Current Issue: April 5, 2013 Next Issue: September 2013
In September 2011, Beverley Oda, minister of international cooperation, announced pilot projects to support partnerships between mining companies Barrick Gold, IAMGOLD and Rio Tinto Alcan with NGOs such as World Vision Canada and World University Service of Canada.
While CIDA says the project will help reach out to the poor and support Canada’s corporate social responsibility, human rights advocates question the government’s intentions in partnering with mining companies.
But others are applauding CIDA's investment in business and local mining communities.
In Burkina Faso, the project between Plan Canada and IAMGOLD will train girls and boys aged 13 to 18. Through the CIDA-funded project, the children will receive job skills training in the mining sector and sub-sectors.
CIDA announced more than $5 million to the project while Plan Canada will contribute less than $1 million and IAMGOLD will contribute $1 million.
As CIDA's International Development Week comes to a close, this podcasts asks experts to analyze what could have led to the move to offer Canada's tax dollars to mining companies and NGO's and what may be coming next as a result of these projects.
Catherine Coumans, Ph.D, is the Research Coordinator and Asia Pacific Program Coordinator at MiningWatch Canada. Coumans has prepared a brief entitled "CIDA’s Partnership with Mining Companies Fails to Acknowledge and Address the Role of Mining in the Creation of Development Deficits" for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development’s study on the Role of the Private Sector in Achieving Canada’s International Development Interests.
Penny Collenette is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa. Collenette teaches on topics of governance, corporate responsibility and the ethical and legal intersection of business and human rights. From 2002 to 2004, Collenete was the Senior Fellow at the Center of Business and Government, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Collenette was the Director of Appointments in Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's office for four years.
The mining companies
Rio Tinto Alcan
Source: Barrick Gold, IAMGOLD and Rio Tinto Alcan's websites
Barrick Gold in Papua New Guinea
In February 2011, Human Rights Watch released a report on Barrick Gold's mining practices in Papua New Guinea.
The report, "Gold's Costly Dividend: Human Rights Impacts of Papua New Guinea's Porgera Gold Mine," alleges serious human rights abuses including gang rapes and other violent abuses at the Porgera gold mine.
In response to the report, Barrick Gold said in a press release that the company conducted an internal investigation and has terminated employees as a result.
Barrick Gold said in the press release, "These allegations run contrary to everything we stand for as a company firmly committed to protecting human rights and human dignity."
Source: Human Rights Watch and Barrick Gold