About the conference organizers








Film Screening
Thursday March 5 2009, 3:30 - 6:00 pm



Under Rich Earth (Bajo Suelos Ricos)

Malcolm Rogge, filmmaker


In a remote mountain valley in Ecuador, coffee and sugarcane farmers are faced with the dismal prospect of being forced off their fertile land to make way for a mining project. Passionate and provocative, Under Rich Earth offers critical insights from struggling farmers whose communities are torn apart by global forces. Read more on the film and screening here.







Keynote Address
Thursday March 5 2009, 7:15 - 9:00



Dilemmas and Conflicts in the Mining Sector: What History Teaches

Rosemary Thorp, Senior Researcher, Latin American Programme, Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security, and Ethnicity (CRISE), Department of International Development, Oxford University; former director, Latin American Centre


This paper will survey the political economic history of Latin America to analyze the relationship between mineral dependence and forms of natural resource management that typically have not led to equity or environmentally sustainable exploitation. Detailed cases studied will be those of Bolivia, Chile and Peru. In these cases, contrasting outcomes have resulted from similar degrees of mineral dependence over many decades, with Chile apparently achieving much more success than Bolivia or Peru. The evolution of particular public sector instruments will be studied in depth, and the relation between macro and micro political and economic evolution will be an important part of the analysis.









Panel 1A: Corporate-Community Relations: Negotiating Agreements?

Friday, March 6, 2009, 9:00-10:45



Understanding Corporate-Indigenous Agreements on Mineral Development: A Conceptual Framework

Ciaran O’ Faircheallaigh, Professor, Politics and Public Policy, Griffith University, Australia


The negotiation of legally binding agreements between indigenous peoples and mining companies is now a central feature of extractive industries in settler societies such as Australia and Canada. The making of agreements is often regarded as unproblematic and positive in the literature on mining and indigenous peoples. In reality indigenous – mining company agreements raise major issues in terms of indigenous relations with other political actors and institutions, including government, environmental groups and the judicial system. This paper examines those implications by modelling changes in an indigenous group’s wider political and institutional relations that can follow on from signing an agreement with a mining company, based on indigenous experiences in negotiating environmental and impact and benefit agreements in Australia and Canada. The paper concludes that while agreements certainly offer benefits to indigenous groups, they can also result in the loss of legal rights and political opportunities. Indigenous groups need to carefully map, evaluate, and develop strategies for dealing with the changes likely to arise from signing agreements.



An Evaluation of Impact & Benefit Agreements in the Canadian Mining Sector with Case Studies from Diamond Mining in the Northwest Territories

Ben Bradshaw, Associate Professor, Geography, Guelph University


The emergence of formal corporate-community agreements, often termed Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs), in the Canadian mining sector has been read by many as a positive innovation. Negotiated directly between resource developers and Aboriginal communities with limited state interference, IBAs serve to manage impacts associated with a mine project and deliver tangible benefits to local communities.  Notwithstanding their increasing use and potential significance, limited systematic analysis has been undertaken to determine whether they are meeting their intended aims. This paper reports on the effectiveness of a number of IBAs negotiated in support of three diamond mines in Northwest Territories, drawing on evidence from time-series data, key informant interviews, and focus group meetings in Yellowknife and Dettah, NWT, and Kugluktuk, NU. While some deficiencies were apparent, the IBAs were generally found to be meeting their objectives. Nevertheless, little is known about their long-term efficacy and the degree to which IBAs are able to address long-standing concerns associated with hinterland resource extraction beyond their agreement-specific objectives. Hence, as a complementary task, this paper offers: a protocol for enabling community-centric long term socio-economic conditions monitoring; and a conceptual model of an ideal IBA that can meet the explicit and even implicit expectations of Aboriginal communities currently faced with poverty and underdevelopment, vastly increased mineral exploration within their traditional territories, and ongoing land claim negotiations with the crown.



Used and Abused: Negotiated Agreements

Courtney Fidler & Michael Hitch, University of British Columbia


Aboriginal groups and mining proponents are taking a transactional approach through negotiated agreements to work in partnership. This paper examines how bilateral agreements are used to maximize legal certainty and work cooperatively through the regulatory mine approval process.  Anecdotal evidence is presented on how the Crown is benefiting from negotiated agreements to lessen their fiduciary duty towards Aboriginal peoples vis-à-vis third parties, and how this ‘weighing-in’ strains the original spirit and intent of what the agreement set out to do.  This paper draws on a British Columbia, Canada, case study to consider how the Crown is using and perhaps even abusing negotiated agreements.




Alternative accountability mechanisms: What conditions benefit communities?

Catherine Coumans, Research Coordinator and Asia-Pacific Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada


Both a Canadian parliamentary committee and U.N Special Representative John Ruggie have identified effective impunity of transnational corporations operating in weak governance zones as a serious human rights problem. In the absence of a global regulatory system, or effective international legal system, to hold multinational corporations to account, a range of alternative accountability mechanisms have emerged. This paper explores initiatives that have emerged since 2000, have international scope and apply to the extractive industries. Some mechanisms arose out of government-led initiatives - this paper will discuss the rationale behind the accountability mechanism associated with Canada’s CSR Roundtable process - others are initiated by civil society and/or industry, all entail multi-stakeholder processes involving two or more stakeholder-groups: government, civil society, industry. Through case examples, this paper explores under what conditions these initiatives may provide relief to communities suffering from human rights and environmental abuses. It compares these mechanisms to the potential effectiveness of international or home state legal or regulatory reform.





Panel 1 B: Corporate-Community Relations: Negotiating Agreements?

Friday, March 6, 2009, 9:00-10:45


Listen to an audio recording of this panel here

Watch the session in streaming video


Can Impact & Benefit Agreements Work as a Bridge Towards More Sustainable Practices in Mining Industry?

Andre M. Xavier & Sarah Kimball, Norman Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia


Mandatory actions, such as environmental impact assessment (EIA), have been enforced, aiming to assure that mining activities are being dealt properly with all environmental issues. However, those requirements are not sufficient to address socio-economic and cultural issues. Supra -regulatory mechanisms, such as Impact and Benefit Agreement (IBA), have been adopted by mining companies to negotiate directly with potential affected parties, such as Aboriginals. This paper analyzes the First Nation Raglan IBA as a tool between mining companies and communities. This paper also confronts IBA with Gibson’s model of sustainability in order to understand whether IBAs could work as a bridge towards more sustainable practices. Because IBA is a recent practice in Canada it is difficult to assess the effectiveness in the long-term. It can be concluded that confidentiality and the role of the government must be re-evaluated. Moreover, enforcement and standardization of IBAs have to be discussed and it is imperative that this type of agreement must be formulated in accordance with the EIA.



Revisiting the Chad-Cameroon pipeline compensation modality, local communities’ discontent, & accountability mechanisms

Marieme Lo, Assistant Professor, Global Gender Studies Department, University of Buffalo


Using the Chad-Cameroon pipeline corridor and related compensation settlement between the Exxon Oil Consortium, and the Bakola Pygmies and Bantus of the Kribi/Lolodorf in Cameroon as empirical case study, this paper investigates social regulation and social justice claims in compensation agreements. It interrogates accountability and equity concerns in compensation settlements, when such arrangements are value-laden and political processes, premised on ‘social minimum’, thus entrenched in a political economy of resource allocation that potentially destabilizes local communities’ entitlements and livelihoods sustainability. A critical analysis of Chad-Cameroon pipeline formulaic compensation modality raises questions about the validity of formal corporate-community agreements, the disjunction between the rhetoric of compensation and actual practices, and the scale and scope of accountability mechanisms. This paper thus posits to rethink the substantive dimension of compensation agreements, the politics of short-termism underpinning such arrangements, and the place of contestation and accountability in the face of uncertainty and unaccounted risks.



Implementation & Accountability: Challenges in Canadian IBAs

Virginia Gibson, Anthropologist, Community Consultant


Impact and Benefit Agreements are negotiated by and for indigenous communities in Canada, Australia and increasingly in other countries. The implementation of these agreements has proven challenging for a number of reasons. First, if implementation and fiscal measures are not negotiated funds are often actively sought at the individual level by citizens, thereby foreclosing any collective or future use of funds. Second, transparency in the management of funds is often limited, causing much strife between leadership and citizenry. Third, implementation measures and levers are often so weak that enforcement of agreement measures is negligible. This discussion will cover the challenges of implementation, transparency and accountability of use of royalties and mining funds in communities.



