Taking the example of two minerals – gold and copper- as well as non-mineral fossil fuels, Mining – When is Enough, Enough? argues that the continued extraction of these materials from virgin deposits is unnecessary and inadvisable. It shows that we can meet our real needs by using what we have already mined responsibly. Or, in the case of fossil fuels, that we must stop extraction altogether to protect ourselves and other life forms from the existential threat of climate change.

More about the report

Earth is home to over 4,600 recognised mineral species, a unique diversity that has evolved over 4.5 billion years. No other planet in our solar system hosts such a diversity.Two thirds of these mineral species exist because, as far as we know, Earth is the only planet where complex organic life systems have emerged, connecting everything from microscopic algae to blue whales. Over billions of years, organic and inorganic (mineral) life forms have co-evolved to create the extraordinary diversity of life we see today.

Through certain groups of human beings, however, this ancient relationship between life and mineral has become an abusive one. The global mining industry regards minerals as inert commodities to be extracted on an ever-greater scale and at a devastating ecological and social cost to our planet. The industry claims that mining new mineral reserves is ‘necessary’ if we hope to meet the material needs of peoples and nations, ensuring their development.

But do we really need more of everything? Or is this ‘need‘ a manufactured one, created to ll industry co ers and sustain the global drive for economic growth that enriches the few, impoverishes the many and destroys Earth in the process?

By examining practical pathways that will prevent rather than incentivise more mining, this briefing poses a critical question for our time:

When is enough, enough?

Read the full briefing here – Mining – When is Enough, Enough?


The Gaia Foundation and our global allies have produced a number of reports and films about the impacts of the extractive industries. Find out more through the information and links below:

Opening Pandora’s Box– The New Wave of Landgrabbing & the Devastating Impact on Earth (2012) reveals the leading role the extractive industries are playing in global land grabbing, turning their attention to ever more pristine and fragile ecosystems and more extreme technologies.

Short Circuit – The Lifecycle of our Gadgets and the True Cost to Earth (2013) takes a ‘cradle-to-grave’ look at the lives of our gadgets, from extraction to e-waste.  These themes are picked-up by our fast-paced animation, Wake-Up Call.

UnderMining Agriculture- How the extractive industries threaten our food systems (2014) exposes the hidden costs of mining on food, water, land, air and climate, through data, case studies and an attention-grabbing infographic.

UnderMining the WaterCycle- The extractive industries and the planetary water crisis (2016) reveals the role mining is playing in exacerbating a fresh water crisis on an already thirsty planet. The report includes an infographic and is accompanied by Water is Life, an animation that explores healthy vs mine-impacted water-cycles.

In Defence of Life (2016) is our feature length film that follows the struggles and successes of four communities resisting mining in South Africa, Romania, Colombia and the Philippines. Exploring these David and Goliath struggles, the film shows that when injustice is globalised, so is resistance. It is available in French and Spanish and accompanied by a series of interviews.