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Photo: Jerry Galea/OxfamAUS

Impacts of Mining

Mining can impact local communities both positively and negatively. While positive impacts such as employment and community development projects are important, they do not off-set the potential negatives.

We have found mining can negatively affect people by:

  • forcing them from their homes and land
  • preventing them from accessing clean land and water
  • impacting on their health and livelihoods
  • causing divisions in communities over who benefits from the mine and who doesn’t
  • changing the social dynamics of a community
  • exposing them to harassment by mine or government security

These impacts are exacerbated when local people aren’t consulted and are given no information about a planned mine. Even worse is when people are not given a say on whether or not a mine should even be developed.

The potential benefits that mining brings to a community can be undermined if secrecy surrounds the payment of mining taxes to the government or the benefits shared at the local level.

The gendered impacts of mining

Our work shows that the impacts of mining are not gender neutral. Women often experience the negative impacts of mining more than men, and rarely receive the benefits that men do.

Our works shows that:

  • women aren’t consulted when companies negotiate access to land, compensation or benefits
  • when mining damages the environment, it undermines women’s ability to provide food and clean water for their families and can increase their workload
  • compensation and benefits are paid to men “on behalf of” their families, denying women access to mining’s financial benefits and potentially increasing their economic dependence on men
  • women can lose their traditional status in society when mining creates a cash-based economy
  • a transient male work force can bring increased alcohol, sex workers and violence into a community, which can affect women’s safety
  • women mine workers often face discrimination, poor working conditions and unequal pay for equal work

Oxfam reports

Over the years Oxfam has undertaken many case studies on the impacts of mining.

Our reports can be found here:


Out of Sight, Out of Mined
Poor environmental practices by mining companies can impact on the people who depend on clean water for their livelihoods (see below).