Mining history in the Tlicho Region

John B. Zoe, Tlicho Executive Officer; lead negotiator for the Tlicho land claim


Our Elders have told us stories about life in the old days and what was said at the time of the 1921 Treaty. They say it was so that we will continue our livelihood on these lands, as we understood it and that we would live together in friendship and peace. Since the Treaty was signed, Governments have taken the view that the lands would be open for exploration of minerals without regard for the Tlicho who have been here from time immemorial. We were not consulted at the time for our views, but we bared the brunt of the impact and the encroachment to the traditional lands. Mineral searched by the prospectors were many, because they followed the traditional trails among the Tlicho. Once the developing mines in different stages were abandoned, these areas were avoided because of the contaminants left behind. Many leaders like Bruneau, Arrowmaker, Charlo, Migwi, Huskey, Erasmus and Joe Rabesca have lobbied for the clean up. Some clean-up work was done earlier where we did not benefit in a meaningful way. In negotiations of the Tlicho Agreement, all this was taken into consideration when lands were selected, and we are assured that Canada would continue to be responsible for the cost of the clean up to the contaminated sites. The benefits the Tlicho now receive in the preferential contracts we get, we re-invest into our people, so that they can be strong like two people.







Panel 2A: Socio-Environmental Histories of Extraction. Case Studies: Mexico & Canada

Friday, March 6, 2009, 11:00-12:45



Exhausting the Sierra Madre: Long-Term Trends in the Environmental Impacts of Mining in Mexico

Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert, Associate Professor, Latin American and Global History, McGill University, Montreal


This paper scales the environmental impacts of gold and silver mining in Mexico from its beginnings in 1522 to the present day. Its aim is two-fold. The first is to provide a long-term historical perspective on the contemporary mining boom in Mexico (and Latin America more broadly) by tying it to preceding cycles of growth in the extractive industry. The second is to illustrate the shifting relationship between the key variables that come together to determine the type and scale of environmental impacts that characterize a given mining regime. The variables are: energy and water use, refining technology, and ore grade.



The Ecology of Oil: The Case of Mexico, 1900-1938

Myrna Santiago, Associate Professor, Saint Mary’s College of California


Oil extraction in the Mexican tropical rainforest of northern Veracruz was not a random process.  The industry which started in 1900 produced an ecology, that is, a complex web of relationships that set in motion changes in land tenure patterns, land use, and social hierarchies.  Caught in this mesh were indigenous peoples, immigrant laborers, and the rainforest itself.  The results included massive environmental degradation, the marginalization of indigenous groups, discriminatory practices in labor organization, and a high degree of social conflict.  The coincidence of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) with the ascendancy of the industry added an important ingredient to a very volative atmosphere:  radical politics.  That led to direct confrontation between the foreign oil companies and the Mexican government, in addition to already tense relations between labor and capital.  The resolution of the conflicts did not come about until 1938, when the Mexican government nationalized the industry and brought the period of foreign oil to a close.



Les origines des régimes miniers au Canada: l’héritage du système du free mining (The Origins of Mining Regimes in Canada : the Legacy of the ‘Free Mining’ System)


[Click on title above for the paper in PDF; click here to see the accompanying slides]


Ugo Lapointe, Researcher, Groupe de recherche sur les activités minières en Afrique (GRAMA), Université du Québec à Montréal


Depuis les années 1990, les ententes contractuelles négociées entre les entreprises minières et les communautés autochtones affectées par les projets miniers apparaissent comme de nouvelles formes de régulation et de légitimation de l’investissement minier au Canada. Sur plusieurs tribunes, on décrit ces ententes comme « novatrices » puisque permettant d’élargir les horizons et d’offrir de nouvelles possibilités pour les populations autochtones concernées. Or, l’analyse des conditions historiques, politiques et institutionnelles dans lesquelles s’inscrivent ces nouveaux espaces de régulation suggère des contraintes importantes quant aux possibilités réelles offertes. En retraçant sommairement les origines socio-historiques du principe du free mining dans les régimes miniers des Territoires du Nord-Ouest et du Québec, cette présentation tentera de démontrer comment et pourquoi le système du free mining se caractérise aujourd’hui comme une structure de pouvoir asymétrique qui, somme toute, semble restreindre la capacité réelle de ces ententes d’offrir un espace permettant la prise en compte équitable des valeurs et des intérêts des populations locales.



El Colonialismo Interno del Petróleo: Petróleos Mexicanos en Tabasco 1973-2008 (Oil’s Internal Colonialism: Mexican Petroleum in Tabasco 1973-2008)

Rodolfo Uribe, Professor-Researcher, Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Cuernavaca, Mexico


La ponencia expondrá como las condiciones de la situación financiera nacional e internacional determinaron la forma de intervención local de la industria petrolera nacional en el estado de Tabasco, México, a partir de 1973; y como el costo de producción y el nivel de ingresos petroleros fueron subsidiados por los daños irreversibles en las condiciones ambientales y de salud de la población local. La resistencia contra esto generó el primer movimiento ambiental masivo rural del país. El gobierno monetarizó la respuesta pagando indemnizaciones y aumentando el presupuesto local, pero la corrupción (política y social),  el descontento y la ideología nacionalista de participación pública en los ingresos de la empresa generaron dinámicas políticas que llegaron a  impulsar a dos políticos locales contrarios a presentar sus candidaturas presidenciales en 2006. Uno de ellos dirige ahora el movimiento nacional de resistencia al actual proyecto neoliberal de privatización de la industria petrolera.







Panel 2B: Small-Scale Mining – Case Studies
Friday, March 6, 2009, 11:00-12:45


Listen to an audio recording of this panel here

Watch the session in streaming video


Where there is no company:  indigenous peoples, sustainability, & the challenges of mid-stream mining reforms in Guyana’s small-scale gold sector

Logan Hennessy, Assistant Professor, Social Sciences, Liberal Studies Program, San Francisco State University, San Francisco


For good reasons, much of the literature on emerging accountability mechanisms in ‘sustainable mining’ elaborates various approaches for minimizing conflicts between states, companies, and affected communities.  Two perennial dimensions of concern for indigenous peoples—land rights, and free, prior, and informed consent—have even been adopted in recent impact-benefit agreements. The gains that these advances represent are nonetheless built on a spatial and temporal discourse primarily applicable to large-scale, company-driven mines unfolding in the future.  This not only obscures the dimension of artisanal mining from mainstream debates on sustainability, mining, and indigenous peoples, it also confines already producing fields to peripheral concerns.  Following an overview of mining reform on multiple scales, it is argued that confronting sustainable mining requires a more inclusive look at artisanal-scale processes.  This paper then illuminates some of the challenges of engaging artisanal production mid-stream using the case of Amerindian mining communities in Guyana. 




Challenges with eradicating child labour in African small-scale mining communities: A case study of the Talensi-Nabdam District, Upper East Region of Ghana

Gavin Hilson, Lecturer in Environment & Development, School of Agriculture, Policy & Development, The University of Reading


The issue of child labour in the burgeoning artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) economy of Ghana has attracted attention both locally and internationally. A lack of formal sector economic opportunities and/or the need to provide financial support to their impoverished families has led tens of thousands of children to take up work in ASM camps, where they participate in various dangerous and arduous activities. Drawing upon feedback from interviews conducted in the Talensi Nabdam District, Upper East Region of Ghana, this paper critically examines the challenges with eradicating child labour in the ASM sector and offers policy-relevant options for tackling the problem.  In an attempt to put these issues into better perspective, the paper reports on the progress of a local NGO commissioned by the International Labour Organization to remove 150 children from the District's ASM operations and reintegrate them into the local educational system.

Rethinking illegitimacy in mineral extraction: Mining, communities and livelihoods in India

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt,Resource Management in Asia Pacific Program, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University

Mineral resources have been a contested ground in India where the Nehruvian model of economic growth has led to a dispossession of local communities, often but not solely, by state-owned mineral enterprises. Escalating conflicts over the extraction of mineral resources in India have been centred on important questions relating to Dalit and adivasi identities, people who are more than disproportionately represented amongst the displaced. As mining expansion fuels and have been fuelled by the unprecedented economic growth in India, India’s mineral-rich tracts, predominantly those in the eastern and central parts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, become marked with considerable violent and multifaceted protests that effectively challenge the ‘eminent domain’ of the state over the mineral resources of India. At the same time, civil society groups at the local and national levels have forged strong resistance to the encroachment on land and livelihoods by mines. At the same time, there are large numbers of extremely poor people making a living from mineral extraction in India – working in seasonal jobs in innumerable mines and quarries – as part of the informal and unorganised sector. Described as peasant mining, the livelihoods surrounding these practices continue to remain a less visible and certainly poorly theorised area, the physicality of the extraction process reducing them to either engineering or economic interpretations. This neglect has hindered the development of a nuanced understanding of the everyday forms of livelihoods of poor people on and around mineral-rich tracts – as many as 23 million in the last global count. In this paper, I suggest that a holistic understanding of extractive industries is needed by both the state and civil society actors, in view of the complexity that the micro-reality presents as against what the corporatised form indicates. The two sectors are not necessarily mutually exclusive and might have interlinkages that need to be critically understood. In examining how the mineral extraction practices are influenced by rules, habits, norms, conventions and values that belong to and operate in extra-legal domains, I rearticulate mineral economies beyond statist, market or capitalist perspectives. I conclude that illegality in mineral economies cannot be understood in separation from the social and cultural, and that our interpretations must ponder over the relations between economic practices, moral order and the social good.






