The Global Development And Environment Institute



Search GDAE

Subscribe for
E-mail Updates

Leontief Prize

Recent Publications

Media Room

Upcoming Events

Publicaciones en Español

Publications en Francais

Publications in Chinese

Jobs and Resources


Globalization Research

Global Food Crisis
- Right to Food
- Revaluing Smallholder Farms
- Beyond Agricultural Subsidies
- Feeding the Factory Farm

Reforming US Trade Policy
- Lessons from NAFTA
- Reforming US FTAs
- WTO and Global Trade
- Modeling Policy Reform

Foreign Investment
- Foreign Direct Investment
- Capital Flows
- Treaty Reform

China & Latin America

Microfinance / Savings Groups

Working Group on Latin Am.
- Environment
- Foreign Investment
- Agriculture
- China in Latin America

Globalization Home
- About
- Publications Library
- Researchers

Globalization Media
- Multimedia
- In the News
- Columns & Commentaries

Read the Triple Crisis Blog

Subscribe for Updates

Follow us on Facebook

Can Extractive Industries Promote
Sustainable Development?
A Net Benefits Framework and a Case Study of
the Marlin Mine in Guatemala

By Lyuba Zarsky and Leonardo Stanley
The Journal of Environment Development
June 2013 vol. 22 no. 2 131-154
Read the full article

This article develops a framework to evaluate net benefits from mining and utilizes it to assess the Marlin mine in Guatemala. The framework integrates “weak” and “strong” sustainability principles. Under weak sustainability, a net gain in human welfare can substitute for the loss of nonrenewable resources. Under strong sustainability, nature’s life-support systems are not substitutable. The authors define “net benefits” as the joint generation of net gains to human welfare, defined as local acceptance and high economic benefits, and low risks to the resilience of environmental life-support systems, especially water, evidenced by best practice management standards. The article finds little evidence that the Marlin mine meets either weak or strong sustainability criteria: there is strong local resistance to the mine and economic benefits are low, while environmental risk is high, especially in terms of potential long-term contamination of life-supporting ground and surface water.

Download the full article

Related Publications:
Sustaining Development: Extractive Industries and Local Communities, Lyuba Zarsky World Politics Review, August 6, 2013

Searching for Gold in the Highlands of Guatemala: Economic Benefits and Environmental Risks of the Marlin Mine, Lyuba Zarsky and Leonardo Stanley, GDAE Report, September 2011.

Learn more about GDAE's work on Foreign Direct Investment.



The Global Development and Environment Institute’s Globalization and Sustainable Development Program examines the economic, social and environmental impacts of economic integration in developing countries, with a particular emphasis on the WTO and NAFTA's lessons for trade and development policy. The goal of the program is to identify policies and international agreements that foster sustainable development.

Tufts University Logo

Global Development And Environment Institute
Tufts University
44 Teele Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144 USA
Tel: 617-627-3530 | Email:

Copyright © 2002 – Tufts University