There’s nothing new in the assertion that mining brings jobs, services and general socio-economic development to local communities. This argument appeared to win the day at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg – and will doubtless be reprised later this year at Rio-plus 20. However, Canada’s development agency, CIDA, has gone two steps further. It’s not only subsidising mining companies through three major NGOs, but also cutting support for a number of other civil society groups which are highly critical of the industry.
CIDA will spend nearly 7 million dollars on three pilot “corporate social responsibility” projects brokered between Plan Canada, World University Service of Canada, and World Vision Canada, in partnership with IAMGOLD, Rio Tinto Alcan, and Barrick Gold. Meanwhile, the industry’s leading advocacy organisation, London-based ICMM, has renewed its close collaboration with IUCN, the world’s largest conservation group.