Panel 3A: The Political Economy of Resource Control -Resource & Energy Sovereignties – Country Studies

Friday, March 6, 2009, 4:00-5:45


Listen to an audio recording of this panel here

Watch the session in streaming video


Yasuni: Keeping the Oil in the Soil in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Carlos Larrea, Professor, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Ecuador


The paper will analyze the symbolic, environmental, and developmental significance of the decision of the Ecuadorian government to obtain international financial compensation for not exploiting the petroleum of the oil-rich Yasuni Indigenous Reserve in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It will look at the perhaps surprising kind and extent of support that this decision has received both within Ecuador (a petroleum dependent country since the early 1970s) and internationally from OPEC, various European governments, and distinguished political leaders in addition to environmental organizations.



Promises, Promises: The Irony of Energy Dependence in the US & Canada

Gordon Laxer, Director, Parkland Institute, and Political Economist, University of Alberta


All U.S. presidents since Nixon, have promised Americans energy independence. Meanwhile, because of its profligate waste of energy, the U.S. gets steadily less oil independent. In contrast, Canadian Prime Ministers never talk about Canadian energy independence or security, and enthusiastically support Canada’s satellite role in helping to ensure U.S. energy security. The focus on exports to the U.S. means that Canada opens its own citizens to energy insecurity by importing half the oil used here. Canada gets a higher percentage of its oil imports from OPEC countries than the U.S., a fact you would never know from living in Canada. In a country where the dominant season is winter, energy security matters. Cuts in supplies could literally mean Canadians freezing in the dark. The irony is that American Presidents promise energy independence, but fail to do much about it, while Canadian Prime Ministers do not talk about it, but could easily achieve it. Canada exports more energy than it consumes. The main U.S. choice on energy independence is to go really green and substantially cut fossil fuel consumption, or use aggressive tactics, including war, to get oil from under other peoples’ sands. It’s a choice of going green and independent, versus empire and dependence. Canada’s main security choice is to gain energy independence so it can go green, or spew lots of greenhouse gases by providing guaranteed levels of energy exports to the U.S., and acting as deputy sheriff to U.S. adventures abroad over oil. This paper explores the themes of energy independence and dependence in Canada and the U.S. within the context of the triple crisis of peak oil, energy insecurity, and the looming threat of climate change catastrophe.



Resource Revenue in Bolivia

Paul Ragusa, Oil and Gas Specialist, Americas Directorate, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)


The benefits to developing countries from resource revenues are instrumental to alleviating poverty and contributing to sustainable development.  Many developing countries are significantly endowed with such resources but lack the capacity to benefit.  Ensuring extractive sectors in developing countries have sound management strategies paired with transparent, legal, and fiscal regulatory frameworks acts as a impetus to economic, social and environmental sustainability. A lack of resource governance most often leads to poor resource exploitation, decreased foreign investment, environmental degradation and minimum resource rents. The presentation will focus on the Bolivia Hydrocarbon Regulatory Assistance Project.  This is a CIDA funded initiative which focuses on strengthening public sector institutions, which govern the hydrocarbon sector to ensure sustainable resource development while maximizing benefits to Bolivia.  Recent fiscal changes in the regulatory framework introduced in Bolivian tax law in 2006 have resulted in significant increases in government revenues.   These hydrocarbon tax revenues focus on poverty reduction and by law are spent only for health, education, economic and social development and promotion of employment.







Panel 3B: The Political Economy of Resource Control - Regulation of Extractive Economies: Case Studies & Theoretical Considerations

Friday, March 6, 2009, 4:00-5:45



L’évolution des régimes miniers au Canada et les conditions d’émergence de nouvelles formes de régulation (The Evolution of Mining Regimes in Canada and the Conditions for the Emergence of New Forms of Regulation)

Myriam Laforce, Researcher, Groupe de recherche sur les activités minières en Afrique (GRAMA), Université du Québec à Montréal


Alors que les régimes miniers au Canada demeurent fondés, depuis la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle, sur le libre accès à la propriété et à l’exploitation des ressources, ils ont néanmoins connu une certaine évolution, particulièrement depuis la fin des années 1980 et le début des années 1990, évolution qui mérite d’être analysée. Voilà ce qui est proposé dans le cadre de cette présentation, alors que l’on s’intéressera à l’intégration progressive de nouvelles valeurs socioenvironnementales dans les cadres réglementaires miniers du pays. Après avoir brièvement défini les concepts ainsi que l’approche théorique auxquels on a ici recours, il s’agira de s’attarder aux implications de cette évolution, d’abord, (1) sur le rôle de l’État dans la régulation de l’investissement minier ; ensuite (2) sur l’apparition de nouveaux modes de régulation et de légitimation de cet investissement (prenant notamment la forme d’ententes spécifiques entre entreprises minières et populations locales (IBAs)), puis, finalement (3) sur les opportunités réelles de contribution de ces populations locales aux nouveaux processus décisionnels ainsi créés.




National Mining Codes & Global Regulation - African Cases

Bonnie Campbell, Professor, Department of Political Science and Groupe de recherche sur les activités minières en Afrique (GRAMA), Université du Québec à Montréal


Il se déroule à l’heure actuelle un processus de révision sur grande échelle des cadres réglementaires et des contrats miniers en Afrique qui implique des acteurs très divers (gouvernements, institutions multilatérales de financement, organismes de développement tels que la Commission économique pour l’Afrique, compagnies minières, ONG, etc.). Dans le cadre d’une réflexion concernant les enjeux de régulation et de légitimité des activités dans le secteur minier de manière plus globale, le moment semble propice pour faire un bref état des lieux de ce mouvement de révision.

La présentation sera organisée en trois temps. Dans un premier temps, en se référant brièvement aux différentes générations de régimes miniers antérieurs, la présentation fera un rapide bilan des retombées pour le développement de la mise en valeur des ressources minières dans une série de pays africains. Pour ce faire, l’analyse reprendra les grands domaines proposés par la CNUCED pour mener une telle évaluation : les recettes retenues par le pays; la création d’emplois; la création d’échanges et de liens inter sectoriaux; la contribution à la diversification industrielle; les impacts environnementaux et sociaux.

Dans un deuxième temps, la présentation fera référence rapidement au processus de révision en cours en abordant pourquoi il se déroule à ce moment et en mentionnant quelques organismes qui sont impliqués dans ce processus.

Enfin, dans un dernier temps, la conférence amènera un certain nombre de considérations concernant les résultats pour le développement des réformes antérieures qui se sont avérés parfois décevants, en faisant brièvement référence aux débats que soulèvent les explications de ces résultats et en proposant une série de pistes de réflexion qui pourraient contribuer à une meilleure mise en valeur pour le développement des ressources minières en Afrique.



Environmental Policy & Petro-Polities: Regulation Trends in Oil-Dependent Canada & the U.S.

Angela V. Carter, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies Program, Grenfell College, Memorial University; Doctoral candidate, Government Department, Cornell University


This paper offers a preliminary analysis of environmental policy trends surrounding oil developments in four oil-dependent governments in Canada and the U.S.: Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alaska and Wyoming.  It then attempts to account for these trends by examining the political structures created by oil dependence.  I argue these structures have resulted in an institutionalized development bias which forwards rapid, extensive oil development and constrains environmental protection.  Section I provides a brief background on the cases in terms of their fiscal dependence on oil and current environmental impacts. Section II analyzes the environmental regulation trends restraining or impeding a response to these impacts.  Section III then offers an explanation for these trends by elaborating on the dominant “petro-political” system in each. The paper concludes with a brief consideration of potential sources for change in the current regulatory system.







Panel 4A: Critical & Comparative Studies of Indigenous/Community Protest & Consultation
Friday, March 6, 2009, 2:00-3:45



The Criminalization of Protest

Mirtha Vasquez, Executive Director, GRUFIDES, Training & Intervention Group for Sustainable Development, Peru


La Criminalización de la Protesta Social es una estrategia que han venido aplicando gobiernos electos democráticamente como mecanismo de represión que detenga la movilización social.  Se caracteriza por judicializar el conflicto social.    En Perú este mecanismo tiene antecedentes desde gobiernos civiles como el de Belaunde, se profundizó en el  de  Fujimori y ahora se vuelve totalmente explicito con el gobierno de  Alan Garcí­a quien desde julio de 2007 ha emitido una serie de decretos legislativos que sobre penalizan la protesta social estableciendo penas de hasta 25 años de cárcel (más tiempo de carcelería que un homicida) , permiten la militarización de los conflictos, declaran la inimputabilidad de policí­as y/o militares que disparen contra ciudadanos, restringen el derecho a las autoridades a participar de huelgas bajo apercibimiento de inhabilitarlos en sus cargos, califican a las protestas como delito de "extorsión".

En este momento hay una ola de juicios y persecuciones legales sobre todo contra campesinos y lí­deres ambientales que protestan por las industrias mineras que favorecidas por el gobierno entran sobre sus territorios y provocan una serie de impactos.  Hay muchos de ellos que están siendo encarcelados en prisiones de máxima seguridad.



