in my hand. It shines in the late morning sun, beautiful despite its ugly history. The past few months of digging for gold as an artisanal gold miner have paid off for…

Why Kill a Snow Leopard Conservation Ranger? Energy Sprawl and Land-Use Conflict

By Joe Kiesecker, Scientist for Lands Conservation, The Nature Conservancy Note: This is the second article in a series on “energy sprawl,” the conversion of new land for energy production. Read the first installment here. A mysterious and untimely death is not what first comes to mind when I think about wildlife conservation. But the…

Tanzania’s Formalization of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining

Artisanal and Small-scale mining (ASM) continues to be a major source of hope for millions of peasants and rural entrepreneurs worldwide. Yet, it also poses challenges for states in terms of regulation and capturing resource rents for national development. The sector has been widely studied in social science and has interested me for the past…

The Legendary Gem Mines of Mogok Myanmar (Burma): Is Responsible Sourcing Possible Beyond Sanctions?

Almost five years ago, I invited two eminent gemologists to post their perspectives on linking environmental conservation and gemstone mining through an innovative mechanism of supply chain tracing. In this post, Dr. Laurent Cartier, one of the authors of the earlier article, shares perspectives on how the colored gemstone sector in post-sanctions Myanmar / Burma…

Mining a Better Future for the Solomon Islands

By Ms. Robyn James, Conservation Director Melanesia and Barbara Masike, Country Program Director, Papua New Guinea, The Nature Conservancy The Solomon Islands are facing dramatic and imminent changes from large-scale mining across the country. Without proper planning and access to information, developments like mining will jeopardize the natural resources upon which most Solomon Islanders depend. With…

Planning for Change in One of the Most Intact Places on Earth

For the first time in Ontario’s Far North, efforts to encourage a regional approach as well as a fundamental transformation in Canadian environmental assessment law may converge. Such a process could unite First Nations, government staff, scientists, and other groups in the shared goal of protecting the ecological and cultural web of life that will sustain the Far North for future generations.

It Is Up to My Country to Ensure that the Grauer’s Gorilla Does Not Disappear

A report by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) and Fauna & Flora International (FFI) documents the collapse of the world’s largest great ape- the Grauer’s gorilla – due to a combination of illegal hunting around mining sites, civil unrest, and habitat destruction. I am proud to be part of a generation of Congolese conservationists who, together with a worldwide network of wildlife organizations, have never been better equipped and more committed to save this iconic species.

Our Heart Is on Banaba: Stories From “The Forgotten People of the Pacific”

“Our heart is in Banaba, not in Fiji,” Burentau Tabunawati explained, sitting cross-legged in his home in the Fiji capital, Suva City. “I am 76 years old, but still, in my mind and in my heart, I am on Ocean Island.” Tabunawati was born on Banaba, also known as Ocean Island, a coral island once…

How should mining companies invest in social capital during economic downturns?

For the past three years, I have been one of the instructors in the Advanced Social Management Program for AngloAmerican Corporation, a major global mining company. The program is managed by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and involves two separate intensive masterclasses in South Africa and Chile and a six month group…

Minerals are Essential to address Climate Change and meet Sustainable Development Goals

In 2013, the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) launched the Resourcing Future Generations (RFG) initiative to bring world attention to the challenges of sustaining resource supplies. The RFG initiative includes a diverse group of geoscientists, environmental and social scientists and economists, drawn from a range of institutions with diverse private and public experience in…

The Muslim Miners of Mongolia

Dedicated to exploring the connections between society and the environment, Saleem H. Ali reflects on a visit to a small mining town in Mongolia which hosts a diverse cultural heritage and is planning for a sustainable future.

Ethiopia’s Bentonite Trail: A Development Path?

By Rodger Barnes In this guest post Rodger Barnes  reports from the Afar region of Ethiopia on the mining of bentonite – an aluminum phyllo-silicate mineral used in drilling processes worldwide. Industrial minerals are often overlooked in the mining and development discourse although they clearly have a potential to make a social and economic contribution…

The Peel River Watershed: The Endangered Wilderness of Canada’s Yukon

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by Peter Mather, Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers. From the front seat of our Cessna 172, the…

Thank Goodness for Guano

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A law originally intended to promote mining on remote islands has become the key to protecting the waters around them, and it all comes down to the stuff you try to keep of your newly washed car.

View from Kinshasa: Minerals and Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo

From 2000 to 2005, I was asked to teach an annual module in environmental conflict resolution at a program for mid-career professionals from developing countries held at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (funded by the Henry R. Luce Foundation). In one of the earlier…