An interview with Hans Matthews of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association
The Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association was formed in 1992 to give voice to community concerns around mining, and to bring the two parties together. In fact, CAMA cofounder and president Hans Matthews – who is also a geologist with experience in exploration and mining – describes the organization as providing the services of both a “dating game and marriage counsellor.”
While there’s been a lot of progress in the relationship between the mining sector and the Aboriginal community over the past 25 years, with the number of agreements, including IBAs, growing to over 400 from only six, and greater understanding of each other’s objectives on both sides, there’s still a ways to go in the evolving relationship.
Community concerns around water and the environment are increasingly overshadowing the economic benefits that mining can bring – as reflected in CAMA’s recent conference in Toronto. CMJ spoke to Matthews in late November about this and other trends.
CMJ: The theme of this year’s conference was water – why did you choose that theme?
Hans Matthews: When we meet with mining companies and communities, the key focus of the communities’ concerns are about water. I think the days when people were screaming for jobs, jobs, jobs, that’s taking a second or third seat down compared to what communities are desiring today, which is prudent or effective environmental management. Also from last year’s conference, a lot of youth and elders were saying we have to protect the water because we all need it whether we’re a mining company or an Aboriginal group.
We try to differentiate ourselves from other mining associations because we’re not trying to advocate for the mining industry, we’re focusing on sideline issues that few want to address head on like water, or social and mental health in a community.
For the rest of this interview: http://www.canadianminingjournal.com/features/cama-celebrates-25-years/