It gives me great pleasure to promote Canada as the global leader in mineral exploration, mining and sustainable development practices, and I get to do this often. A large part of my role is representing our association, its members and industry at large at various events and meetings around the world. This keeps me—and ultimately you—informed about developments that may impact our industry.
For example, PDAC has spent a lot of time meeting with the Government of Canada to promote the local and national benefits of our industry, while at the same time safeguarding human rights and the environment. I have also taken part in several UNDP/WEF events while the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) were mapped for mining.
Canada is home to more publicly-listed exploration and mining companies than any other country in the world, and almost half of the mineral properties owned by these companies are located internationally. Sometimes, these operations are undertaken in complex environments. Under the right governance conditions, projects can responsibly generate economic and social opportunities for companies, as well as the host countries and its communities.
We expect our members to represent the best interests of the Canadian mineral exploration and mining industry regardless of where it is in the world, including here at home in Canada. In a sense, this reminds me of those Canadian travellers who proudly wear the Maple Leaf on their backpack. Similarly, Canadian companies operating abroad, they too wear the Maple Leaf as Canadian ‘ambassadors’. Or as our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said recently on a trip to China: “See we’re Canadians — we travel with our values and we don’t hesitate to share them whenever and wherever we see opportunities”.
PDAC supports the existing tools that guide the conduct of Canadian companies working abroad. These include the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s National Contact Point, Canada’s CSR Counsellor, host state institutions and non-judicial dispute resolution mechanisms.
PDAC is very proud to have created the world’s first detailed guidance on responsible exploration, e3 Plus: A Framework for Responsible Exploration, and the Early Stakeholder Engagement Guide, which encourage companies to:
- Respect human rights.
- Adopt responsible governance and management practices.
- Contribute to community development and social wellbeing.
Natural Resources Canada also enacted the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA), brought into force on June 1, 2015. ESTMA delivers on Canada’s international commitments to contribute to global efforts to increase transparency and deter corruption by requiring extractive entities active in Canada to publicly disclose, on an annual basis, specific payments made to all governments in Canada and abroad.
In addition, for almost a decade, PDAC has organized the CSR Event Series at the annual PDAC Convention in Toronto, a leading global platform for dialogue on the minerals industry and sustainable development.
I look forward to discussing solutions to the challenges being faced by our industry at the upcoming Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (IGF), and the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM). Next year, 2017 is already shaping up to be an exciting year.