The Borealis Initiative: Mining dialogue is democratic, not damaging – by Pierre Gratton and Alan Young (National Post – March 12, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Merely satisfying regulatory requirements won’t always meet the needs of future generations

With the world’s largest mining convention officially over in Toronto, we are reflecting on some differing views regarding the Canadian mining industry’s relationship with NGOs. What we have discovered is that there are some misconceptions that should be cleared up.

Peter Foster’s column (Mining in an ENGO hole, March 5) is one such example. It totally misconstrues how the Canadian mining industry and NGOs cooperate with each other on social and environmental issues. Instead of recognizing the important role of dialogue among different actors in earning and maintaining the privilege to operate, Foster characterizes NGOs as troublemakers that currently have the mining industry at the mercy of their whims by “breathing down industry’s necks.”

This misleading view paints the industry as purely reactionary to the actions of NGOs, which is far from the truth. A good many in both of our sectors recognize that real progress can be made by working constructively with people from different backgrounds and areas of expertise. For its part, the Canadian Boreal Initiative has embraced this approach in its work to protect and sustainably develop Canada’s boreal forest.

It has been recognized as a credible, fair and science-based organization that has, over the past 10 years, sustained trusted and productive partnerships with a wide range of organizations, companies and Aboriginal communities as well as governments.

The Canadian mining industry and NGOs need each other to achieve our respective goals. We’re both aspiring to improve the way the mining business is conducted – to reduce the risks and impacts of development, improve benefits for communities and shareholders and create favourable conditions for industry growth.

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