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Understanding activist perceptions of environmental justice success in mining resistance movements


Using an activist-orientated dataset (the EJAtlas) of place-based mining resistances, we conduct a statistical analysis of 346 mining conflicts around the world to better understand patterns and conditions associated with activist perceptions of environmental justice (EJ) in mining conflicts. Our study uses a large set of variables, including location, project and conflict characteristics, impacts and resistance attributes. The results show that controlling for other factors, conflict intensity, timing of mobilisation, the centrality of the company in the network, conflict events, project status and the presence of international financial organisations are significant correlates of perceived EJ success. We find that mobilising during the prevention stage, and high-intensity reactions, as well as the ability to halt a project, are positively associated with perceived EJ success. In turn, the intensity of the mobilisation relates to immediate potential socio-economic and environmental impacts, and the presence of excluded and marginalised groups, whereas stopping a project relates to the timing of mobilisation and institutional contexts. We discuss these findings in the light of the literature on political ecology and social movements. We hope that our analysis will help those who seek evidence-based support for EJ activism and prompt further inquiry on mining politics in the world.

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