“Madaraka” is the Swahili word for self determination. Article 2 of the United Nations 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples states: “all peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

Rationale

The entire structure of modern civilization is derived from or depends on the use of natural resources. These resources include land, water, minerals, fossil fuels, forests, marine resources, and biological resources. Without them, we would have no skyscrapers, no planes, no ships, no cars, no bridges, no weapons, no electronics, no consumer products, no central heating, no air-conditioning and none of the provisions of running water and sewage disposal that we take for granted.(1)

Although the mining / extractive industry has been the subject of conflict and controversy since the early years of the twentieth century, the industry’s latest growth phase, marked by unprecedented and unregulated geographical expansion and intensification of extractive exploitation, raises new issues.(2) The forced displacement of communities that was rife during the post-independence era as a consequence of development projects, has been intensified by the neoliberal (market) reforms of the 1990s, as private capital (including extractive companies) has gained access to more remote areas. States have also been extending and offering various concessions, in order to attract and facilitate capital investment. However, many local communities have rejected these development projects, on the grounds that they are not allowed to effectively participate in them.(3)

Another critical feature of resource extraction is that all reserves are finite and are inevitably depleted over time. Extractive companies must therefore continually discover or acquire new reserves in order to sustain a fairly stable output during the course of their operations.(4) As resource extraction intensifies, the total available supply of many key materials will also diminish, leading to a corresponding increase in prices and increased conflict over critical resources such as oil, uranium, and certain rare earth metals.(5)

The objective of Madaraka is to increase public awareness on the inestimable value of the earth’s natural resources, and to promote good governance, equity, and sustainable development in the mining / extractive sector. In addition, this website aims to serve as a reliable and central source of information on the global extractive industry, by providing the latest news on the sector and information about important extractive sector events. It also hosts an archive of useful readings on the extractive sector and its political economy, as well as informative videos of the same.

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Notes

1. Lanning, G., & Mueller, M. (1979). Africa Undermined: Mining Companies and the Underdevelopment of Africa. Harmondsworth, U.K: Penguin Books Ltd.

2. Canel, E., Idemudia, U., & North, L. (2010). Rethinking Extractive Industry: Regulation, Dispossession, and Emerging Claims. Canadian Journal of Development Studies (30)1-2, 5-25.

3. Xaxa, V. (2012). Identity, Power, and Development: The Kondhs in Orissa India. In Sawyer S., & Gomez, E.T (eds) The Politics of Resource Extraction: Indigenous Peoples, Multinational Corporations, and the State. New York, NY: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). p.200

4. Ali, S.H. (2003). Mining, the Environment, and Indigenous Development Conflicts. Tucson, Az: The University of Arizona Press

5. Klare, M.T. (2002). Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC