Velour Productions/AME

Members of AME’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee presented a CSR Short Course in a sold-out pre-conference session. The 25 registrants included CEOs, vice-presidents, geologists, regulators, members of First Nations and mining industry consultants, all of whom came together to hone their CSR skills and share their experiences in the field. “Staying on Top of the Wave: What’s New in CSR and Advancing Your Skills” gave participants a survey of current CSR thinking, as well as a primer on good practices in effective community engagement and ways to minimize exploration’s environmental footprint.

The full-day short course included interactive breakout sessions and case studies. CSR Committee members Susan Todd, Paul Mitchell-Banks, Gil Davis and Andrew Mathewson presented the course content, joined by an appreciated special guest, Simon Chorley, UNICEF Canada’s manager of international programs.

As always, the highlight for participants was the opportunity to dive into the case studies. This year, attendees wrestled with a B.C. mine closure scenario; potential environmental and social impacts with community benefits during exploration in South America; and the social and reputational costs of contractor misconduct during mine development in east Africa. The mine closure scenario prompted discussion about the fundamental concept that mineral exploration and mining are really about people, relationships, and how everyone uses the land around them. Aside from environmental reclamation, questions regarding a social reclamation need to be discussed, such as what the company’s commitment is to the community after a project has ended, and how the company will work with the community to plan what life will look like after the mine. The case studies helped to bring alive the individual and collective experiences in the room, and the stories and insights shared by presenters and participants were humbling. At the end of the day, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive: “We want more!”

Show Case Session

This year’s CSR Show Case Session was a smashing success, with presentations from three teams.

Gordon Bogden and Bernee Bolton, two independent consultants, eloquently discussed the Development Partner Framework (led by the Kellogg Innovation Network) as a tool for sustainable mining at all stages, from early exploration to development to mine closure. Shared purpose was a key point in their presentation, which included Alloycorp Mining’s Kitsault mine project in B.C. as a meaningful example of collaboration.

Through their international partnership, Simon Chorley of UNICEF and Monica Moretto of Pan American Silver shared their experiences on the importance of mitigating risks and creating value through engagement of vulnerable community groups, such as women and children. The importance of listening to communities (what do they want?) was highlighted as a key approach to creating sustainable development projects, and to establishing goals that incorporate sustainable return metrics.

Jeffrey Davidson, the federal government’s extractive sector CSR counsellor, and trade commissioner Lauren MacLennan outlined Canada’s role to proactively promote CSR in the extractive sector. By facilitating an understanding of CSR expectations for Canadian companies working abroad, Canada seeks not only to prevent issues from arising, but also to encourage activities that will bring about long-term success and local benefits to the communities that Canadian companies work in abroad.

After a set of impactful presentations by our speakers, the engaged audience participated with thoughtful questions. A good indication of success, the interactive Q&A went overtime but the audience was so captivated that they stayed. Many thanks to our speakers for such fantastic presentations!