Lexpert Special Editions

Lexpert Global Mining 2015

The Lexpert Special Editions profiles selected Lexpert-ranked lawyers whose focus is in Corporate, Infrastructure, Energy and Litigation law and relevant practices. It also includes feature articles on legal aspects of Canadian business issues.

Issue link: https://digital.carswellmedia.com/i/566150

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Page 14 of 39

WWW.LEXPERT.CA | 2015/16 | LEXPERT 15 voluntary actions to either reduce the negative impacts of mining (economic, social and environmental) or to improve the living con- ditions of the local communities where they operate." 6 e reference to voluntary actions necessarily implies those actions that go beyond what is required by regulatory regimes or binding agreements. e success of a company's CSR policies will also be assessed through its measurable social, environmental and economic impacts, as well as its workplace, marketplace and community relations. In pursuit of ob- taining greater project certainty and as good corporate citizens, many Canadian mining companies are working to establish their reputation for successful implementation of excellent CSR policies that lead to meaningful engagement with local communities and help to secure a long-term social licence to operate. Such policies generally include investments in infrastructure and in building both social and human capital. 7 ese investments oen consist of the construction and funding of schools, hospitals and roads, access to clean water and electricity, implementation of educa- tion and skills training programs, and provision of business and em- ployment opportunities. By way of example, Goldcorp Inc. reports paying $62 million in global community investments in 2014, as well as employing 80 per cent of its workforce locally, and providing all of its security personnel with human rights training. It is also the practice of many Canadian companies to create social responsibility advisory boards in order to engage in constructive discussions with various stakeholders and industry leaders regarding CSR issues. For example, Barrick Gold Corp.'s CSR Advisory Board lists as its members lead- ing experts in corporate social responsibility and international mining projects, whose mandate is to help the company deliver on its commit- ment to responsible mining. Companies may also voluntarily adhere to international practice standards that focus on transparency, accountability and sustainability. Such standards include the Mining Association of Canada's Towards Sustainable Mining program, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and the Global Reporting Initiative, and certifications such as ISO 14000 (environmental management) and AA 1000 (account- ability principles), among others. Adherence to these practice stan- dards oen requires companies to publicly disclose corporate data, thus increasing transparency and accountability within the corpora- tion. e Canadian government further promotes compliance with sustainable practices in the extractives industry by providing funding assistance to corporate social responsibility projects and initiatives, as well as by developing framework guidelines (in its corporate social re- sponsibility strategy publication) 8 for best responsible business prac- tices abroad. For many Canadian mining companies, their commitment to cor- porate social responsibility has proven to be one of the keys to suc- cessful project development. By way of example, positive commun- ity relations and economic growth initiatives have reportedly aided Aura Minerals Inc. during community resettlement at their Serrote da Laje development project in Brazil. In fulfilling its commitment to responsible corporate practices, the Canadian miner developed the Partner Farmer Project in the communities surrounding the mining development project. e farming project, which earned the company the 2011 Minéros & Minerales magazine's top award for excellence in the Brazilian mineral industry (Premio de Excelencia da Indústria Minero-Metalúrgica Brasileira), was aimed at diversifying the com- munities' crops and improving their agricultural earnings. e project introduced seven new crops, including better varieties of corn, using Karen MacMillan kmacmillan@lawsonlundell.com | (604) 631.9160 > Karen MacMillan is a partner at Lawson Lundell LLP practising corporate and commercial law with an em- phasis on commercial arrangements and asset-level acquisitions and dispositions in the mining sector, inclu- ding with respect to projects in Latin America. Her prac- tice includes representing mining clients in connection with earn-in, joint ventures, royalty financing and other strategic arrangements, as well as procurement, construction and services agreements at the exploration, develop- ment and construction phases. Khaled Abdel-Barr kabdelbarr@lawsonlundell.com | (604) 631.9233 > Khaled Abdel-Barr is a partner at Lawson Lundell LLP practising corporate and commercial law with an em- phasis on mining law, including advising on acquisitions and dispositions of mines and significant mining pro- jects, and on a broad range of mining-related matters, both domestically and internationally. His practice in- cludes advising clients in the negotiation of earn-in, joint venture, strategic alliance and royalty agreements, mineral title review, and all phases of the mining cycle (from exploration, development and production, to reclamation and mine closure). He can be reached at kabdel-barr@lawsonlundell.com. 1 McGill Research Group Investigating Canadian Mining in Latin America, online: http://micla.ca 2 Ibid. 3 The North-South Institute, Governance of Natural Resources Economic Impact of Canadian Mining in Latin America, online: http://www.nsi-ins.ca 4 Coverage of the protests may be found at: http://www. mining.com/state-of-emergency-in-peru-as-anti-mining-violence-leaves-4-dead-dozens-arrested/ 5 World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future, Oxford: Oxford University Press (1987) at para 1 of chapter 2. 6 "What is Corporate Social Responsibility?" online: Mining Facts http:// www.miningfacts.org 7 "What is Corporate Social Responsibility?" online: Mining Facts http://www. miningfacts.org 8 Aura Minerals Corporate Responsibility Achievements and Aura Minerals Announces Positive Feasibility Study on Its Serrote da Laje Property online: www.auraminerals.com sustainable farming methods on land owned by the company. e Ser- rote da Laje Project, which is the company's core development asset, is currently in the early development phase, and the company reports community resettlement in areas of future mining and processing operations is substantially complete. Some sceptics have dismissed CSR initiatives as greenwash public relations strategies made to distract from negative environmental or socioeconomic impacts, or as a means of avoiding regulation. While it may be true that, to a certain extent, these policies can be self-serving for mining companies in so far as they help build brand integrity and reduce project risk, CSR initiatives in Latin America also contribute to sustainable economic growth (both locally and nationally) in a meaningful way. Creating employment opportunities, providing es- sential community services and investing in long-term education and social programs are but a few examples of the long-term value-add that well-managed mining projects can offer. Canadian miners are demonstrating that meaningfully engaging local communities and in- creasing transparency and accountability throughout the project de- velopment process both contribute to sustainable long-term growth of the economy and development of the communities impacted by the mineral activity. In sum, while local stakeholder scepticism and opposition continue to linger in Latin America due to the mining industry's blemished history, the industry is increasingly focused on bridging this gap with impacted communities and is moving towards sustainable develop- ment that provides long-term benefits to those impacted by mining activities. As a result, many Canadian mining companies seeking international investment and development opportunities are cra- ing tailored CSR policies and strategically developed implementa- tion strategies that both positively impact local communities and help mitigate undue project risk.

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