Towards Responsible Mineral Development – GEMM 2020

May 11, 2012

Responsible mineral development is an essential ingredient supporting development in key regions of the world and many of the products we need (building materials, copper wire, piping) and want (jewelry, smart phones).

Defining what is “responsible” in a way that has support from key stakeholder groups remains a challenge.

Glenn Sigurdson and his team at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver gathered over 140 leaders from around the world to take stock of progress to date on the question of what is “responsible” and think about how to take this agenda forward. See Pathways for Improving Practice and Agendas for Responsive Research; Responsible Minerals Sector Initiative (RMSI) for more information.

For me, two clear themes emerged from this session; it is time to 1) consolidate and 2) catalyze:

Progress is occurring—one measure of success is the myriad sustainability initiatives that are underway. However, there is also a danger of initiative fatigue. It may be time for mapping and assessment (with participation from stakeholders) to help identify opportunities for consolidating initiatives.  We know that mapping and analysis has occurred within sectors, but we have not yet seen it occur across sectors. It is time for that to happen.

Along with consolidation there is a desire to catalyze the right activities—those that have the potential for the greatest positive impact in communities. Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) and broader social license are clearly priorities. At RESOLVE we are already working with stakeholders on this issue—leaders from civil society and the corporate sector—to understand “what works” today and what we need to test or pilot. During the GEMM 2020 conference, participants affirmed this focus.

For RESOLVE and the Beedie School’s RMSI this creates a partnership opportunity. Watch this space for future updates.

- Steve D’Esposito

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