About us


Select language

Final Communique of the 1st International Miners' Conference in Arequipa (Peru)

The First International Miners' Conference concluded successfully after three days of hectic and serious deliberations on 3 March in Arequipa with almost 500 participants. Miners and representatives of the miners' movement and of the people's movements from 25 countries were present. From Peru, miners from 42 bases took part. Its highlights were the decision of the international delegates to found and build an international coordination and cooperation of the militant miners' movement and the joint march from the Plaza de Armas to the Conference venue.
It took place in a situation of worldwide upswing of miners' struggles. The men and women, and partly also children, who extract the mineral treasures of the earth in shafts and open-cast mining constitute a big army of the international industrial proletariat, with 22 million workers. We dared to undertake this conference, because only by their international union, can they become a superior power. Every country on its own will not stand a chance in the long run against the monopolies which dominate the world market and the governments are obedient to them. These international monopolies grow rich on our labor and ruthlessly plunder the natural treasures of the earth. The monopolies and their governments are afraid of our might! That is why they refused – by way of bureaucratic harassment and repression – some delegations to enter Peru. Therefore, they set the police on leading representatives of the 1st International Miners' Conference from Germany. With one resolution, the conference protested against these arbitrary police actions and demanded an apology from those responsible. Our cause is right and just!
The international conference of the miners is different from numerous world conferences which indulge in non-binding debates and beg for the support of some sponsors. Our conference is above party-lines, self-organized and self-financed.
The core of the conference was the general assembly of the international miners' delegates. 33 elected delegates from 19 countries and entitled to vote took part in it. After a thorough debate, they unanimously adopted the future foundations and the working method of the Miners' Conference. The official founding of an organized, worldwide coordinating and cooperating binding collaboration constitutes a historic step in developing the worldwide struggles of the miners to a higher level. An international coordinating committee was elected unanimously. It consists of 7 competent members of the miners' movement from Congo, India, Germany, Peru, Colombia, Indonesia and Kazakhstan. They now have the honorable task of coordinating the cooperation on equal footing, the information and mutual support in the international miners' movement.
The country reports illustrated in an animate way the need and wish for a coordination and cooperation on eye level. This was discussed more deeply in 9 discussion forums. These forums constituted a preparation of a programmatic foundation, which shall be decided in a second international miners' conference. Within this mutual exchange of experience, a total number of more than 350 participants debated passionately and in a comradely spirit about all important social questions and questions relating to the future of the miners and their families:

  • About unifying in the struggle for wage and working conditions, for a life in dignity, against division by contract work and disorganization by outsourcing and the flexibilization of working hours and against the general tendency of pension cuts worldwide and against the massive discrimination of miners in regard to pensions, in particular in small-scale mining
  • The conference decided a solidarity resolution on the strike currently waged by 13,500 employees in the coal pit El Carrejon in Colombia. Moreover, reports were given on the struggle of 3000 miners in the metal complex La Oroya, about the struggle against dismissals at Empresa Minera Cerro de Pasco S.A.C. Volcan Group, and tough struggles of the miners in small-scale mining for their social rights and against the governments.The miners must create a multitude of appropriate forms of struggle and organization for their struggles and make use of them. They need strong and unified trade unions as the mass organizations of the workers and revolutionary parties for leading the political struggle; In doing so, they must reject the class collaboration with the monopolies.
  • The miners' movement has a great responsibility for the protection of the natural environment from the profit economy of the monopolies and the preservation of the livelihood of mankind;
  • We need to have a clear understanding of the repercussions of the reorganization of international production on our life and the conditions of our struggles,
  • The miners' wifes and women miners movement plays an important role in the struggle for the liberation from exploitation of man by man, the liberation of women and for the unity of humankind and nature;
  • The children and the youth of the miners embody our future and must therefore be protected from overexploitation;
  • In the struggle for social rights (job safety, social insurances and pensions) and for political rights (right to strike and to unionise), the miners must unite worldwide against political repression and violence by mining enterprises and state institutions. We condemn the ILO convention which subordinates these rights to class collaboration with the international monopolies.

Many mining countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia are rich in natural resources, but their people are poor. The delegate from Indonesia said: "We are sitting on a golden chair and are living like beggars!" We will not settle with this. We are inspired by the common vision of a just world without exploitation and oppression in unity with nature. To this effect, the social conditions must be revolutionized. The working people must control the treasures of the earth, the water and the air, which they make accessible by their work.
The 3rd International Miners' Seminar 2008 in Germany, with miners from 14 countries, decided to conduct this conference. Since then, it was prepared in the national preparation committees of the countries as a joint task, coordinated by the International Preparation Group (IPG). Miners from almost 50 countries were involved in this. Within the IPG, there was democratic deliberation, decision making and drafts were prepared. This work of the IPG was supported by the National Organization Committee (CNO) in the host country Peru which took charge of the practical implementation. A brigade of 80 international propagandists supported the practical preparation, implementation and advertisement in the spirit of international solidarity.
Only the masses themselves can change the world to their own benefit. That became the guideline for the preparation and conduct of our conference. With mistrust or skepticism in the masses, we hinder ourselves. Our strongest weapon is to convince. In thousands of individual talks in the streets of Arequipa and the miners' centers, the word about the conference was spread and 4600 Soles were collected from 4000 donors. The population showed solidarity with the issue of the miners movement to have an international association! With press declarations, radio broadcasting and 1000 posters, we made the conference known. Numerous helpers and organizers fulfilled diverse tasks selflessly and unselfishly: logistics of travel, accommodation, catering, venue, material and technical support, and not to forget the tireless interpreters!
Our third pillar was the cultural activity: Who does not also struggle with the heart, can not truly struggle together. We miners of the world must become brothers and friends. In many get togethers, we creatively spread the international song culture of the miners. We addressed the entire families and thus became one big family in our hearts. This included remembering the victims who lost their lives in mining and in our liberation struggle. They are with us at all times and give us strength for our struggle.
This conference was another important step on a long journey, which will end with the liberation of the world from the exploitation of man and nature and every oppression. Still, a lot of obstacles for our international unification do exist: different languages, world outlooks, experience and customs, but also poverty and bureaucratic harassment. Now we know the problems better, that we miners in all countries have to fight with. Thus, we can coordinate our struggles better together and gain new practical experience.
In unison and with great applause, the conference was dedicated to the miners' leader Saúl Cantoral from Peru, who was abducted, tortured and killed in 1989. As an upright, incorruptible spearhead of the miners' movement, Saúl Cantoral is a symbol, not just in Peru but in the whole world.
The 1st International Conference managed to include the national characteristics into the vivid international cooperation in an excellent way. In 2017, the 2nd World Conference of the miners shall take place in India.
We set out fearlessly, in solidarity and jointly to unite the miners of the world. This shall serve as an example and stimulus for all workers, for the women's movement, the environmentalists, the fighters for freedom and democracy and in particular for the youth!
Los Mineros unidos, jamas seran vencidos!

Arequipa, 3 March 2013

(Unanimously adopted)