In my last post (#3) on "theology of mining", a while back now, I mentioned the theological and ethical questions that mining raises, and I wrote: "I hope that better qualified people than I am will get into this discussion!"
Well, it seems like someone was listening. The Vatican news website today reports Pope Francis' message for a day of reflection on the mining industry, which was celebrated on 7 September
and attended by representatives of the world's most important
mining companies, including the Anglo American, China Minmetals
Corporation, Rio Tinto and Zamin Resources, as well as experts in the
sector from within the Catholic Church, Caritas and Oxfam America.
The statement says: "The participants in this
meeting are aware that, so as not to repeat grave errors of the past,
decisions today cannot be taken solely from geological perspectives or
the possible economic benefits for investors and for the states in which
the companies are based. A new and more profound decision-making
process is indispensable and inescapable, one which takes into
consideration the complexity of the problems involved, in a context of
solidarity. Such a context requires, first of all, that workers be
assured of all their economic and social rights, in full accordance with
the norms and recommendations of the International Labor Organisation.
Likewise it requires the assurance that extraction activities respect
international standards for the protection of the environment. The great
challenge of business leaders is to create a harmony of interests,
involving investors, managers, workers, their families, the future of
their children, the preservation of the environment on both a regional
and international scale, and a contribution to world peace."
My earlier posts in this series: part 1, part 2, part 3
(H/T Fletcher Harper for the link to the Vatican statement.)
Image from Flickr user Jeffrey Bruno, licensed under Creative Commons
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