The minerals industry interacts with water in many different ways that can affect the environment and communities. In the context of emerging debates about the status of access to water as a distinct human right and the mining industry's engagement with human rights discourses, this article highlights points of disconnection between technical, scientific and engineering-based approaches to water management on the one hand and human rights perspectives on the other. We argue that greater understanding and emphasis on the intersecting nature of water and human rights is important from a sustainable development perspective. Better connections will increase the likelihood that mining companies will respect human rights, avoid or mitigate adverse social and environmental risks that occur through their interaction with water and collaboratively identify water-related development opportunities. Discursive, organisational, political and conceptual barriers of these various disconnects are considered and strategies for strengthening points of connection provided.

Publisher: Journal of Cleaner Production

Region: Global

Type: Research Paper


Deanna Kemp, Carol J. Bond, Daniel M. Franks, Claire Cote, Mining, water and human rights: making the connection, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 18, Issue 15, November 2010, Pages 1553-1562

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Mining, water and human rights: making the connection

Mining, water and human rights: making the connection