We have come together under the banner of YLNM in the shared belief that saying no to mining is not a selfish, negative or anti-development position, but an absolute necessity at this moment of social, economic and ecological crisis.
We cannot continue to extract as if the Earth were without limits and as if large-scale, industrial mining were not inherently violent and harmful to people and planet.
We must find ecologically and socially just ways into the future – ways that protect the ecosystems we all rely on, value all human life and take us beyond extractivism.
We believe communities, not states or multinational corporations, hold the key to this post-extractive future and must be heard. YLNM exists to bring this future into reality through solidarity and collective action.
A group of African communities and allied civil society groups met in Kenya to discuss how to respond to the rapid expansion of mining extractivism across Africa. They agreed on the need for a stronger stance against extractivism and the mainstream vision of mining ‘development’. African poet and civil society leader Nnimmo Bassey summed up the group’s feeling in a phrase- Yes to Life, No to Mining.
After a period of global consultation with established anti-mining movements and organisations, the Yes to Life, No to Mining Network was officially launched in November 2014. In its first years the network focused on gathering, connecting and connecting with allies aligned with YLNM’s stance on mining, building an online web-space and toolkit, and establishing a working structure.
Throughout the life of the network, YLNM has focused on facilitating reactive solidarity initiatives between members in times of need. For example, in 2015 YLNM members coordinated a global solidarity campaign to successfully secure the release of human rights defender Beejin Khastumur, of YLNM member group DMNN, who was imprisoned for opposing illegal mining.
YLNM’s global team of regional coordinators have advanced an active programme of work to support and strengthen national and regional anti-mining movements through small grants, community exchanges, popular informational materials and toolkits, research, media amplification, webinars and supporting ‘emblematic’ communities in Colombia, Finland, Myanmar and Galicia
Bringing frontline voices to global prominence, since 2017, YLNM has collaborated on a number of different research efforts highlighting the critical need for post-extractive solutions to the climate and ecological crises. These include The Dark Side of Digitalization (2017), A Justice Transition is a Post-Extractive Transition (2019) and Voices from the Ground: how the mining industry is profiting from COVID-19 (2020).
As of 2021, YLNM has over 80 member communities, organisations and networks and 9 volunteer regional coordinators drawn from the network.
YLNM contact regional points
The international coordination of the YLNM network is overseen by nine volunteer regional contact people from around the world. Each contact person is from or actively involved in supporting frontline communities to resist unwanted mining projects. They are the bridges making connections between YLNM members and other allies at the local, regional and international levels.
YLNM’s Regional Contact Points are: Natalie Lowrey, Pacific; Babawale Obayanju, West Africa; Mariana Gomez Soto, Latin America; Clemente ‘Enteng’ Bautista, South East Asia; Merle Davis, North America; Brie Van Dam, Arctic; Guadalupe Rodriguez, Southern Europe; and Hannibal Rhoades, Northern Europe.
Established in 2014, the YLNM Network now has over 70 member groups connected across borders and realities.
These members hail from every inhabited continent on Earth and include frontline communities and people’s platforms, non-profit organisations and national and regional networks.
YLNM is also a home for honourary individual members who have placed their skills as academics, scientists, researchers and organisers at the service of our global membership.
Beyond our official network, we maintain working alliances with many other groups defending human rights and our living planet, including Mining Watch Canada, Earthworks (USA) and London Mining Network (UK) in the mining industry’s colonial heartlands.
Our official members are: