The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) is a national association representing the mineral exploration and development industry. Its 7,000 individual and corporate members are involved in the exploration, discovery and development of new mines and new wealth. The PDAC’s annual convention is the world’s largest annual gathering of the mineral industry.

TORONTO, Canada (October 19, 2010) – The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) today issued the following statement regarding media reports on the Canadian exploration and mining industry:

“In August 2009 the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) commissioned the Canadian Centre for the Study of Resource Conflict to conduct an internal study on the public’s perception of the Canadian exploration and mining industry’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) record. The study was for internal industry deliberation to inform its ongoing thinking on CSR.

The study deals with unproven allegations, not proven violations.

The internal study suggests that Canadian exploration and mining companies are alleged to be involved in approximately 5 “incidents” per year, over the course of the study’s 10-year timeframe. This is consistent with the data collected and published by the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

To provide some perspective: Canada has 1,800 exploration and mining companies operating 10,000 projects in over 100 countries at any one time. Given this and the fact that Canada is the headquarters of more than 75 per cent of the world’s mining and exploration companies, the PDAC found the results encouraging but with room for improvement.

As the study points out, Canada has one of the most robust CSR regimes in the world. If any allegations against Canadian exploration and mining companies have merit, the well-established National OECD Contact Point in Canada acts as an independent mechanism for people to lodge a complaint and establish the facts. Furthermore, the Government of Canada’s new CSR regime for the mining and exploration industry – which was informed by extensive industry and NGO consultations – includes an independent Canadian CSR Counsellor, who is empowered to investigate and mediate disputes.

While the internal study did provide some useful information on the public’s perception on the industry’s CSR record, the PDAC believes that many of the sources relied upon in the study were not balanced.

The PDAC is concerned that this study will lead to incorrect conclusions regarding the truth and substance of the allegations contained in it. Recent media reports have demonstrated that the full and complete story on the industry’s commitment to CSR – including building schools, housing, roads, clean water, sanitation, and local jobs in the communities in which they work – is not getting out.

Unfortunately, factual inaccuracies seem to be driving the debate around this issue and C300, a Private Members’ Bill that will have a significant negative impact on Canadian mining companies and the jobs that they support in Canada and in the countries in which they operate. In addition to the international standards Canadian mining companies follow, Canada has put a CSR regime in place, with an independent CSR Counsellor, and the industry looks forward to continuing to work with the Office of the Counsellor on furthering Canada’s CSR regime.  

Contact information:
Tony Andrews, Executive Director
Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada
647 409 1570 (cell)
Bernarda Elizalde, Program Director, Sustainable Development
Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada
647 241 6617 (cell)