Coronavirus Pandemic Turns Locals Against Miners – by Alistair MacDonald and Daniela Blandón Ramírez (Wall Street Journal – April 14, 2020)

Locals from a town in northern Colombia last month blockaded a mine operated by one of the world’s biggest miners, Glencore PLC, burning tires and delivering a simple message: Don’t bring the new coronavirus here.

Covid-19 is swamping hospitals around the world, shutting down entire economies amid measures to slow its spread. It is also heightening local mistrust of some foreign corporations working in far-off lands, adding to a number of new pressures that the pandemic has created for globalized industries.

In recent weeks, some miners have been hit by protests around the world. Residents and activists accuse foreign companies of risking the safety of local communities in the pursuit of profit during the pandemic.

“Mining’s problems are an example of the enhanced localism” occurring as a result of the pandemic, said Michael O’Sullivan, an investment strategist who has written about globalization. “Globalization, a sense of an integrated world, has been shattered by coronavirus,” he said.

The mining industry has been a bellwether for globalization. It is dominated by large multinationals that dig up commodities around the world and then sell them globally. Despite that international market, miners often have to work close to local communities.

For the rest of this column:

Comments are closed.