These women from PNG know their rights!

Information for communities

The growth of the mining sector has increased the importance of ensuring that communities are front and centre of decision-making processes.

Will costs for communities outweigh the anticipated benefits? Will people be forced to relocate? Will there be an impact on the environment and peoples’ livelihoods and health? Will there be real jobs for locals? Where will the money come from for the site clean-up? These are just some of questions that community members need to have the opportunity to ask, and that should be answered by mining companies in an open and accessible way before any mining begins.

It is important that communities understand the potential positive and negative impacts of mining — our case studies are a good place to start. They will then be in a better position to weigh up the pros and cons.

Free, prior and informed consent

Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is recognised in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. FPIC requires that individuals and communities should be informed — in appropriate, accessible language — about projects that might take place on their land. It also guarantees that they’re given the opportunity to give or withhold their consent to a project before it commences.

Our guide to free, prior and informed consent will help communities have a say about projects that may impact on their land, livelihood and environment. Providing an introduction to the principle of free, prior and informed consent, it contains basic information about the right to FPIC, who has this right, and how this right can help people have a say about mines, dams, logging and other large infrastructure projects which affect them in some way.

The guide and training cards are available in a number of languages including Bahasa Indonesia, Papua New Guinean Pidgin, French and Spanish. See all of the Oxfam FPC resources online.

Other resources

Oxfam’s guides for mining companies on gender impact assessment and grievance mechanisms are also useful tools for communities. Use these to better understand what companies should be doing and demand that they do the right thing.

Oxfam training

Oxfam works with local NGOs and community-based organisations to design and deliver training programs that assist mine-affected communities to understand their rights and hold companies and governments to account. We provide training on FPIC, business and human rights, corporate accountability advocacy, and use of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. We work with the Diplomacy Training Program, OECD Watch and local partners.


  • Free and equal. Learn more about Indigenous Peoples’ rights, the international human rights system and how to advocate for change from Oxfam and the Diplomacy Training Program’s ‘Free and Equal’ publication