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Mineral resources provide developing countries with opportunities for economic development, but they may also pose some potential risks for the local communities and the environment.  Potential adverse environmental and social impacts include pollution from waste and tailing disposal, land disturbance, forest degradation, dust and noise, water pollution and water use changes, air pollution, and negative impacts on the health and livelihoods of local communities, including indigenous and particularly vulnerable communities. 

The World Bank supports governments to maximize the positive impact of mining sector development to achieve economic growth and poverty reduction in a responsible way.  In furthering its objectives in its assistance to the mining sector of its member countries, the World Bank supports sustainable mining strategies which involve the development of comprehensive and effective legal and regulatory frameworks including model agreements between host countries and mining companies.

The World Bank is also committed to support effective strategies for monitoring, and management of potential environmental and social risks including wastes, chemicals and pollutants, land and water use, and human health risks.  This support covers all stages of mining operations, from exploration to closure and reclamation of mines and rehabilitation of mine sites and their neighborhood.

The Environmental and International Law Unit of the World Bank’s Legal Vice Presidency works with other specialized staff of the Bank to review and advise on: (i) the policy legal and regulatory aspects connected to all applicable environmental and social safeguard requirements, (ii) the existing legal and regulatory frameworks related to mining sector in member countries, and as requested and needed (iii) the development of new laws and regulations or amendments to the existing laws and regulations so as to ensure that mining operations are conducted in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner, contributing to poverty alleviation and overall sustainable development of member countries and their peoples.

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Last updated: 2009-06-25

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