Pope Francis digs down, says mining should ensure sustainable human development

(Photo: Badibanga Roger)

Pope Francis has denounced a voracious, short-sighted, profit-oriented economy based on the fallacy of unlimited economic growth saying mining should ensure sustainable human development.

Francis on May 3 addressed participants in a meeting on "Mining for the Common Good," at the Vatican promoted by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

He said the impacts of the economic model are disastrous on the natural world and in the lives of people.

"We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity," the Pope told some 60 participants in a Vatican meeting on the theme, "Mining for the Common Good," Vatican News reported.

He cited his environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si," during his speech.

The Pope regretted that "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."


Pope Francis said that mining, like all economic activities, should be at the service of the entire human community.

It should involve local communities in every phase of mining projects.

In this regard, he urged special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions.

H said they are a vulnerable minority who should be the principal dialogue partners, especially in large projects affecting their land.

The pontiff, however, noted that in different areas of the world, they face pressures to abandoning their homelands to make room for mining projects.

These are done "without regard for the degradation of nature and culture."

Francis said, "I urge everyone to respect the fundamental human rights and voice of the persons in these beautiful yet fragile communities."


The Argentine-born Pope said mining should serve the human person's inalienable human rights.

"We need to ensure that mining activities lead to the integral human development of each and every person and of the entire community," said Francis.

He denounced what he called the unbridled tendency of "extractivism" which tries to extract the greatest amount of materials in the shortest possible time trying to convert them into products and services that produce waste for nature.

The industrial system has not developed the capacity to absorb and reuse waste and by-products, the Pope said.

"We need to denounce and move away from this throwaway culture."

The circular economy promotes "reduce, reuse, recycle" approach in line with the 12th Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations related to elated to the eradication of poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.

Moderation, said the Pope is vital to save our common home and pointed out that religious traditions have always presented temperance as a key component of responsible and ethical lifestyle.

(Photo: Vatican News)
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