LARGE MINES AND THE COMMUNITY Socioeconomic and Environmental Effects in Latin America, Canada, and Spain

Gary McMahon and Felix Remy
World Bank, IDRC
Out of print
342 pgs.
For centuries, communities have been founded or shaped based upon their access to natural resources and today, in our globalizing world, major natural resource developments are spreading to more remote areas. Mining operations are a good example: they have a profound impact on local communities and are often the first industry in a remote region. However, whereas an enormous amount has been written about the macroeconomic effects of the mining industry, there has been practically no in-depth analysis of the comprehensive effects of large mines on their host communities, especially in developing countries.

In this book, researchers from Bolivia, Chile, and Peru present and analyze the environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic effects of large mining operations in their respective countries, as well as the processes that led to the observed effects. The book also presents a case study of the longest continually operating mine in the world, the Almadén mercury mine in Spain, and an overview of the experience of mining communities in Canada, one of the most important mining countries of the 20th century. A synthesis chapter draws together recommendations for best practice, intended to provide guidance to communities, companies, and governments for future and ongoing mining and other natural resource developments.

Interested readers will include individuals involved in local community development (including those in nongovernmental, bilateral, and multilateral agencies), mining company officials, staff of government mining and development agencies, and academics and researchers in economic, social, environmental, and natural resource issues.


Gary McMahon is a principal economist with the Global Development Network. He has worked at the World Bank since 1996, primarily on issues related to social and environmental sustainability and research capacity building in developing countries. From 1989 to 1996, Dr McMahon worked in the Economics Program of Canada’s International Development Research Centre. Before that, he was a professor at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada. Dr McMahon has published on a wide range of subjects in the area of development economics and has edited four books on development and transition economies.

Felix Remy is a principal mining specialist with the World Bank, where he has managed and advised the sector reform programs of Bolivia, Ghana, Mexico, Mongolia, and Peru and has led sector reviews and advisory work in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, and Romania. Mr Remy led the Latin American Mining Strategy Study, an in-depth review of sector policies and reform in Latin America. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer at international mining conferences and universities on the subject of mining reform and, before joining the World Bank, was President and CEO of Centromin Peru, a state-owned producer of zinc, silver, lead, and copper with annual sales of US $450 to $500 million.

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