08 Mining for the Common Good

posted May 8, 2019, 8:39 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 8, 2019, 8:40 AM ]

(Pope’s address to participants meeting on Integral Human Development)

(Vatican, May 2-3, 2019)

I extend my warm welcome to all of you for having come to the Vatican to engage in this dialogue on the theme of "Mining for the Common Good".

In my Encyclical Letter Laudato Si', concerned about the Planet, I underlined how important it is "to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home" (n. 3). We need a dialogue that responds effectively to the "cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor" (ibid., 49). I am particularly appreciative that in your meeting, representatives of communities affected by mining activities and leaders of mining companies have come together around the same table. It is laudable; and it is an essential step on the way forward. We should encourage this dialogue to continue and become the norm, rather than the exception. I congratulate you for embarking on the path of mutual dialogue in the spirit of honesty, courage and fraternity.

The precarious condition of our common home has been the result largely of a fallacious economic model that has been followed for too long. It is a voracious model, profit-oriented, shortsighted, and based on the misconception of unlimited economic growth. Although we frequently see its disastrous impacts on the natural world and in the lives of people, we are still resistant to change. "Economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to […] the pursuit of financial gain, which fail to take the context into account, let alone the effects on human dignity and the natural environment" (ibid., 56).

We are aware that "by itself, the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion" (ibid., 109) and that "environmental protection cannot be assured solely on the basis of financial calculations of costs and benefits" (ibid., 190). We need a paradigm shift in all our economic activities, including mining.

In this context, the title for your meeting - 'Mining for the Common Good' - is very appropriate. What does it concretely imply? Please allow me to articulate a few reflections in this regard which could assist you in your dialogue.