Published in the Toronto Star, March 11, 2013
Recent months have seen heated debate about CIDA’s venture into funding partnerships between Canadian mining companies and international development NGOs. Earlier in March, CIDA Minister Julian Fantino told a gathering of international resource companies, government officials and NGOs that Canada’s venture into such partnerships is part of a larger vision for the mining sector. “A responsibly managed extractive sector,” he said , “can drive sustainable economic growth, lead to more gainful employment, and provide more resources for families and their communities.”
Fantino’s words make it sound as though an ethically responsible approach to mining is already well understood, lacking only a bit of willpower, cooperation and funding to be put into effect. With the right management, he implies, mining can deliver ‘wins’ all around—for mining companies, Canadian and foreign governments, the environment and local communities.
High on that list of sound management techniques are apparently efforts such as the CIDA-funded projects in the area of corporate social responsibility, which see mining companies aiming to improve communities in the locales of their mining sites. Coming at the issue from another angle, Canada also has a strong track record in advocating for voluntary measures such as transparency initiatives (which seek to make public the financial transactions between mining companies and governments) and compacts to stem the flow of minerals bound up with armed conflicts….
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