Power, Rights & Interests—Lessons from the Mesa de Diálogo y Consenso CAO-Cajamarca, Peru

Susan T. Wildau, Maria Chappuis, David Atkins, Meg Taylor, CDR Associates


Power, rights and interests are three social responses that shape relations of affected people and their advocates with governments and corporations as well as influence regulations. But which response results in more positive development impacts for affected communities? The story of the Mesa reveals important lessons about global/local encounters as it traces the challenges and opportunities key stakeholders faced when they came together to resolve conflicts regarding social and environmental impacts of the mine and improve development outcomes for local people.

Using the Mesa as a case study, this paper will examine broader lessons related to global/local encounters, including:

- How different social responses impact industry-community relations and shape socio-economic regulation

- Forms of social mobilization and their effectiveness in improving conditions of affected communities

- Issues of representation and legitimacy

- Ethical/political dilemmas raised by transnational advocacy efforts




The Perils of Participation: Environmental Impact Assessment in a Peruvian Mining Project

Fabiana Li , Doctoral candidate, University of California at Davis


The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a mechanism of environmental governance that promises to increase public participation, enforce environmental standards, and ensure corporate accountability in mining projects. This paper focuses on the EIA for a project to expand Peru’s largest gold mine, Yanacocha. I followed this document—thousands of pages of ecological and socioeconomic data—as it traveled from information sessions, to public hearings and protests. The questions that I examine are the following: First, how does an EIA define risks and establish their manageability? Second, if an EIA is an attempt to produce transparency by making a corporation’s practices visible to the public, what does this visibility conceal? Finally, how does the participatory process of making the EIA open up the document to public scrutiny while at the same time making contestation virtually futile? As companies incorporate “environmentalism,” “transparency” and “participatory democracy” into their public relation strategies, activists must find new forms of political action that resort to non-participation and a refusal to be informed. People are discovering that the only way to express defiance is to step outside the document.



El diálogo minero en el Ecuador: nuevas señales de una nueva relación entre comunidades y empresas extractivas? (Mining Dialogue in Ecuador: Signs of a New Relation Between Communities & Extractive Industries?)

Paúl Cisneros, Doctoral candidate, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales / Observatorio Socioambiental, Quito, Ecuador


La minería en Zamora Chinchipe y Morona Santiago se ha desarrollado dentro de un marco en el cual los actores locales han sido capaces de asegurar un involucramiento permanente tanto propio como del Estado en el control de la actividad. Al menos para el caso del Estado, este nivel el involucramiento activo no es común, pero el potencial de la minería para generar rentas parece facilitar su participación activa en el manejo de conflictos en las áreas mineras. ¿Qué tipo de alianzas han permitido a los indígenas y no indígenas de esta zona lograr este involucramiento continuo? ¿Qué estrategias han utilizado para mantener el intercambio de opiniones divergentes sobe la forma de manejar la minería en la zona para poder relacionarse fuera de un conflicto radicalizado? La ponencia discutirá estas estrategias desde la literatura que problematiza la formación de sistemas de gobernanza locales con conexiones globales en un entorno de recuperación del papel controlador y supervisor del Estado y en un contexto en el cual el principio de responsabilidad empresarial empieza a ser aceptado como una opción para relacionar a las poblaciones locales y las empresas extractivas.




Panel 4B: Critical & Comparative Studies of Indigenous/Community Consultation
Friday, March 6, 2009, 2:00-3:45


Listen to an audio recording of this panel here

Watch the session in streaming video


Indigenous Participation in Multi-Party Dialogues on Extractives: What lessons can Canada & others share?

Viviane Weitzner, Senior Researcher, The North-South Institute, Ottawa


Just over 10 years ago, representatives from Canadian industry, government, environmental groups, labour unions and Aboriginal organizations came together in a precedent-setting, 18-month national dialogue to seek consensus on how best to make mining in Canada contribute to sustainable development. This process – known as the Whitehorse Mining Initiative (WMI) – is often hailed as a blueprint for others to follow. But while Canadian government officials and others promote the WMI model internationally, there is need for critical assessment of this process and its replications, particularly with regards to the participation of Indigenous Peoples. This paper presents such a critical analysis of the WMI and subsequent dialogues in Canada and overseas, drawing out implications for Indigenous organizations seeking to undertake Indigenous-driven tri-partite policy dialogue. Tensions around national level dialogue and local level negotiation are explored, drawing on cases from Suriname, Guyana and Canada.



The Law in the Making and Unmaking of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Struggle for the Right to Say No

Rachel Ariss, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Lakehead University, & David Peerla, Advisor to Deputy Grand Chief, Nishnawbe Aski


In February 2006, junior mining company Platinex sued the remote fly in community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug for $10 billion in damages and immediate access to their territory for an exploratory drilling program. Legal events since then include: a finding that KI would suffer irreparable harm through mining exploration; an order to facilitate exploration; KI's dismissal of legal counsel due to the expense of 'justice'; and sentencing the KI leadership – Chief Donny Morris, Deputy Chief Jack MacKay, Sam McKay, Cecilia Begg, Darryl Sainnawap and Bruce Sakakeep, known as the KI6 - to six months in jail for contempt of a court order that provided for Platinex to begin drilling immediately. Finally, in May 2008, the Ontario Court of Appeal allowed the KI's appeal of sentence, and released its leadership with time served. This lawsuit has had complex legal and social ramifications for aboriginal communities and organizations, the mining industry and the Ontario government. KI's struggle eventually caught the attention of environmental groups, activists, the public and the national media. What can be learned about law, social mobilization, change and aboriginal rights from the experience of the KI community? Our research travels with the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug as they test the limits of the law as a weapon in their battle for the right to say no to mining exploration on their territory - a fight that is far from over.


Consultation Smokescreen - Colonialism in Disguise

Robert Lovelace, Adjunct Professor, Global Development Studies, Queen`s University; Professor, Eco-Systems Management, Sir Sandford Fleming College; Chief Negotiator, Ardoch Algonquin First Nation

Democracy has failed both indigenous people and those who would form responsible relationships with their home environments. In the face of “resource development”, the institutions that people rely upon most for justice and reason have devalued the conscience of protectors of the land in favour of profit for corporations and revenue for government. Canadian Law and jurisprudence have laid clear expectations upon the Crown in regard to its obligation to consult and accommodate Aboriginal Communities when development on ancestral lands is anticipated. Canada and the Provinces have developed strategies of denial, ignorance and outright manipulation to avoid these obligations. When they do engage in consultation, governments use the process to reinforce colonial power differentials that further imbed Aboriginal people in poverty and powerlessness.

When democracy fails, the hope of advancing the values of a better tomorrow dies. In a world of exponential environmental destruction and the assassination of indigenous knowledge that is the foundation of Naturalized Science this defeat of human spirit is criminal. No government today that holds the values of colonialism above the welfare of humanity and the integrity of the land is fit to govern. When democracy fails, it is time to restore it. The frontline is between the land and the tools of its destruction.






Panel 5A: Science, Environmental Assessment & Accountability

Friday, March 6, 2009, 7:00-8:45



Science for indigenous activism: maps against oil companies impacts

Martí Orta, Doctoral candidate, Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


The geographer J. Brian Harley wrote that maps, as much as guns and warships, have been the weapons of imperialism. Maps were used to legitimise the throes of conquest and empire. Cartography has been used over the centuries as a tool by the powerful to carve out empires and maintain control over them; used by governments and elites to stake claim to valuable land and resources (Harley, 1988). Since 1960’, ethno-cartography has allowed indigenous peoples to create their own maps and use them to defend their lands thanks to traditional land use and occupancy mapping (Chapin, 2005): maps for territorial rights, culture reinforce, empowerment, and conservation biology has been developed along the last decades. There also exist some attempts to use this methodology to protect indigenous rights from the advance of commodity frontiers (logging and mining; mostly informal, manual, illegal, small-budget and national activities).

In this paper, ethno-cartography is explored as a tool for indigenous communities to defend their rights against oil industry impacts and to restructure industry-community relations. In a join project with the Achuar people and their indigenous federation (FECONACO), ethno-cartography has been applied for participatory indigenous monitoring of oil impacts in their territory. From the experience of the Achuar people in the Peruvian Amazon, who´s territory and health (Orta, 2007) has been severely affected by oil exploration and production since 1969, we establish a methodological protocol for this tool and evaluate its main results and outcomes as a form of social mobilization.



Access to Data & Government Management of the Canadian Offshore Petroleum Industry

Gail Fraser, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University


We conducted a “public environmental audit” of the government management of the offshore industry to assess successes, or failures, of management of the offshore industry currently in production in Canada. Specifically, we developed questions to examine both the accuracy of certain Environmental Assessment predictions and whether operators were meeting current Offshore Waste Treatment Guidelines. Five requests for datasets were placed using the Access to Information Act; all five requests were denied by the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. This lack of access to environmental monitoring data significantly affects the ability of independent scientific inquiry or public involvement in the environmental assessment process.



