THE INTERNATIONAL MINERS’ CONFERENCE, initially proposed at the 3rd International Miners’ Seminar in August 2008 in Gelsenkirchen (Germany) with the aim of the 1st International Miners’ Conference shall initiate a form of organization for the coordination and cooperation of the militant and class-militant miners’ movement of the approximately 21 million miners worldwide.
Since the beginning of the world economic crisis in 2008, the international super monopolies have been pushing forward a restructuring of the mining and energy sector with the aim to annihilate their competitors, increase the exploitation of the wageworkers and the natural resources and create world market dominating corporations through global mergers. This has drastic consequences for the living conditions of the miners, their families and the entire population in the mining regions, as well as in the countries with mining industry. Entire areas are devastated, rivers polluted, the international imperialist corporations take from the countries the earth’s treasures, and wars are waged for the domination of the natural resources. There is overexploitation with a tremendous waste of energy and raw materials. The combustion of fossil energy contributes considerably to the change of the world climate endangering humanity. In other regions, tens of thousands lost their jobs; the working conditions of the miners partly are drastically worsened or the security in the mines is neglected, resulting in thousands of accidents of the miners every year. Division is carried between the permanent workforces and contract workers; formerly state-owned mines are privatized with the consequence of the miners losing their long-standing rights.
In the year 2011, powerful strikes and struggles of several hundred thousand miners for higher wages and for political and trade union-rights took place for example in South Africa, Chile, Peru, Australia, Indonesia and Poland. Frequently, these struggles were carried out fiercely. The state apparatus in some countries did not shy away from killing and injuring miners or arresting them. The protests of the miners became a component part of the cross-border struggle for freedom and democracy. For a while, the struggles of the miners had a determining influence on the political life in several countries. In other countries, there is resistance against the displacement of the population from their land for open-pit mining projects. These struggles in different countries are directed in some cases against the same international mining corporations.
In this connection a preparatory assembly for the International Miners’ Conference was held in Lima, Peru, on 14 and 15 March, where approximately 30 grassroots organizations of the miners participated. This meeting has decided to hold the 1st International Miners’ Conference on 1, 2 and 3 March 2013 in the city of Arequipa in Peru. It becomes apparent that the miners and the people in the mining regions must cooperate internationally and assume responsibility to influence the development of this world in the interest of all exploited and oppressed on behalf of a future worth living for. This conference is intended to initiate a process of coordination and cooperation of the miners’ struggles beyond national borders in order to bring together, exchange and further develop the very different experiences in the individual countries and regions. International solidarity is a great power necessary for the success of the miners’ struggles.