Photo: "File:Ultrapure neodymium under argon, 5 grams.jpg" by Hi-Res Images of Chemical Elements is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Climate change and then climate crises have given rise to the idea of moving away from fossil fuel to renewable energy technologies. However, renewable energy technologies create an even bigger drive to extractive mining. Renewable energy technologies rely heavily on transition minerals and rare earth minerals.

Photo: "File:Ultrapure neodymium under argon, 5 grams.jpg" by Hi-Res Images of Chemical Elements is licensed under CC BY 3.0

The idea that human rights and ecosystems can be sacrificed to mining in the name of “solving” climate change, while at the same time mining companies profit from an unjust, arbitrary, and volatile transition is the definition of what academics, communities, and organizations called as “green extractivism.” Dispossession, systemic racism, patriarchy, corporate power, and impunity are part of the (Neo) colonialism that encourages the extractivism.

A report produced by War on Want highlights several things on what they called “extractivism” and what alternatives are available. The first part of the report laid out what minerals belong to transition minerals and how the mineral transition mining industries operate. The second part discussed the environmental and social conflicts and human rights abuse around transition mineral mining. The grievance mechanism available, and what are missing are discussed in the next part. The last part talked about the transition to not only a circular economy but a circular society. a

The report also includes two study cases from Indonesia and the Philippines, two of the biggest nickel reserve countries. Anti-mining activists in the Philippines, particularly in the grassroots, suffer human rights abuses –harassment, criminalization, forced displacement, and cyber-attacks. While the nickel mine in Weda Bay, Indonesia, which will use DSTP would threaten the marine ecosystem and local community’s subsistence. It also encourages land conflict.

Download the report here.