Monitoring Extraction in Andean Peru: A Participatory Process

Matthew Himley, Doctoral candidate, Department of Geography, Syracuse University


With mining-related conflicts in Andean Peru frequently revolving around the local environmental risks and impacts of extraction, participatory environmental monitoring committees have emerged as attempts to involve affected communities in mining governance.  This paper examines one such committee, the Jangas Environmental Committee, which was formed in 2003 in response to concerns expressed by members of local farming communities regarding the ecological impacts of Barrick’s Pierina Project, a large-scale gold mine in the department of Ancash.  In analyzing the history and operation of this committee, I identify a gap between a) the formal science-based methods and metrics employed by the committee to evaluate environmental quality around Pierina and b) the manner in which community members assess, represent, and account for the ecological impacts of mining.  I argue that by not bridging this methodological/epistemological gap, the committee has neither assuaged community members’ concerns nor successfully addressed their alienation from decision-making processes.








Panel 5B: Transnational Lawsuits

Friday, March 6, 2009, 7:00-8:45



Courting Difference: The adjudication of indigenous claims

Stuart Kirsch, Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Michigan


Indigenous peoples have increasingly turned to the Courts to fight for land rights and recognition, and to seek recompense for dispossession and environmental damage. Anthropologists have described how legal understandings of kinship and land rights are constrained by outdated anthropological paradigms and liberal notions of morality. One anthropologist characterized such proceedings as the final imposition of colonial hegemony because it forced indigenous peoples to seek justice through the discourses and institutions of their oppressors. Yet lawyers and legal scholars view legal proceedings as open-ended and receptive to new ideas. Drawing on the author?s extensive experiences as an engaged anthropologist, this paper will examine how indigenous ideas about responsibility for land, rights of access to subsistence resources, conceptions of loss, and notions of freedom have been introduced into these legal proceedings as a means of conveying indigenous understandings of their experiences and claims for justice and compensation. The problems caused by extractive industry are a key site for these conflicts.



Law, Science & Risk in an Ecuadorian Class Action Against the Chevron Corporation

Suzana Sawyer, Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Calfornia, Davis


This paper explores the relationship between law, science, and risk in a transnational lawsuit against the Chevron Corp. for environmental contamination in Ecuador between 1964-1992. It examines how the framing of questions, admission of evidence, and production of knowledge around what counts as contamination shapes how risk is distributed transnationally. Litigated under the civil law tradition in which proceedings take place through a written record (not jury trial), the lawsuit against Chevron is the first class-action environmental lawsuit to take place in Ecuador. As such, it represents the recent adoption and adaptation by a Third World nation of a US-born legal measure—"the class action"—with all its attendant capacities and failures to ameliorate the underside of a global economic system marked by risk-taking. Through a reading of the court documents, I present preliminary analysis of the contours of debates over the admissibility of evidence, the substantive claims of expert testimony, and the understandings of the role of the judiciary.



Transnational Tort as a Means to Corporate Accountability

Cory Wanless, Student-at-law, Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors


The most problematic aspect of Canadian mining abroad is its tendency to impose negative externalities on communities located near mines.  Potential solutions to this problem include internalizing these costs through effective regulation- regulation that could be provided through transnational litigation in Canadian courts.  This can be achieved in one of two ways.  First, I argue that tort suits can be made directly against mining companies for harms created, and that these claims can effectively be regulated using conflicts of laws.  I further argue that while Canadian conflicts of laws is underdeveloped and requires some modification, there is space within the current doctrines of forum non conveniens and choice of law to locate and protect the interests of local communities.  Second, I argue that regulation of the financing of global mining is possible by bringing regular negligence suits against the enablers of global mining—namely banks and stock markets—for harms that result from their actions. Advocates, however, should be aware that many of the same economic, political and legal structures that have helped to create the problem also act as barriers to accountability through transnational litigation, making it a problem that is particularly difficult to fix.






Panel 6A: Critical & Comparative Studies of Social Movements

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 9:00-10:45


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Localizing the Transnational: Scaled Civil Society responses to Extractive Industry in South America

Anthony Bebbington, Professor, Nature, Society and Development, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester; ESRC Professorial Fellow; Research Associate, Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales, Peru


While conflicts around mining investment occur across international terrain, the arguments and legitimacy of most actors involved – civil society, state and company alike - hinge around the local consequences and experiences of this investment.  For civil society actors, one of the greatest challenges is to craft arguments that work across different scales of advocacy while retaining their relevance (and accuracy) with respect to the local.  Crafting these arguments requires negotiation among civil society actors with quite different sources and types of power, leaving great potential for tension and conflict.  This paper explores relationships among civil society actors operating at different scales in several mining conflicts in South America, especially the Andes.  It focuses particularly on the ways in which alternative discourses on the relationships between mining, development and democracy are crafted in these processes, and the degree to which these discourses remain effective across different scales in these conflicts over extraction.



Comparing Mining Resistance in Africa & Latin America

Keith Slack, Extractive Industries Program Manager, Oxfam US


Mining-focused social movements have sprung up in both Latin America and Africa since neoliberal mining investment began to ramp in both regions in the early 1990s. While these movements share some common concerns and approaches, they also differ significantly in their structures, tactics and effectiveness in challenging the power and influence of the mining industry. This paper will compare and contrast the movements in the two regions, including the historical, cultural, geographic, and economic explanations for the differences between the two. It will also analyze the key challenges that both face in effectively counterbalancing the dominance of the global mining industry, and suggest ways that their respective experiences might be used for mutual reinforcement.   The paper will draw on Oxfam America’s recent experience supporting mining movements in both regions.



Oil Extraction, Dispossession, Resistance & Conflict in Nigeria’s Oil Rich Niger Delta

Cyril Obi, Coordinator, Post-Conflict Transition, the State and Civil Society in Africa research programme at the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) in Uppsala, Sweden; Associate research professor, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos


This paper critically examines the relationship between the escalating violence involving local militia protesting the exploitation of the oil resources in Nigeria’s oil-rich, but impoverished Niger Delta. At the heart of the growing insurgency is the contestation of the control of oil resources by hegemonic extractive interests: state and Oil Multinationals, by the forces of local resistance embedded in the histories and struggles in the ethnic-minority Niger Delta. The paper also explores the insurgency in the Niger Delta in the light of the post-9/11 energy security calculations of the United States, Europe and the Emerging Powers competing for access to Africa’s oil. This scenario raises new questions about local and transnational dynamics that reproduce the politics of dispossession in ‘petrolized’ contexts, and the possibilities for change in favour of the long-suffering people of the region.









Panel 6B: Critical & Comparative Studies of Social Movements – The Challenges of Building North-South Networks

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 9:00-10:45


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Solidarity for Communities Resisting Canadian Mining Companies: Cases from Mexico & the Philippines

Rusa Jeremic, Global Economic Justice Program Coordinator for KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Canada


Following the partnership of a Canadian NGO (Kairos Canada) with mining affected communities in the Philippines and Mexico, the paper will explore the evolution of resistance, strategies and joint work in the pursuit of Canadian binding legislation for companies working abroad in the extractive sector.

This joint solidarity has followed an interesting track: at the micro-level of supporting the specific community struggles of the FAO in Mexico and the Subanon peoples in Philippines, the national level of supporting the call binding legislation for Canadian corporations operating abroad and the global level to counter the negative effects of globalization as witnessed through free trade and support the positive developments at the United Nations while encouraging south-south connections. 

The paper will examine specific strategies and actions and examine then in light of successes and challenges.  In conclusion the paper will offer recommendations for ways forward in building a successful global movement.



The Case of Metallica Resources in Cerro San Pedro, Mexico: Implications for Mexican Tribunals, Canadian legislation & the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of NAFTA

Ana Maria Alvarado, Member, Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO), Nucleo Agrario Cerro de San Pedro, Mexico


En mi presentación voy a describir como la extracción de recursos naturales, principalmente minerales, a partir del descubrimiento de América,ha dado pauta a los grandes movimientos sociales e históricos en mi país: la conquista, la Independencia y la Revolución Mexicana de 1910 fueron el resultado de la ambición por la riqueza del subsuelo mexicano. En la actualidad  y a partir del TLCAN la extracción de recursos sigue marcando  nuestras vidas y nuestra história, los grandes conflictos en Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca y San Luis Potosí (especificamente con la Minera San Xavier), son la mas clara muestra de resistencia del  pueblo mexicano a someternos a otra conquista. Trataré como es la situación actual de la industria minera en México vista desde el Gobierno y la realidad que vive el obrero-minero. Cifras oficiales y estadisticas de la Secretaría de Economía y el tema de la inversión extranjera (principalmente canadiense).  Tambien trataré del caso de la Minera San Xavier en Cerro de San Pedro: antecedentes, los impactos ecológicos, sociales y culturales, las violaciones a las Leyes ambientales y a los Derechos Humanos, corrupción e impunidad de parte de las autoridades de los tres niveles de Gobierno, y como ha sido la resistencia a nivel local, nacional e internacional. Tambien trataré de describir a grandes rasgos como el caso MSX en CSP se ha posicionado a nivel nacional como un puntero en el movimiento antiminero de México. Asi como la trascendencia internacional que ha tenido la lucha del FAO (Frente amplio opositor a Minera San Xavier) y sus alianzas con toda América Latina. Actualmente somos parte de la Alianza centroamericana, México y Panamá contra la minería metálica, del OCMAL Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina, y de la Red Latinoamericana de mujeres en defensa de los derechos sociales y medio ambientales en resistencia a la minería.   Trataré de hacer una descripción de como estamos viviendo en Cerro de San Pedro (practicamente a 70 metros del tajo de la mina) y ante un proyecto que esta siendo llevado a cabo de manera ilegal, y como es nuestra resistencia aun  dentro del área de influencia del proyecto.




