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The proposed Mining Charter must be recognised as a step in the right direction given its broader-based approach incorporating communities and workers for the first time, the 70% local procurement requirement and alignment of social and labour plans across sectors. Representation of communities and workers on company boards is also a progressive step. Yet the charter is full of ambiguity and nuances that need clarity. Clearly, the devil is in the detail. The debate about mining frequently fails to recognise that mining activity means local communities give up their land and their livelihoods, and suffer severe health effects, along with water and air contamination and soil erosion. The effect is to reduce their land to a wasteland, in the name of investment and jobs. Proper cost-benefit analysis of mining and community impacts is never done. Bench Marks has long said there are winners and losers in mining. The losers are locally affected communities and the winners are shareholders ...

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