#MineAlert: find out what’s happening in your backyard

On April 2016 the Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism launched the #MineAlert tool, empowering communities with information to advocate for change, and ensuring meaningful participation in decision-making processes, transparency and good governance in the extractive sector. #MineAlert is a South Africa-based mine-mapping tool that builds on the Oxpeckers legacy of improving citizen access to environmental and social justice.

#MineAlert has since become an award-winning data-driven tool that is being replicated around the globe. It provides a centralised platform for users to access, track and share information and documents on mining applications and licences.

Featuring more than 3,440 data points, including documents such as mining rights, environmental authorisations, and social and labour plans documents, #MineAlert enables users not only to access information but to upload and share their own data.

Participation by citizens in compliance monitoring in the extractives industry has become increasingly pressing with the growth of coal mining and the spectre of large-scale mining for shale gas, or fracking, in sensitive and water-scarce ecosystems. Inadequate regulation of mining has significant negative impacts on the environment and communities. Many of these impacts cannot be remedied, and will continue to impose heavy financial, health and environmental costs on society for the foreseeable future.

The level of transparency that #MineAlert encourages is in line with the South African Constitution which guarantees citizens right of access to information held by the state and the right to live in a healthy environment.