Examining Justice and Conflict between Mining Companies and Indigenous Peoples: Cerro Colorado and the Ngabe-Bugle in Panama

By Whiteman, Gail; Mamen, Katy | Journal of Business and Management, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

Examining Justice and Conflict between Mining Companies and Indigenous Peoples: Cerro Colorado and the Ngabe-Bugle in Panama


Whiteman, Gail, Mamen, Katy, Journal of Business and Management


Mining in indigenous peoples' territories often results in explosive conflict. Yet the management literature has rarely focused on this topic. Our paper explores this gap by examining justice and conflict surrounding decision-making at Tiomin Resources Inc. ' Cerro Colorado copper mine on Ngabe-Bugle land in western Panama. We introduce an indigenous cultural framework for justice, which builds upon conventional dimensions of distributive, procedural and interactional justice. Our case study of the Ngabe-Bugle highlights the complexity of the roots of conflict between indigenous peoples and mining companies and their linkages to community perceptions of injustice. We conclude that indigenous cultural (including spiritual, environmental, social and economic) dimensions of justice must be addressed in order to reduce the potential for conflict.

INTRODUCTION

"The people have been trying for twenty years, through various...means, seeking justice.

We are tired, we wish to rest.

We want peace; as everywhere else in Latin America, we are looking for peace. "

Marcelino Montezuma, President of the Ngabe-Bugle General Congress (quoted in Andrews, 1996)

Conflict between indigenous peoples and the international mining industry is widespread, and hostilities can be deeply entrenched and explosive. Community blockades, lawsuits, adversarial negotiations, public protests and non-governmental campaigns are common examples of the conflictual relations that exist between many indigenous groups and mining companies around the world. At the extreme end, such conflict has also resulted in violence, civil war, death, human rights abuses, and sexual assault on indigenous women and girls. While each situation is unique, conflict over minerals can have significant costs to both companies and local indigenous communities. Furthermore, despite their frequency and potential severity, this form of conflict remains largely unstudied by business management scholars (for exceptions see Banerjee, 2000; Bedford & Warhurst, 1999; Moore, 1998). To date, we have little formal understanding of the roots of such conflict.

Our paper attempts to explore this gap by examining the conflict surrounding decisionmaking at Tiomin Resources Inc.'s Cerro Colorado copper mine on Ngabe-Bug16 land in western Panama, including an examination of cornmunity-company interactions over a company-financed social program. We begin with an overview of the conflict problem and a review of relevant theory. We then develop an analytical framework to examine justice issues from an indigenous cultural perspective, building upon the conventional dimensions of distributive, procedural and interactional justice. Our case study analysis on the Ngabe-- Bugle uses this justice framework to assist in highlighting the complexity of the roots of conflict between indigenous peoples and mining companies, and their linkages to community perceptions of injustice. We then discuss our results and identify key implications and areas for future research.

CONFLICT AT MINING PROJECTS ON INDIGENOUS LANDS

Globally, there has been a continued expansion of minerals exploration and production into areas traditionally occupied by indigenous peoples in both developed and developing countries. The strong international trends towards increased liberalization of markets and the privatization of resource development have encouraged mining investment in less economically developed regions. Technological developments have also meant that companies can now operate economically in more remote areas as well as with lower grade ore. Since the end of the 1980s, international mining companies have focused on three main areas for expansion: Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Africa. These regions have experienced a surge of foreign direct investment in the minerals and metals sector in recent years (Rosenfeld, Sweeting, & Clark, 2000). Latin America is the largest area for new investment and growth (Rosenfeld Sweeting & Clark, 2000). …

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
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • 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

Examining Justice and Conflict between Mining Companies and Indigenous Peoples: Cerro Colorado and the Ngabe-Bugle in Panama
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    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

    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.