Mining must strengthen community engagement, public confidence – Minister Rickford – by Dorothy Kosich ( – August 28, 2014)

Instead of debating whether Canada should develop its resources, Minister Greg Rickford advises the discussion should focus on responsible resource development.

RENO (MINEWEB) – While Ontario’s Ring of Fire holds great promise for the province’s north, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford stressed the importance of engaging with all communities in the region to work effectively with the province and the mining industry.

In a speech to 2014 Energy and Mine Ministers Meeting in Sudbury Tuesday, Rickford said, “I believe the Ring of Fire holds great promise for this region—a legacy resource development that will require substantial investment, new roads and essential infrastructure to ensure that our communities will have road access and electrification at a competitive value point for industry and communities in Northern Ontario to thrive.”

However, he observed, “To build local confidence, communities must trust what governments and industry say and what government and industries do. We must listen and address local concerns.”

“Building trust in public confidence comes from transparency,” said Rickford. “One of the reasons we’re pursuing initiatives like mandatory reporting for the extractive sector … is to get us to a point of some consensus.”

“Folks, we can’t go global—we can’t reach the foreign markets we must—if we don’t strengthen community engagement and public confidence in our own backyard,” the minister suggested. “Nowhere is that more important than with respect to our dealings with First Nations communities.”

Instead of debating whether Canada should develop its resources, Rickford asserted the discussion should focus on “how to develop them responsibly, how to provide the energy and resources we need in a way that respects the environment we all share and in a way that engages and benefits all local communities. That’s why our government’s approach—its plan—is framed as Responsible Resource Development. We believe this is a platform to getting everything right.”

The Government of Canada is focused on four key objectives, Rickard noted, including making the regulatory review process for major mining projects more predictable and timely. “We’re reducing, secondly, duplication. Third, we’re strengthening protection in areas like marine, offshore and pipeline safety. And four we’re engaging First Nations groups in every aspect of resource development.”

For the rest of this article, click here: