Community engagement refers to a company’s positive interactions with the individuals and groups affected by the company’s activities. Engagement might include, but is generally not limited to, local philanthropy, information dissemination, and/or consultations. Below are some examples of how Canadian mining and exploration companies have facilitated the participation of local communities and key stakeholders in the decisions that affect their wellbeing and livelihoods:
Responses by Company
AuRico Gold Inc.
Each site has in place a site based committee who are in constant communication with members of the local communities and First Nations in the areas in which we operate or have exploration projects. Where exploration or developing projects are being undertaken, the company has established consultation committees to discuss aspects of the planned or proposed work. These committees meet on a regular basis to discuss the operations and allow for those in attendance to ask questions regarding operations or exploration sites.
Community personnel are encouraged to contact the site directly or raise issues through the site-based committees. Mediation and dispute resolution mechanisms are incorporated into Impact Benefit and Exploration Agreements.
Cameco has a strong community engagement program which has formed positive relationships with northern communities. Community engagement is an iterative process –the company continues to improve its engagement practices while developing relationships of mutual respect in place of one-off consultations.
This process is formalized in our recent collaboration, partnership and impact management agreements signed with key stakeholders, creating an engagement mechanism based in best practice. Building on our past experience, we can put proactive plans in place, with input from our key stakeholders, which will provide us with an engagement approach that meets their needs and some level of predictability for both the company and its key stakeholders. With respect to operations in northern Saskatchewan, Cameco and northern leaders have collaborated through a roundtable process to develop a series of working principles to guide engagement. These principles incorporate First Nations and Métis perspectives, reflecting the applicable demographics in northern Saskatchewan.
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Individuals from outside the company can use our website to submit grievances, which are then e-mailed to the respective individuals within the company. Internally, Cameco employees can access our Cameco Ethics hotline to begin the grievance process. More formally, all of our agreements that we have recently signed with Aboriginal communities in northern Saskatchewan contain within them grievance mechanisms, none of which have been utilized as this point.
Canadian International Minerals Inc.
The company’s process for mutual exchange of information includes early stage First Nations consultations. We would never take on a project in an environmentally sensitive area, or one of cultural significance.
Cartier Resources Inc.
The company does not confirm commitments with communities at the early stage exploration level; when and if projects graduate to a higher level of exploration development, an MOU or IBA’s are anticipated.
We conduct stakeholder mapping of our projects then meet with the parties and present our exploration plans for the near future and consult as to their concerns and how we can accommodate.
Freeport Resources Ltd.
Our process is 'human-based', involving telephone, email, personal contacts and friendships we have built up over more than 20 years. We believe a casual approach is more appropriate than a formalized process, although this has varied depending on what we have been working on and what was requested of us. We believe communicating 'intent' is most important, with a sincere effort based on a win-win approach for all concerned.
Independence Gold Corp.
At the end of each year, the company provides the local communities with a letter report with maps showing the areas where we were active. At times, we visit the local communities to report on our activities, and make ourselves available to answer questions and address concerns expressed by community members.
Muskrat Minerals Inc.
Although we do not have a formal policy governing this, we do have informal procedures in place. Our team, led by the President of the Company, is committed to building long-term, productive relationships with the First Nations people of Labrador and surrounding areas, based on mutually beneficial opportunities and mutual understanding. Mr. MacKenzie maintains ongoing contact with the First Nations to share information, concerns and ideas. We also have a Whistleblower Policy to facilitate any complaints to be made against a breach of our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.
Mustang Minerals Corp.
The company encourages community engagement by participating in regular contact with communities where we have a project ongoing.
NOVAGOLD Resources Corp.
Our projects are on Aboriginal lands in Canada. Through our agreements with these Aboriginal landowners, we have formal requirements for ongoing dialogue and communication. Beyond this, we maintain informal communication with key stakeholder contacts on essentially a daily basis. Because our projects are on Aboriginal lands, we must ensure that they are active participants in our decision-making processes.
In several of our agreements with First Nations corporations/landholders, we have specific dispute resolution provisions.
Softrock Minerals Ltd.
The company meets with local authorities (school boards, county and town boards, environmental and local lobbies) at committee meetings set up every two months by the Alberta government. Subjects include future drilling, road maintenance, flaring and fencing. Grievances are addressed at these bi-monthly meetings.
The company provides public progress reports on exploration and informs newspapers and council boards of any operations it or its partners undertakes in an area.
Tashota Resources Inc.
In our agreements, say with First Nations, we agree to provide any developments on the properties under the MOU.
Typhoon Exploration Inc.
We will mail information to all the inhabitants of the villages who are concerned about our projects. If required, we will go to the community board, for example, to provide information to the public and give people the opportunity to ask questions.
Zenyatta Ventures Ltd.
The company encourages community engagement by communicating company developments with all stakeholders on a frequent basis.
The following companies indicated that they have a process or plan for mutual exchange of information or communication with local communities and key stakeholders, but declined to include any further details:
- Great Lakes Graphite Inc.
- Red Pine Exploration Inc.
- Skyharbour Resources Ltd.