[Mining] Industry’s side of the story – by Ross Gallinger (Ottawa Citizen – January 25, 2012)

This opinion piece is from the Ottawa Citizen: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/index.html

Re: What is going on at CIDA?, Jan. 19.

Ross Gallinger, Toronto Executive Director, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada

Elizabeth Payne’s recent opinion piece about the Canadian International Development Agency includes several references to development projects involving threeway partnerships between CIDA, NGOs and mining companies.

We disagree with the assertion that significant aid dollars are supporting the work of Canadian mining interests overseas and believe it’s an inaccurate characterization of Canadian exploration and development companies.

The three projects involving three-way partnerships between CIDA, NGOs and mining companies are initiatives over and above the corporate social responsibility work the companies are already doing at the mine sites. CIDA is not financing the corporate social responsibility programs of these companies.

Many critics of mineral exploration and development are quick to judge and quick to brandish those judgments on their websites and in the media. Industry’s side of the story rarely gets told, but we have a side and it deserves more airtime than it gets. Private-sector companies are often at the centre of development projects. Together with NGOs and governments, these companies generate long-term economic benefits to yield individual wellbeing in impoverished communities. Companies are making local investments, providing employment and skills training, purchasing materials, producing goods and services, generating profits, and paying taxes.

Companies are working with local communities to ensure they are truly benefiting from resource development. Efforts are now made to enhance developing countries’ capacities to engage in the development of minerals – to bring lasting benefits to communities. This is not an easy process and there will always be learning opportunities.

Minister Bev Oda should be applauded for her leadership in international development. A more robust and thoughtful contemplation of international development that includes all stakeholders serves to improve foreign aid both in terms of developing public policy and implementing policies on the ground.

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