Building the Teck-Cominco Network

Jorge Alfonso Flores Navea & Rene Larrain, President & Vice-President, Workers' Trade Union, Quebrada Blanca Mining Company, Iquique, Chile, & Richard Boyce, President, United Steelworkers (USW) 7619, (Teck) Highland Valley Mining Company; Judith Marshall and Laura Ramirez, Department of Global Affairs and Workplace Issues, USW


The United Steelworkers embarked on building global networks of unions with a common transnational employer in the mid-1990s. The Teck workers links were among the earlier. The panel will start with a skit to depict the challenges of working across languages, cultures, time zones and technologies, followed by an input from each panel member on particular challenges in our ongoing work. These challenges will include communications, joint campaigns, finances, networks and north-south stereotypes.








Panel 7A: Searching for Sustainable and Socially Responsible Practices: Good Governance & Corporate Social Responsibility in Theory & Practice

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 11:00-12:45



Mining, Human Rights & the work of John Ruggie, special advisor to the UN Secretary General

Wesley Cragg, Professor Emertius; Director, Business Ethics Program, Schulich School of Business

Extractive industries in general and mining in particular have been identified by John Ruggie as particularly prone to human rights abuses. There are many reasons for this. However, one of the more important lies in the fact that companies engaged in resource extraction have to go to where the resources are to be found and this turns out often to be in parts of the developing or under developed parts of the world where human rights are not vigorously protected by the state or where the state itself is an active human rights abuser. In his most recent third report to the UN Human Rights Council, John Ruggie attributes the fact of human rights protection particularly in the developing and under developed world to what he describes as governance gaps and sets out a framework which he argues would if widely adopted go a long way to filling those gaps. In my contribution to the panel, I will test his proposed framework against experience in the mining industry. I propose to argue that the framework does not have the strengths that have been widely attributed to it by business, government and NGO commentators because of its failure to determine whether corporations like mining companies have explicit morally grounded human rights obligations that go beyond their widely recognized obligation to obey the law, in this case human rights law and to protect the interests of their shareholders by respecting human rights where failure to do so might generate significant financial risks to shareholder investments.



Perspectives on Best Practices of Sustainable Corporate Responsibility

Uwem Ite, Team Lead, Information, Education and Communication & Capacity Building, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited


The corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and programmes that companies pursue depend to a very large extent, on how the corporations define CSR and the relative importance they attach to it. There are therefore multiple interpretations of CSR, as each organisation faces different stakeholders with different expectations and priorities. However, one key issue is companies looking at CSR and sustainability as core part of business. For many businesses, the challenge is simply the political will to look at their impact through the prism of social, economic and environmental sustainability. The political and social situation in a country also influences what is expected from companies with regards to CSR. For example, black empowerment and contributing to the fight against AIDS are central themes in South Africa. In the United States, CSR is often associated with charity (or corporate philanthropy), while, in the Netherlands, it is seen as activities that transcend legislation. In Brazil, CSR is particularly associated with social commitment to reduce social inequality and companies are expected to contribute to reduce the social needs. In other words, each country gives its own meaning to CSR, depending on the urgency of certain social problems and the specific political and socio-cultural context. It is therefore important for companies to know this before they invest or enter into any business relationships in that particular country. This paper highlights the key drivers of CSR and the benefits that companies derive from CSR practices. It also examines the key components of sustainable CSR best practices and presents case studies of best practices from four global companies. The conclusions drawn are applicable to sustainable development in developing countries.



The Nacional Roundatables on Corporate Social Responsibility & the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries: Enhanced Accountability?

Karyn Keenan, Program Officer, Halifax Initiative


In 2005, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT) issued a ground-breaking report on Canadian mining operations in developing countries.  SCFAIT members called for significant policy and law reforms in Canada aimed at enhancing corporate accountability.  The following year, the federal government held a cross-country consultation process that involved both the Canadian public and international experts.  The process concluded with the release of a report that was prepared by a multi-stakeholder Advisory Group.  Report recommendations were endorsed by all members of the Advisory Group, including representatives from industry, labour, civil society and academia. Among other mechanisms, the report calls for the adoption of a policy framework aimed at improving the environmental, social and human rights performance of Canadian extractive companies that operate in developing countries. This paper will describe and critically assess the accountability measures recommended by the Advisory Group. The author served as a civil society representative on the Advisory Group.



Corporate Social Responsibility reporting, resource conflict, and the concept of ‘materiality’ in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands

John Burton, Fellow, Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University


Resource industry companies use Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports to tell the public that they operate in a socially responsible manner and that they are fostering sustainable forms of development in the communities around their operations. In the Asia-Pacific region, where project communities are typically remote living Indigenous peoples, CSR reports have historically carried accounts of local employment initiatives, assistance to entrepreneurs in the community, and philanthropic contributions to public assets like roads and bridges.

But disputation over access to resource rental incomes and endowment funds at some projects in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands has pushed aside poor infrastructure and lack of human capacity as the most serious barrier to development. The weakness of governmental fiscal systems has long been known to place the public share of resource incomes at risk, while questions over the monies handled by community associations have been difficult to investigate because of poor accounting practices. But over the last decade, an intensification of political rivalries, fuelled by resource incomes, has seen a rise in arms trafficking and the escalation of minor grievances into unprosecuted assassinations and broader conflicts which are beyond the means of law enforcement agencies to contain. In some instances, conflicts look certain to consume the bulk of non-employment income through fraud, the destruction of life and property, litigation, and homicide compensation demands.

The paper will look at questions surrounding these issues. When CSR frameworks provide advice on conflict, like the UN Global Compact Global Compact Business Guide for Conflict Impact Assessment and Risk Management, is it useful in dealing with traditional conflict? Some resource companies with interests in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, like Barrick Gold, have signed up to an elaborate list of CSR compacts, while others, like Oil Search, appear not to have signed any at all. Is there a difference between the signers and non-signers in their discussion of community disputes or conflicts in annual reports? How has each group dealt with the concept of materiality, defined (by the GRI) as the reporting of ‘topics and Indicators that reflect the organization’s significant economic, environmental, and social impacts, or that would substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders’?

The paper will conclude by looking at the outlook for the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea, an oil-producer for 15 years with a dismal record in governance and development, and where Exxon Mobil and its partners will make a decision in 2009 on whether to invest US$10bn in a new LNG project.








Panel 7B:Searching for Sustainable and Socially Responsible Practices: Good Governance & Corporate Social Responsibility in Theory & Practice

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 11:00-12:45


Canadian & Australian Approaches to Sustainable & Socially Responsible Mining in South America: Illustrations from Chile

Kernaghan Webb & Gregory Klages, Founding Director / Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility, Ted Rogers School of Management Ryerson University


Many of the world's largest mining companies are headquartered in either Canada or Australia. The way governmental, private sector, and non-governmental organizations in these two countries have responded to the sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) challenges of their non-domestic mining operations are quite distinctive, however. For example, the Canadian federal government is considering its response to a tri-partite roundtable process that has no analogue in Australia.  Industry-based approaches to sustainability/CSR challenges facing mining companies operating abroad differ in important respects.  An Australian NGO has established a mining ombudsman to assist communities affected by Australian mining operations. No Canadian NGOs have engaged with the mining sector in this fashion.  This paper will survey the spectrum of governmental, private sector, and NGO responses to sustainability challenges in mining abroad, explore the reasons for similarities and differences, and assess which types of responses seem to be generating support and compliance.


Mining Good Governance: Perspectives and Issues

André Bourassa, Natural Resources Canada


The theme of my presentation is mining sector good governance, which is primarily the responsibility of governments, but other players also have a role to play. I will porvide a quick survey of experiences to identify cases where mining development seems to have worked, and where it has not in terms of contribution to sustainable development. There is a growing consensus that capacity for good governance is what explains the difference. I will then define good governance, identify the challenges that developing countries face in that respect, and share my views on the roles of civil society, industry and governments in providing the capacity a society needs to develop and implement policies and strategies that can maximize the generation and the equitable distribution of benefits from mining investments. I will also introduce the Intergovernmental Forum, for which I act as Secretariat, explaining what it is and what it contributes to building capacity for good governance.



