Session 3: Conflicting interests and use of natural resources

Geography (Ages 11-14)
Session 3: Conflicting interests and use of natural resources
  • Conflicting interests and use of natural resources
  • Understanding causes and impacts of the mining conflict in Odisha
Key Messages
  • Different Backgrounds, Common Ground
  • Poverty reduces choice, and conflict over resources often creates imbalance for both people and environment. ‘Never judge someone else until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes’.
  • To understand the reasons why companies mine in regions like Odisha
  • To understand that landscape is defined by physical and human geography and can change over time
  • Students will find out why Odisha is geographically suitable for mining
  • Students will explore the impact of mining in Odisha
  • Students will examine this impact from the perspectives of different interested parties
Links to National Curriculum

Students will begin to understand some of the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time.



  • Odisha as a region is rich in natural resources. Project Slide 3 of MV Geography Resource 1.2 Odisha maps on IWB and zoom in to explore mineral locations across Odisha
  • Watch the documentary “Mining and Environment Odisha” on YouTube: which details the process and impact of mining different minerals in Odisha.
  • The full documentary is over 40 minutes.  Recommend watching the initial introduction (2 minutes), documentary intro (1 minute), development (1 minute), introduction to rest of documentary (1.5 minutes).  Ask the class who has produced this documentary and why.  (An organisation called the Society of Geoscientists and Allied Technologists whose members include mining companies; its agenda is to promote mineral development activities in India.)  In what ways does the documentary reflect the agenda of SGAT?  (It acknowledges the negative impacts of mining on the environment and communities, and puts an emphasis on the need to continue mining while mitigating its negative impacts.)
  • After 6.47min some of the important minerals of Odisha are individually examined; their uses, extraction processes, impacts and mitigating activities.  Focus on one (the first is Bauxite, which ends at 11.27min) and discuss / record its uses and the environmental impacts of its extraction, and any steps that are being taken to counteract negative impacts.  From 6.47min to 30.30min nine minerals are covered: Bauxite, mineral sands (at 11.27min), chromite (at 14min), iron ore (at 15.30mins), coal (at 27.30mins), (at 28.45mins there are contributions from two villagers who explain the effects of pollution on their lives and the rest of this short section summarises some of the major impacts of mining activities), limestone and dolomite (at 30mins), granite (at 32.30mins).
  • You may also want to show the section on responsible mine decommissioning (at 37.40mins) and the conclusion (at 39mins) which talks about developments over the last fifty years in practices, legislation and attitudes

Suggested mining websites for further information:

Activity 1

  • Split students into 6 mixed ability groups and provide each group with a printed copy of MV Geography Resource 1.2 Odisha maps, Slides 3 and 5. Based on what they have learned about mining and its impacts, students brainstorm a list of physical impacts for each mined area by annotating MV Geography Resource 1.2 Odisha maps, Slides 5.

Activity 2

  • Each group gets one of the six different accounts from MV Geography Resource 3.1 A Day in the Life Of.  Each group gets one account glued in the centre of an A3 sheet
  • Students consider the impact on the individual and locality portrayed in their story and use sketches and captions to record these on their A3 sheet
  • Impact could be split into human and physical.


  • Feedback physical impacts recorded then share group Day in the Life Of stories
  • Project (or print out in advance) the Odisha Mining Corporation’s Corporate Social Responsibility webpage. 
  • What is the company’s perception of how they help society?
  • How are the mining company’s perspectives similar of different to those in the Day in the Life Of activity?  You may wish to go through each one individually.
  • Bring the conversation back to the concept of different backgrounds and perceptions.  The different “interested parties” have different needs and want different outcomes.


  • Research definitions for “discernment” and “compromise”.
  • Print one copy per student: Highlight all the physical impacts of mining in Odisha stated in the news article MV Geography resource 3.2 Odisha’s story about Pollution, Mining and the Environment
  • This will be used in the next session