In this issue

Issue 105 • June 2021

Welcome to the new edition of MINE Magazine.

Experts have warned that conflict could be brewing in space as China and Russia look to stem the US’s attempts to dominate extraterrestrial commerce. With attention increasingly being paid to space-based resources, we look at the geopolitical dimension of space mining and what the future may hold.

Also, the UN’s European division has unveiled an “online toolkit” to better educate miners and mine operators about the dangers of tailings mismanagement, in the wake of a series of disastrous tailings accidents around the world. However, questions remain about the efficacy of awareness-raising in the aftermath of disasters with such tangible consequences, and the fact that the UN’s programme is centred on a part of the world where mining is no longer a key economic driver, and has not seen accidents on the scale of those in Brazil. 

Elsewhere, mining has become one of the key economic drivers of terrorist activity in West and Central Africa, with reports from the Financial Action Task Force and Brookings showing a clear link between unregulated mining operations and terror groups. This relationship obviously poses security risks in the countries where these groups operate, but also places artisanal and small-scale miners under a unique, and at times deadly, form of pressure, with violent groups at times the only people willing to purchase their goods. We investigate these relationships, and ask: what is to be done?

Callum Tyndall, editor