Holden, W. N. and Jacobson, R.D. (2011) Ecclesial Opposition to Nonferrous Metals Mining in Guatemala and the Philippines: Neoliberalism Encounters the Church of the Poor. In Brunn S. (ed.) Engineering Earth, Volume 3 pp 383-411, Springer Netherlands.
In recent years, as a result of the prevailing neoliberal development paradigm and the influence of the World Bank, many countries in the developing world have liberalized their mining laws to attract investment into their economies. In both Guatemala and the Philippines, governments have revised mining laws in an attempt to encourage more investment. This chapter discusses the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church to the neoliberal policies enacted by the governments of those countries to encourage the extraction of nonferrous metals by multinational corporations. The chapter begins with a discussion of the countries’ mineral
resources (and efforts of the respective governments to encourage mining), and then discusses the ecclesial opposition to mining in the two countries; the chapter concludes with a discussion of how neoliberalism is encountering the church of the poor. This research finds its home within the discipline of geography, as one of
human geography’s core areas is the relationship between people and their environment, and conflicts about mining are conflicts about different understandings of human-nature relationships.