Why Honduras Should Not Jump on the Ban Wagon: A Study of Open Pit Mining Bans and Their Pitfalls

By Dawson, Casey | Suffolk Transnational Law Review, Winter 2014 | Go to article overview

Why Honduras Should Not Jump on the Ban Wagon: A Study of Open Pit Mining Bans and Their Pitfalls


Dawson, Casey, Suffolk Transnational Law Review


I. INTRODUCTION

Butte, Montana, is home to the Berkeley Pit, a former open pit mining site that has slowly filled with deadly and acidic water that threatens to contaminate the drinking water of nearby communities within the next ten years. (1) In Argentina, the active Alumbrera mine projects toxic dust into the air on a daily basis and uses such large amounts of water that farmers' crops are failing from desertification. (2) At a gold mine in Congo, sixty people died in a mine landslide, a common danger of open pit mines. (3) Given the potential devastation that can result from open pit mining, mining companies already face stricter and more extensive regulations when pursuing sites and permits for open pit mining. (4) A relatively new approach, however, for avoiding the health and environmental risks is to ban the use of open pit mining altogether. (5)

Over the past decade, countries in Latin America have experienced a sharp increase in interest from foreign mining companies and, as a result, are generally aware of the long-lasting impact that open pit mining may have on the individuals living in the community and on the environment. (6) In an attempt to prevent potential societal and environmental damage and the creation of new mining sites, several countries have enacted outright bans on the open pit mining process. (7) For example, the Costa Rican national government banned open pit mining at the federal level, while individual provinces in the Philippines and Argentina enacted laws to ban the process at the local level. (8) Although the bans enjoy wide support from citizens and social and environmental activists, mining industries and companies continue to lobby for reform of the laws. (9) The bans also tend to include exceptions and unintended consequences against which activists continue to protest: some bans allow pre-existing sites to continue operating, while others result in an increase in illegal mining. (10) Although Honduran communities have also recently advocated for a ban on open pit mining, any such ban would most likely be ineffective in light of the legal pressure from the mining industry, the futility of many of the existing bans, and the current pro-mining state of the Honduran government. (11) Instead, the Honduran national and local governments may be more successful by imposing stricter federal regulations and requirements on mining companies before issuing mining permits. (12)

This Note will discuss whether a flat ban on open pit mining is sufficient to prevent the harms associated with open pit mining, and will examine practical alternatives that may achieve the desired end result. (13) Part II will present the history of open pit mining, including the advantages of the technique and the detrimental effects it has on the environment and the health of communities near the mining site. (14) Part III of this Note will introduce common forms of open pit mining regulations, and will explain the recently proposed and passed mining laws in Honduras, as well as similar mining laws enacted in Costa Rica, the Philippines, and Argentina. (15) Part IV will follow with an analysis of the downfalls of bans on open pit mining and will explore alternative strategies that may be more practical for Honduras. (16) Finally, Part V will conclude that the Honduran national and local governments should pursue extensive regulation and oversight over international mining activities. (17)

II. OPEN PIT MINING

A. The Mining Process

Open pit mining is a form of surface mining that mining companies utilize when the desired mining deposits, such as gold or copper, are located at or near the surface of the ground. (18) Based on the location of minerals closer to the surface of the ground, open pit mining, as opposed to underground mining, is often the most economical way for mining companies to retrieve these types of minerals. (19) Although open pit mining may be the cheapest option for companies looking to exploit certain minerals, the process involves a number of complex steps and can require many resources. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Honduras Should Not Jump on the Ban Wagon: A Study of Open Pit Mining Bans and Their Pitfalls
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.