Exploring Sustainable Solutions in Mining at PDAC 2016

Every year in early March the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) holds a convention that brings together industry, government and civil society leaders from over 100 countries. As the largest exploration and mining event in the world, it is a significant opportunity for EWB to engage with key players in the sector about sustainability and about improving impacts in host countries. 

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ESTMA

One of the sessions EWB attended at PDAC covered ESTMA (the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act), legislation that came into effect in June 2015 that aims to dismantle corruption in the extractives sector. Specifically, the Act requires Canadian businesses to publicly report certain kinds of payments made to all levels of government—in Canada and abroad.  

The session featured panelists from Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN), HudBay, and Goldcorp who provided an overview of the legislations key points along with highlighting compliance issues that the Canadian government and the private sector are facing. The Government of Canada has started its reporting cycle and is particularly interested in ensuring that companies can report to ESTMA without duplicating similar reporting requirements as legislated by the EU and the United States. Likewise, mining companies such as HudBay and Goldcorp provided context about coding processes that they've developed to make reporting much easier. While at this point it is unclear whether extractive companies will immediately comply, CSOs, some private companies, and NRCan are committed to ensuring that ESTMA remain nimble and relevant in advancing transparency within the sector. 

EWB also attended a session held by Canadian law firm Fasken Martineau on the implementation of ESTMA by mining firms that made the case for financial transparency in the mining sector as an enabling factor in securing social licence. 

Mining & the Sustainable Development Goals

According to a preliminary report, the mining industry has the opportunity and potential to positively contribute to all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals. This report, issued jointly by the UNDP, Columbia Centre on Sustainable Investment, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the World Economic Forum was released at another PDAC event that EWB attended held by the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development.

The event brought together foreign ministers (as well as Canada's former development Minister Honourable Christian Paradis), Canadian government departments, UN agencies, private sectors companies and other civil society organizations to discuss multi-sector collaboration through mining to contribute to achieving the SDGs. The team from Mining Shared Value (MSV), an EWB venture that focuses on local procurement, and EWB's Policy and Advocacy Team shared EWB's experience of how local procurement impacts developing economies. 

This was a particularly exciting and timely working event as EWB's Policy & Advocacy team is developing its own advocacy roadmap to 2020. The draft report, which maps mining products and activities to try to identify opportunities to contribute to the SDGs, is open to public consultation until April 8, 2016. 

Aboriginal Procurement

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Our Mining Shared Value (MSV) venture also helped to organize and participated in a panel discussing local procurement from Aboriginal-owned businesses by Canadian mining companies. This is the first time the PDAC Convention has held a session devoted to this topic and over 200 people attended the session.

Panelists from MSV, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, an Aboriginal supplier from the Wahnapitae First Nation, and Cameco discussed how the mineral industry and Aboriginal communities can work together to ensure both successful projects and long-term socio-economic benefits to the project's host communities—from the beginning phases of exploration through extraction and remediation.


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