The expansion of the mining extraction frontier in Latin America is fomenting a growing number of conflicts where contrasting views regarding the economic, environmental, social and cultural implications of developing mining activities are deployed by affected communities, governments and mining companies. Hegemonic discourses led by governments stress the contribution of extractive activities to the overall national interest de-legitimating critical views and the concerns of local actors.This paper explores the potential of social multi-criteria evaluation (SMCE) approaches to structure and assess the multi-dimensional implications of developing extractive and non-extractive local scenarios according to the criteria that are relevant to local inhabitants. We claim that SMCE allows to make more visible scales, social values and uncertainties that are discounted by hegemonic discourses in the mining debate that focus almost exclusively on national economic results. We present and discuss the application of this framework to the current copper mining conflict in Intag (Ecuador).
- Copper mining
- Environmental justice
- Local scenarios
- Social multi-criteria evaluation