Uwem Ite (Shell  Nigeria)Mining, Sustainability & the Economic Imaginary: Canadian Multinationals in Latin America & the Political-Economic Limits of CSR Discourse

Nicole Lindsay School of Communication, Simon Fraser University


With mineral prices steadily increasing and newly-signed bilateral free trade agreements with both Peru and Columbia, Canada’s long term interest in Latin American mineral extraction shows no sign of abating. However, debate about the potential benefits and drawbacks of Canadian mining involvement in Latin America is often highly polarized. On the one hand, government and industry proponents of mining argue that, if companies adhere to host country regulations and are guided by voluntary principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR), they can contribute to sustainable development. On the other hand, given the historic legacy of mining in Latin America, many critics are highly suspicious of such claims and demand more stringent application of mandatory regulation and accountability mechanisms.

We argue that this polarized debate can be understood as one based on competing economic imaginaries within a context of systemic material inequality and power imbalances. Drawing from British sociologist Bob Jessop’s (2007, 2004, 2001) writing on cultural political economy, we ground the debates over and competing visions of sustainable development and CSR in the mining industry’s contemporary political economic context. In doing so, we hope to identify the opportunities and limitations represented in recent challenges to business as usual in the Canada-Latin American mining industry, asking both “what has changed?” and “what needs to change?” in order to balance the benefits and harms of an industry that might best be characterized as a necessary evil in today’s global economy.

Title to be confirmed (Shell’s Social License to Operate in the Niger Delt






Panel 8A: Critical & Comparative Studies of Social Movements & Civil Society Interventions

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 2:00-3:45


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Gendered Encounters with Extractive Industries: The Curse of Nakedness Against the Curse of Oil

Terisa Turner, International Oil Group, United Nations; Sociology & Anthropology, University of Guelph


The silence surrounding women’s engagement in social mobilizations against fossil fuel extraction is surprising, given their demonstrated capacities to halt the production of oil and the production of labour power. This paper compares gender relations in seven mobilizations (in Iran, Iraq, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Canada and Nigeria). This wide range of studies reveals patterns of gendered, ethnicized class relations. Prominent among these are: (1) gendered alliances and (2) ‘male deals’ that operate through ‘commercial triangles.’ These persistent patterns suggest an analytical framework - ‘the fight for fertility’ - valuable for understanding gender relations in industrial resource extraction. This framing is useful in that (a) it reveals differences in women’s and men’s interests and sources of power;(2) it deepens analyses of the socio-ecological impacts of the operations of extractive industries; and (3) it indicates that impact assessments, in order to be adequate, must embrace all factors affecting fertility, understood as the human and ecological capacities to bring forth and sustain life.




Regional Advocacy Networks and Social Action in the Oil and Gas Host Communities of the Gulf of Guinea

Asume Osuoka, Doctoral candidate, FES, York University & Social Action Nigeria, Gulf of Guinea Citizens Network


Civil society networks have emerged at the regional and national levels in sub-Saharan Africa that facilitate the interaction of members in addressing policy issues and defending the rights of communities hosting extractive industries. More prominent among the networks are Oilwatch Africa and the Africa Initiative on Mining, Environment and Sustainability (AIMES). Members include NGOs and CBOs from the countries of the region working to influence the character of extractives projects and the enabling national and multilateral level policies and legislations. Part of their strategy has been the projection of community voices. This presentation is based on the examination of my work with these networks in addressing the community concerns about two trans-boundary oil and gas projects in the Gulf of Guinea - the Chad-Cameroon Oil Development and Pipeline and the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP). I also examine the advocacy efforts to include community concerns into the Extractive Industries Review (EIR) of the World Bank Group. While highlighting the successes of these ‘campaigns’, I expose some of the limitations of the networks and constraints of communities trying to go beyond agitation to seeking representation within government and other state and multilateral institutions of power. My conclusion is that other levels of social mobilisation are needed to secure ‘resource control’ and restore sovereignty to the people.




The Curse of Oil: Conflict, Criminality & Underdevelopment in the Níger Delta

Ben Naanen, Professorial Candidate, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria


Nigeria’s oil, of which the country is the world’s eighth largest exporter, is produced mainly in the Niger Delta. Paradoxically, the Niger Delta remains desperately poor and its environment badly degraded despite huge oil revenues that have accrued to the country. Corruption has been substantially blamed for the poor development outcome of oil in the country. Nigeria clearly demonstrates all the negative characteristics of the petro-economy. Oil is generating intense conflict in the Niger Delta even as the country’s politics is being defined by elite-inspired violent struggle over the control of oil revenues and the oil producing communities rise up in resistance against their exclusion from the benefits of the oil economy. The current phase of resistance, which marks a watershed in the struggle for resource control by oil-producing communities in Nigeria, started among the indigenous Ogoni people where Shell was forced to suspend its operation in the 1990s.

While the Niger Delta resistance is led by change-seeking groups rooted in ethnic ideologies as they advocate varying measures of resource control, the anomic social space has in recent years been captured by a violent criminal fringe which has carved a highly lucrative niche for itself in hostage-taking for ransom and in oil bunkering (oil theft). Nigeria currently loses an estimated 70, 000 to 100,000 barrels of oil per day to oil thieves.

The paper examines this convergence of huge hydrocarbon resources, corruption, conflict, criminality and underdevelopment in the Niger Delta. It also discuses the current scramble for Ogoni oil and gas by international oil companies – including Russia’s Gazprom - wanting to replace Shell, whose operating license in Ogoni was revoked in June by the Nigerian government in response to popular resistance. The scramble is located within the context of the current scramble for Sub-Saharan Africa’s natural resources by the West and the emergent Asian economic powers led by China and India.








Panel 8B: Critical & Comparative Studies of Social Movements

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 2:00-3:45


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Los retos actuales del movimiento social vinculado a la lucha por los derechos de las comunidades frente a las industrias extractivas: el caso Peruano (Current Challenges Facing the Social Movement Struggling for the Rights of Communities in Relation to Extractive Industries: the Peruvian Case.)

José De Echave, Doctor in Economics; Director, Programa de Minería y Comunidades de CooperAccion del Perú


El crecimiento minero en Perú no tiene antecedentes en la historia económica de los últimos 40 años. En este escenario, el principal conflicto que ha enfrentado la minería ha sido con las poblaciones vecinas. Las graves tensiones sociales cuestionaron no solo el tipo de crecimiento, sino las estrategias en curso empleadas por los distintos actores.

Transcurridos quince años de instalado este escenario, los informes regulares de fuentes oficiales, nos recuerdan que la mayoría de conflictos sociales en el Perú tienen su origen en problemas ambientales y dentro de ellos los mineros representan la mayoría. En este contexto, la revisión de lo ocurrido en todos estos años, los hitos organizativos, el contexto social, la relación entre los actores y los diferentes grupos de interés, no solamente permitirá realizar un balance, sino también identificar cuales son los nuevos desafíos en un escenario donde la presión de expansión de la industria minera permanece.



Experiencia e incidencia politica de la acd ante los impactos sociales y ambientales de la mineria en Honduras. (The Experience & Political Impact of ACD Given the Social & Environmental Impacts of Mining in Honduras)

Purificación Hernández, Técnico Minería, ASONOG (Asociación de Organismos No Gubernamentales), Honduras


Con enormes características de pobreza, Centroamérica cuenta con una población de 35 millones de personas y la parte mexicana, comprendida en el proyecto, con 28 millones, las cuales padecen altos niveles de desempleo, insalubridad y están ávidas de hallar algún empleo para tratar de ayudar a sus familias. Las facilidades que otorga la actual Ley de Minería, ha propiciado una proliferación de concesiones mineras utilizando la modalidad a Cielo Abierto y uso de Cianuro, la cual es una forma brutal de destrucción del medio ambiente y violación de los derechos esenciales de la vida de las personas; esta se ve incrementada debido a la debilidad del Estado a establecer controles adecuados y confiables con personal calificado y con presencia permanente en las diferentes áreas de explotación minera.

En Honduras La industria minera aporta solamente 1.66% del Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) y se ha comprobado que no ha generado desarrollo económico y social sostenible, ni tampoco ha propuesto alternativas de explotación sin destruir el ambiente, al contrario se presentan altos niveles de pobreza, perdida de tierras cultivables, perdida y/o contaminación de fuentes de agua, contaminación del aíre y beneficio económico para unos pocos privilegiados.

Hasta el año 2004, el numero de concesiones otorgadas en la mayoría de los departamentos del país ascendía a la cantidad de 372 (315 de exploración y 57 de explotación) sumando un total de 35.359 Kilómetros cuadrados que representa el 31% del territorio nacional, siendo los Departamentos mas afectados: Olancho (98) Francisco Morazán (42) El Paraíso (55) Santa Bárbara (75) y Choluteca (44).

En este contexto de aprovechamiento insostenible de los recursos minerales, con su consecuente degradación social y ambiental producido por las compañías mineras, nace en el occidente del País en Julio del 2006 el proyecto “ Alianza Cívica para la Democracia” (ACD) resultado en ese momento de la alianza estratégica de ASONOG y La Iglesia Católica, específicamente la Diócesis de Copan, de allí en adelante se comenzó a desarrollar actividades con el fin de contribuir al logro de la aprobación de una nueva Ley de Minería en el marco de las acciones emprendidas por ASONOG y la Alianza Cívica para la Democracia (ACD).




