The last hundred years, the world population has quadrupled. Demographers estimate that by 2050, there will be more than 9 billion people on earth. Most of the extra 2,3 billion people live in developing and emerging countries. All those people will be consuming materials and energy, now and in the future, to live and to survive. The expansion of the world economy has increased the demand for natural resources such as oil, metals and ores, this since the 90's mainly driven by countries such as China, India and other emerging countries. That demand will continue to rise, according to the expectations. The geopolitical superpowers are counting too. They want to ensure the access to the remaining natural resources, as soon as possible, in order to continue to meet their energy and material needs.
The increasing scarcity and price hikes of raw materials and energy, such as minerals, metals, oil and gas, made in the past decade geopolitical turmoil and a new boom in the sector of extractives industries. Between 1999 and 2008 the price of metal commodities increased exponentially. The mining industry experienced a huge boom since the 90s, it's reflected in a fast geographic and economic expansion, made possible by political reform, the rise in commodity prices and technological innovations. Realised in the course of the last decade, almost all requirements for a rapid territorial, economic (re)colonization of the South. Therefore it's often called a 'second colonization' or 'second gold rush'. In their role of colonizers, the western states are replaced by economic entities, especially by transnational corporations. Transnational corporations and international organisations dominate the sector. They determine the range of motion of the mineral-rich countries, given their high dependence on the world market and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The rising commodity prices, the skyrocketing proftis and the associated concession struggle create a competitive environment in which they are willing to commit murder.
These transformations were also reflected in Latin America. Despite the different ideological views of the leading governments (eg Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuala vs. Peru, Colombia), yet there are similar trends. Right now the short-term vision of both progressive and conservative leaders is now dominating. The extractive industry in Latin America was a key factor in economic growth, considering the exploration and exploitation of minerals to provide new capital (and modern technology). Since the crisis in Europe, more governments are also in financial trouble, like Greece and Romania, who search for new mining operations to generate quickly new income.
Europe reinforces the economic model in Latin America, where export of raw materials is most important. For example, the free trade agreements concluded with Peru and Colombia have to secure the export of raw materials to Europe and to secure the European investment in the region. The Andes is a too important supplier of raw materials for the European industry, which want to secure their supply of raw materials in times of scarcity of natural resources. On the other hand, foreign investment attract the sputtering EU's economic. Our federal government supports this free trade policy.
Today there has been a sharp decline in commodity prices, which seems to be an end to years of growth. The fluctuations of the markets are difficult to predict, but the Andes region is facing a dilemma, they are traditionally an exporter of raw materials. To remain dependent on the export of raw materials and therefore also dependent on the ups and downs of the world ecenomy? Or to seize the opportunity to work towards a more diversified and sustainable economy? Countries that rely on income from mining and gas extraction are likely to end up in trouble, by the decline in oil and metal prices (note: gold is an exception). The price of copper declined in one year by about 24 percent. That's very bad for a country like Peru, which is among the three largest copper producers in the world.
It seems like the time to make a transition, but for now the response of many governments in Latin America is different. They choose to exploit MORE, so they can outweigh the drop of income, and they ease the social and environmentally laws to keep their foreign investors. The answer in Greece is different. Seven years of merciless less spening, imposed by the troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF) have pushed Greece down. After renewed impulses for the exploitation of mines in the country, the new government broke with mining operations in their country.