This paper documents opposition to mining in Honduras, a country at the verge of an attempted ‘mining boom’ since the ratification of a new mining law in April 2013. It analyses how a broad movement – involving NGOs, social movements and local communities – engages in opposition to the extractive industry, declared a national development priority by the Honduran government. The movement emerged in the first decade of the 21st century in response to the establishment of two industrial mines and builds on the negative impact of Goldcorp's open-pit operation in Valle de Siria, where serious health problems have been reported. The anti-mining movement has devised a successful campaign about access to uncontaminated water. By contrast, the extractive industry and the central government have been far less successful in convincing local populations of the potential benefits of mining. As political opportunities for dialogue with the central government have been lacking since the 2009 coup d’état, the anti-mining movement increasingly turned to the local level, motivating communities to declare their municipality free of mining via public referendums. In turn, when legal means to obtain consent from communities for mining projects fail, the ‘extractive frontier’ is frequently extended through criminalisation of dissent and the threat of violence.
- Criminalisation of dissent
- Social movements