Communities opposing & banning mining activities in Argentina; Or, how to be heard when nobody wants to listen

Mariana Walter, Doctoral Candidate, Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambiental, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain


Since 2003, Argentina is experiencing an increasing number of environmental conflicts related to mining projects. The first mining conflict that started a public debate about gold mining activities and its impacts was in Esquel City (2002-2003). This experience encouraged other communities through the country to oppose this activity leading the organization of a national network of affected communities. This community movement obtained, in four years, the banning of gold mining activities in 6 (of 23) National Provinces, facing a pro-mining national regulation framework.

This paper analyses the role of the Argentinean centralized and excluding participation and decision making framework in the formation and exacerbation of these local conflicts. We discuss the need to develop inclusive participatory processes in the early stages of these projects that allow for the expression and articulation of the multiplicity of local values and perspectives. These new approaches should consider the time dimension of learning and participation mechanisms, as the relevance of trust and power distribution among stakeholders for successful processes.







Panel 9A: Searching for Sustainable and Socially Responsible Practices: Good Governance & Corporate Social Responsibility in Theory & Practice

Saturday, March 7, 2009, 4:00-5:45


Watch this session in streaming video


La producción y reproducción de la cuestión ambiental a través de las controversias socio-ambientales: el caso de los conflictos asociados a la industria minera en México (The Production & Reproduction of the Environmental Question Through Socio-Environmental Controversies: the Case of Conflicts Associated with the Mining Industry in Mexico)

Vicente Ugalde, Centro de Estudios Demograficos, Urbanos y Ambientales, El Colegio de México


La revisión de tres conflictos asociados a la contaminación originada por la industria minera pone en evidencia la utilidad social de este tipo de conflictos. Se trata de los casos de la minera rimsa en Chihuahua, de Peñoles en Coahuila y de San Xavier en San Luis Potosí. Esta participación a la conferencia se propone analizar la forma en la que estos conflictos socio-ambientales se convierten en un espacio dónde la “cuestión ambiental” es formulada por las partes en conflicto, es decir que adquiere una forma discursiva pero también cierta visibilidad. La revisión permite abordar la discusión de cómo esas visiones y formulaciones de la cuestión ambiental ante la industria minera evolucionan a lo largo de un conflicto y de cómo siendo objeto de una aprehensión jurídica, la cuestión ambiental es regulada por el Estado. Estos conflictos se presentan pues como una ocasión para discutir la producción y la reproducción de la problemática ambiental en el ámbito de la industria minera y el papel que en estos procesos desempeñan los actores involucrados: los poderes públicos, las industrias, las asociaciones y los expertos.



Conflictos mineros, responsabilidad social empresarial e institucionalidad ambiental en Peru (Mining Conflicts, Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental Institutionality in Peru)

Marco Arana Zegarra, Miembro Directivo de la RED MUQUI, Minería Propuesta y Acción de Perú


Perú atraviesa un ciclo de expansión de la minería caracterizado por el incremento de los conflictos sociales que van desde aquellos relacionados con la búsqueda de cambios en las condiciones institucionales y los marcos jurídicos regulatorios (ambientales, laborales, tributarios) hasta aquellos otros movimientos sociales de absoluta oposición y resistencia.

Por parte de las empresas, la respuesta a los conflictos ha sido implementar políticas de responsabilidad social, cuya mayor deficiencia es el debilitamiento del rol regulador del Estado y la instrumentalización de la RSE para viabilizar socialmente la realización de los proyectos mineros y no una apuesta efectiva por modelos de desarrollo decididos por las propias comunidades locales.

Aunque los conflictos sociales mineros suelen ser vistos como una amenaza para la expansión de las actividades mineras, lo cierto es que están contribuyendo al surgimiento de una nueva institucionalidad ambiental en el Perú y están expresando la necesidad de profundizar los procesos de participación democrática en el marco de la sostenibilidad del desarrollo entendido como un derecho social.



Curse or blessing? The sustainable development dilemma of the mining regions in Brazil

Maria Amélia R da S Enríquez, Economics Department, University Federal of Pará (UFPA) & University of Amazonia (UNAMA), Brazil


Is large-scale mining a curse or a blessing for the development of mining communities in Brazil?  What are the effects of mining royalties (CFEM)? The article examines the 15 largest Brazilian mining communities, besides four Canadian municipalities, seeking a comparative analysis, using environmental, economic, social and governance indicators. Results shows that the international markets pressure and the environmental regulation frameworks have contributed to the emergence of a more environmentally responsible mining. Mining is an important factor for economic growth and for human capital formation in the affected communities, but on its own mining does not solve automatically two serious challenges – jobs creation and equitable distribution of benefits. The CFEM is an important economic instrument for Brazilian mining municipalities, but its adequate use demands certain favorable institutional conditions that allow municipalities to escape the “single treasury trap” that leads to the impossibility of productive diversification and of inter-generational equity.




The Mining Sector and Local People in the Era of Decentralization in Indonesia

Arianto Sangadji, Visiting Fellow, Asian Institute, University of Toronto; former Director and co-founder, Yayasan Tanah Merdeka (Free Land Foundation), Indonesia

The mining sector in Indonesia has benefited from liberalization policies ever since the dictator Suharto came to power in the late 1960s. During the period of his government, transnational mining companies (TNCs) came into conflict with local people across the country because of land grabs. While people were marginalized from their subsistence agriculture activities, companies profited from the high prices on the international mineral market. Since the regime change in 1998, by which Indonesia entered a new era of 'reform' which shifts power to the regions through a decentralization project, the tension between mining firms and local people has increased significantly. This paper focuses on the increasing tension between mining companies and local people in Central Sulawesi province, the most unstable region in Indonesia, wracked by communal violence.







Panel 9B: Searching for Sustainable and Socially Responsible Practices: Good Governance & Corporate Social Responsibility in Theory & Practice


Saturday, March 7, 2009, 4:00-5:45


Watch this session in streaming video


Reports from the Front Stage of CSR: An Ethnographic Account of the 19th World Petroleum Congress

Romy Kraemer, Doctoral candidate, department of Business-Society Management, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, & Gail Whiteman, Rotterdam School of Management, The Netherlands


The world’s most costly and elaborate CSR programmes are being implemented by multinationals from the oil and gas sector. According to its website, the triennial World Petroleum Congress (WPC) is the “Olympics of the oil and gas industry” where national governments, private as well as national oil firms, and stakeholders from around the globe come together to “set out the way forward for the petroleum sector”. For businesses, the congress presents an excellent public relations exercise in terms of their corporate social responsibility display. This makes the congress a unique opportunity to compare a wide array of companies from different countries of origin and with varying ownership structures with respect to their stance towards corporate community involvement.

The present paper will critically report, assess, and discuss the newest developments and showcase projects of corporate social responsibility, focusing on firms’ engagement in indigenous communities, that are presented at this year’s WPC and contrast them with issues that are not being showcased. It further provides an ethnographic account of the embeddedness of community involvement in the proceedings of the entire congress and presents an overview of future directions for community involvement as presented by the various participants.



Thinking the Social: the Intellectual Roots of CSR in Guanajuato

Elizabeth Emma Ferry, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Brandeis University


Mining is booming in Latin America.  The ¨nuclear winter¨ caused by the Bre X gold scandal is over, and metals prices are high.  In June 2008 I attended a B2B (“Business to Business”) conference for mining companies and investors focused on Latin America.  Such conferences are not a typical site for anthropological study, but they play a large role in the promotion of an industry, especially in times of high commodity prices.  They are also important sites of negotiation over the proper relations between mining companies, investors, governments, NGOs, and communities.  This paper will focus especially on how actors within this heavily pro-market and pro-mining context frame relations between these entities in terms of competing and overlapping concepts of “risk” and “responsibility,” and will examine the political and social consequences of these concepts. 



Organizational Learning & CSR in the Mining Sector

Hevina S. Dashwood, Associate Professor, Political Science, Brock University


Since the early 1990s, there has been a strenuous effort to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the global mining sector.  International non-governmental organizations (INGOs), transnational advocacy networks (TANs), International Organizations (IOs) and belatedly, states, have sought to improve the practices of mining companies operating globally.  Virtually all large mining multinationals have adopted “sustainable development” as a conceptual framework for their CSR policies, and most report annually on environmental, social and economic indicators.  The near universal adoption of sustainable development norms appears to point to the role and importance of global developments and advocacy efforts in explaining mining companies’ “sustainable development” policies.  However, research reveals that there is considerable variation between mining companies in terms of the extent of their commitment to actions supportive of sustainable development.  The literature on organizational learning provides important insights into how senior management interprets and responds to external pressures to improve their policies and practices.  Different types of organizational learning (or not) help to explain the variation in the degree of corporate commitment to CSR. This paper will analyze the learning processes at Noranda and Placer Dome (now owned by other companies) that led to the adoption of CSR policies framed as sustainable development.  In so doing, this paper will help to unravel the relative importance of multiple influences stemming from local, national and global sources in fostering social responsibility in the global mining sector.