The paper focuses on one of the topics of key concern for both indigenous peoples and the mining sector, namely the corporate responsibility to respect indigenous peoples’ right to give or withhold their consent to extractive industry projects in their lands and the fundamental role of this principle in altering the predominant and all too frequently devastating model of mining that is imposed in indigenous peoples’ territories.
The paper traces the emergence of extractive industry standards and initiatives showing how continuing mining disasters and associated human rights abuse have obliged the industry to recognize indigenous peoples’ right to give or withhold their Free, Prior and Informed Consent to operations that may affect their customary lands.
It examines the development of industry good practice since the World Bank's Extractive Industries Review, the subsequent formation of the International Council on Minerals and Metals while considering the contribution its members have played in recent mining catastrophes involving indigenous peoples. It distills good practice on indigenous consultation and the principle of native title from evolving national and international law and tracks how these have led to the inclusion of Free, Prior and Informed Consent in the recent Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance and Aluminium Stewardship Initiative standards.
The focus on the two most recent multi-stakeholder standard initiatives in the mining sector offers a sense for where further developments may occur while also noting their potential limitations. The paper concludes with recommendations to the extractive industry to recognize and protect indigenous’ peoples’ rights as a preeminent principle of responsible mining good practices.
Citation: 'Free, prior and informed consent: how to rectify the devastating consequences of harmful mining for indigenous peoples’', Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation, 15:3, pp. 141-244, July-September 2017