While we all depend on this earth, do we really understand how nature sustains us, and what we are doing to it through mining? What is the real cost of the unending extraction of minerals—for power, for industries, for our food packaging, vehicles, arms and ammunition—and this ‘development’ on local inhabitants and ecosystems? Who benefits from this, and whose lives are destroyed?
Out of This Earth answers these questions through a detailed account of the aluminium industry. Focusing on the Khondalite mountains in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, capped by some of the world's best bauxite deposits, the authors trace the roots of this industry, which promises prosperity to the most marginalised sections of the world’s poorest countries, yet end up causing untold damage.
Moving beyond Odisha, this book provides a macro-view of the aluminium industry, the complex web of interests it sustains, and its disastrous effects in many nations, including Brazil, Australia, Guyana, Jamaica, Guinea, Ghana and Iceland.
Indigenous communities, however, are confronting the political-industrial complex right now. The book presents a bottom-up view of how affected communities in east India and elsewhere are resisting their displacement. The authors seek recognition for the non-violent tribal movements across the land, which aim to protect sustainable lifestyles from the harmful effects of mining and metal factories.
Samarendra Das is an activist and filmmaker based in London.
Felix Padel is an anthropologist trained at Oxford and Delhi universities.
List of Abbreviations
List of Tables, Images and Maps
PART I WHITE METAL: GREEN MASK
1. ‘It all starts with dirt’
2. The Hidden History of Aluminium
3. Konds and Khondalite
4. Bauxite Business in Odisha
5. Kashipur’s ‘Development’
6. Lanjigarh: Vedanta’s Assault on the Mountain of Law
PART II NIYAM RAJA MEETS THE WORLD-WIDE WEB: ALUMINIUM’S SOCIAL STRUCTURE
7. Under Mining Law
8. Aluminium India
9. The World-Wide Web
PART III ‘ALUMINUM FOR DEFENCE AND PROSPERITY’
10. Aluminium Wars
11. ‘Prosperity’ and Price Fixing
12. The Real Costs of Production
13. Cultural Genocide: The Real Impacts of ‘Investment-Induced Displacement’
PART IV COMPANY RULE
14. Corporate Takeover
15. Starvation Deaths and Foreign Aid
16. Moneylender Colonialism: The World Bank Cartel
17. NGOs and the Culture of Appropriation
18. Homo Hierarchicus: Company Man
PART V MOVEMENTS FOR LIFE
20. Sense of Sacredness