Water travels around the Earth, from the mountains to the oceans. Large-scale mining impacts every stage of this water cycle. It pollutes, depletes and destroys sources of fresh water, meaning that many communities are unable to enjoy their human right to water

DIGGING

Mining means digging into the Earth to extract minerals, metals and fossil fuels. This displaces communities who live where mining happens. It also destroys farmland, forests and wetlands, depriving them of water and turning them into deserts where little can grow.

DAMAGING

Mining can change the course of rivers, drain lakes and disrupt water sources that lie deep underground. This damages water systems that may take many generations to recover.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Mining produces and uses lots of dirty energy. This causes climate change. Climate change intensifies both droughts and flooding which can damage crops, forests and homes.

TOXIC POLLUTION

Mining pollutes rivers, lakes and oceans with toxic waste. Because water flows, this pollution can spread over large distances and can last for many generations, making people, animals and fish very ill.

NO WATER

Mining uses huge amounts of water. It often takes this water from sources used by communities, depriving humans, animals, fish and many other beings of adequate water.

WATER GIVES US LIFE

Water nourishes our bodies when we drink it and keeps us alive.

We wash our bodies and the bodies of our children with water to stay clean and healthy.

Water helps us to grow our food so that we can eat and stay strong.

Water nurtures the lives of the fish, plants, trees, birds and animals that are our relatives and fill our lives with joy and sustenance.

Water in the rivers, lakes and oceans floats our boats and allows us to travel and trade.

When water is clean and healthy, life thrives.

MINING HARMS WATER IN MANY WAYS

Mining requires lots of water. It takes water away from communities, drying up rivers and lakes, leaving no water behind for people and animals.

Mining produces toxic waste that can pollute water over time, and over very large distances.

This toxic waste turns clean, healthy water into water that is unsafe to drink, cook or wash with. This water can make people and animals very sick.

Mines can cause disasters that spill lots of toxic waste all at once, killing fish and animals, polluting water, destroying people’s homes, lands and lives.

The water pollution caused by mining can last for many generations, long after a mine has closed.

When water is used up or polluted by mining, life cannot thrive.

WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT

All humans, without exception, have the right to clean, healthy, accessible water. This is a global law.

Every government and business, even mining companies, must respect the human right to water. This means they must not use-up, pollute or harm the water sources that people and nature rely upon.

For us to enjoy our human right, we must first protect water itself and water’s right to remain healthy and clean.

If mining companies and governments do not respect the human right to water, or water itself, it is the responsibility of every person to stand up for water and defend it for future generations.

Water is life. We must stand up to defend it.

WATER IS LIFE POSTER

Download: Water is Life poster

Also available in Spanish and French

BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR PROTECTING YOUR COMMUNITY FROM EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES

This 5-page introduction to how to protect your community from mining is perfect for helping communities respond rapidly to emerging threats from mining in their regions.

Download: Protecting your community from mining, a basic guide.

Also available in Spanish and French

This is an abbreviated version of a longer guide written by Carlos Zorilla, a community organiser and anti-extractive campaigner from Intag, Ecuador.

Distilling Carlos’s learnings from several decades resisting a copper mine, this new short guide is a key tool for any community that finds itself threatened by mining. It includes a discussion of:

  • Early warning signs- is your community being considered for mining?
  • How to avoid community division and counter corporate divide-and conquer tactics before mining occurs.
  • The importance of documentation, legal challenges and building networks to stop mining projects.

WATER IS LIFE. DON’T UNDERMINE IT

Download UnderMining the Water Cycle 
Produced by The Gaia Foundation this publication explores the role the extractive industries are playing in exacerbating the global freshwater crisis.

A film by the Gaia Foundation.
Animation: Ben Pearce.
Music & Sound: Richard Zeddell

BENEATH THE SURFACE:
COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS TO THE GLOBAL MINING THREAT 

Beneath the surface is a series of videos produced by the New Media Advocacy Project that educates, empowers, and connects communities impacted by the mining industry. By sharing stories and practical advice from communities already impacted by mining with communities where mining will soon occur, beneath the surface gives communities around the world a fighting chance against multinational mining corporations.