London Mining Network is a research and campaigning network that monitors the global social and environmental impacts of UK-based mining companies. Our members are in regular contact and work closely with communities affected by mining projects around the world.
We are writing in response to Labour's consultation on plans for a green recovery. In particular, we are keen to ensure that the materials needed to produce a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy (be it to create devices to capture renewable energy, batteries for storing such energy or the transmission of electricity) are not extracted at the expense of communities or the environment. For this transition to be a just transition for workers and affected communities across the world, it is essential that Labour considers the impact of its green recovery plans on extractive industries, primarily in the global South, and the potential for these plans to exacerbate human rights violations, supply chain injustices and ecological destruction.
Labour's plans for a green recovery will likely rely on significantly building the UK renewables industry and developing so-called green technologies. Labour have previously pledged to provide up to £33,000 to 2.5 million people over five years in interest-free loans on electric cars, and the 30 by 2030 report (which the party endorsed) estimated that there will be 25 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. It is therefore fair to expect that Labour's plans would initiate a rapid expansion in the production of electric vehicles, Li-ion batteries, photovoltaic cells and wind power technology. These technologies rely heavily on the use of metals and minerals (including lithium, cobalt, copper, aluminium, nickel and so-called rare earth elements), supplies of which are predominantly concentrated in the global South.
Please see attached document for further details.
As the 6th largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, and the 5th richest economy in the world, the UK has a responsibility to do its fair share to prevent a breach of the critical 1.5°C guardrail. To do this, it must aim for a rapid transition to a near-zero goal by 2030, as well as deliver at least the equivalent level of emissions reduction across the global South through the transfer of finance and technology. But it must not do so at the expense of climate-critical ecosystems or the human rights of communities.
We therefore call on Labour to:
● Put a transition to post-extractivism and sustainable mining at the heart of Labour's plans for a green recovery;
● Support full, prior informed consultation, and a "right to say no" to projects, for affected communities;
● Develop plans to rapidly step up recycling of industrial metals and minerals;
● Ensure its plans for a green recovery reduces demand for private vehicles by instigating free, good quality mass public transit for all and building infrastructure for active travel;
● Keep commitments to bring the National Grid back into public ownership so that energy is treated as a public good, not a tool for private profit;
● Support calls for "polluter pays" forms of taxation so that mining companies pay for the damage they have caused;
● Encourage the government to use its international role to limit the power of transnational corporations by:
○ Supporting the UN Process for a Binding Treaty on transnational corporations;
○ Ending Investor State Dispute Settlements;
○ Respecting indigenous sovereignty and land rights;
● Show solidarity with indigenous peoples, trade unions and affected communities in the global south by supporting efforts to move to a post-extractivist future.
London Mining Network
Andrew Lees Trust
Global Justice Now
War on Want