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The negative social and environmental impacts of mining on women

Community leader Melchora Surco in front of the Tintaya Copper Mine in Espinar, Peru. Photo: Percy Ramirez/Oxfam
Lina Holquin, The Negative Social and Environmental Impacts of Mining on Women, 27/02/15

Communities relocated to make way for gold mines in Ghana struggle with loss of agricultural land, unemployment, and environmental damage. Joanna Manu is a farmer in Ghana. She was once arrested for trespassing -- in her own field -- while planting her crops. The police who arrested her sent by a mining company called Golden Star Resources. Farmers in the area, many of whom are women, often were told that the government had given their land to the company and there was nothing they could do -- as was Manu. But she had attended a training session with a local organization and knew her rights. "I told the court that I was there before the company came and that it had not compensated me," she said. "So the company had no right to push me off this land. I know my rights, and I knew the law would take its course... I am still farming there." Joanna's experience with a mining company is not unique for women, but her successful stand for her rights may be rare. In many countries where Oxfam works, we see extractive industry projects with significant social, environmental and economic impacts on local communities. These impacts disproportionately affect women.