Andy Whitmore – Mining and the ‘Just Transition’


What do we mean when we talk of a ‘Just Transition’

There are several potential definitions of Just Transition, it can encompass a range of social interventions needed to secure workers’ rights and livelihoods when economies are shifting from harmful production. Increasingly it is being seen in a wider context, including communities and earth justice, effectively in terms of a shift from an extractive economy to a sustainable economy.

Like to draw attention to a joint statement from civil society prepared for COP26 on the issue, which supports a just and rapid transition away from fossil fuels and towards a renewable energy system, but insists the transition to renewable energy sources must be just and equitable and accompanied by a simultaneous transformation away from irresponsible mining.[1]

2. What does the industry need to do, change, and share to ensure that mining gets a seat at the table and fulfils its potential as an enabler of a Just Transition.

That statement also highlights that the answer is bigger than just the mining industry. For instance, by prioritizing low-impact circular economy solutions that reduce the overall demand for primary metals & implementing transformative, rather than merely technological, solutions that shift away from disposable consumption and private transportation to more equitable access to services and low-carbon public transit. But for the mining industry the key points are:- * Centering the human rights of Indigenous, frontline communities, and workers at mining, recycling, reclamation, manufacturing and renewable energy projects, by prioritizing the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, including the right to withhold consent as aligned with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. * Ensuring responsible minerals sourcing at existing mining operations through legally binding regulations to protect human rights, the environment and sacred sites at the state and international level; demanding mandatory human rights due diligence and adherence to all legal requirements; and stringent international environmental and human rights standards with independent, third-party verification of compliance


BIOGRAPHY – London Mining Network, London Mining Network, Finfuture, 225-229 Seven Sisters Road, London N4 2DA

Andy Whitmore is co-chair of the London Mining Network, which he helped to found and is currently facilitating the organisation’s Just Transition Working Group. He is currently a freelance contractor, primarily working as finance advocacy officer of the Deep Sea Mining Campaign. Andy has worked on the issues of mining & affected communities since becoming a founder member of the Minewatch collective in the late 1980s. He has been Coordinator at Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks) and managing editor of the Mines and Communities website. Andy has an MA in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) and is the author of “A Material Transition”, editor/author of “Pitfalls and Pipelines: Indigenous Peoples and the Extractive Industries”, co-author of “Indigenous Peoples and the Extractive Industries: Towards a Rights-Respecting Engagement”, as well as various articles or chapters on similar issues.