UCL Institute of the Americas


Doctoral Grand Challenges Grant awarded to UCL Americas and DPU doctoral students

22 August 2018

UCL Grand Challenges

Cristian Olmos (DPU) and Sebastian Smart (UCL Americas) have been awarded a UCL Grand Challenges Doctoral Grant to analyse the impacts of transnational mining operations based in the UK on affected communities in Chile. Their project has the dual aim of bringing together researchers from different institutes within UCL to discuss an agenda for future research on this topic, while also building networks with external partners in the UK and Chile.

Chile is the world’s number one exporter of copper and has the largest reserves of lithium, which makes it one of the most extractivist countries in the world. London is turning into a key hub for mining operations and hosts the London Stock Exchange and the London Metals Exchange, where the majority of the headquarters of mining companies are based.

In collaboration with organisations that work in the fields of environmental justice and human rights, such as War on Want and the London Mining Network, this grant will be used to develop a policy report. It will further support the organisation of a seminar, where members of affected mining communities, academics and members of the civil society will discuss mining impacts on human rights and the environment in Chile and Latin America.

Creating bridges between the UK and Latin America becomes key in the current globalised context of mining extractivism. This initiative can support these efforts by improving the awareness of people in the UK about the standards of mining operations and the conditions of communities that suffer from the externalities of mining projects.

The long-term objective of this collaborative project is to create a network of academic and non-acadmic organisations working on issues of environmental justice and human rights in solidarity with the Chilean context; it aims to address links between social (in)justices, access to key natural resources, and human rights.