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Transnational Mining Corporations, the Environment, and Indigenous Communities

Multinational Corporations
Al Gedicks

Mining is the single most destructive assault on the environment. It moves more earth and produces more toxic waste than any other industry. Large-scale use of minerals began with the Industrial Revolution and has grown exponen- tially in centuries since. The size and scale of modern mining operations is unprecedented. Between 1970 and 2004, the global extraction of major metals grew by over 75 percent, industrial minerals by 53 percent, and construction materials by 106 percent. Worldwide demand for numerous metals, as well as for energy sources such as coal, oil, gas, and uranium, has been spurred by a variety of factors, including China and India’s expanding economies, increased production of consumer electronic products, and the highest military and in- dustrial consumption rates of these materials in history.