More than 60% of the world’s poorest people live in countries with valuable and abundant natural resources like oil, gas and minerals. But in a tragic contradiction, most of these citizens rarely share in the wealth.

The dark side of Australia’s mining industry

Extractive industries often unleash pollution, corruption, displacement, social unrest and human rights violations. Oil and minerals are already the number-one export of most poor countries, and countries are becoming increasingly dependent on these exports.

Many of the world’s mining giants call Australia home. In recent years, Australia has profited from a global mining boom which has seen the industry increase its activities both here and overseas. But more and more, the Australian mining industry is active in countries where corruption is rife and conflict is an ever-present risk.

Mining companies that don’t respect human rights or protect the environment may cause harm to the communities living around their operations. And it’s the most at-risk people — women and Indigenous people — who are worst affected.

It doesn’t have to be this way

Globally, Oxfam affiliates work to break the cycle of corruption and harness the potential of extractive industries to support sustainable development.

We believe local communities most directly affected should have a voice in whether oil, gas and mining projects proceed, and how they are carried out. We also believe that projects should be socially and environmentally responsible. These projects should not add to poverty and powerlessness, rather, they should help overcome them.

Oxfam International advocates for just government policies and corporate practices in the oil, gas and mining industries, and supports the right of communities to participate meaningfully in decisions about the development of natural resources.

You can read more about the work of Oxfam’s global affiliates here.