Mining is an important industry and economic engine throughout Latin America. Historically the mining industry has left behind a legacy of impacts on environmental health. Looking to the future, there is a great need to improve mining by employing environmentally sustainable approaches that minimize these consequences. Communities near mining sites are often poverty-stricken and underrepresented;and thus more vulnerable to health risks. Considering the potential development benefits of mining available to neighboring communities, there is a need to organize an interdisciplinary US-Latin American professional working group on research, training, and outreach which promotes environmentally sustainable mining and local community engagement. The main aim of this proposal is to assemble an international group of experts, government officials, non-governmental organizations, and community and industry leaders to discuss how to implement environmentally and socially responsible mining appropriate to the needs and perspectives of vulnerable populations in the local community. This proposal is for a three day conference to bring professionals from the USA and Latin America together to create the proposed working group. Specific topics of the conference include: 1) improving environmental health in vulnerable mine impacted communities;2) developing prevention and remediation technology for mining pollutions;3) community engagement;and 4) capacity building. The main limitation to mining is not the lack of accessible mineral deposits but rather the environmental resources required to sustain the mining and lack of social acceptability of the mining. In the future, successful mining will require environmental and social licenses to operate. This proposal can be seen as a step towards a new paradigm in which industry collaborates as a partner on the environmental and social health of impacted communities as part of the overall commercial success of mining. In order to realize this paradigm there is a great need to develop technology and policies that reduce mining impacts on environmental health and improve the sharing of benefits with the community. These efforts need to be combined with outreach and human capital development so that vulnerable communities can become knowledgeable partners in safeguarding their environmental health. The most important outcome of the project will be the establishment of the US-Latin America workgroup on environmentally and socially responsible mining. The conference is envisioned as the first conference in a series of three annual conferences in Latin America to establish, organize and sustain the working group. The long-term vision is the that working group will become a regional hub for environmental health issues related to mining and the hub will become a model that can be replicated around the world.
Assemble an international group of experts, government officials, non-governmental organizations, and community and industry leaders to discuss how to implement environmentally and socially responsible mining appropriate to the needs and perspectives of vulnerable populations in the local community. The proposal has identified specific topics to address: improving the environmental health of vulnerable communities;developing and implementing technologies for prevention, mitigation, and remediation of mining pollutants;application of community engagement techniques in order to properly assess the needs of the vulnerable populations;and develop capacity building in local communities on environmental and ecosystem health