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MAC welcomes announcement of Canada's new Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) welcomes the Government of Canada’s announcement of a new Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy (CSR) for the Canadian International Extractive Sector.  “Building the Canadian Advantage” responds to a complex set of issues raised by the National Roundtables on CSR Advisory Group, which released its Report in March of 2007.  MAC appreciates the improved clarity this strategy provides to the extractive sector in terms of the federal governments’ expectations regarding human rights and environmental performance.

“The Government of Canada has done a good job in responding to some difficult issues, such as human rights and security, which were raised by the National Roundtables on CSR” said Gordon Peeling, President of the Mining Association of Canada.  “The strategy’s focus on capacity building, through direct government support via Canadian International Development Agency and Natural Resources Canada and also through its support of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund, provides an essential building block in helping countries achieve their poverty reduction goals and development objectives through responsible development of their natural resources.”

MAC also welcomes the creation of the new Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor. The Counsellor function allows both companies and civil society the ability to request  reviews of CSR related issues.  “It clearly does not go as far as some in civil society would have liked, but it goes beyond the OECD Contact Point and brings a clear focus to extractive sector issues,” added Mr. Peeling.

The Government’s new Strategy also provides for the creation of a CSR Centre of Excellence, and the promotion of internationally recognized CSR guidelines, which were both key recommendations in the Advisory Group’s Report.  MAC looks forward to working with the government and other interested parties as extractive sector CSR issues continue to evolve.

MAC and its members remain committed to sustainable development principles through its own Corporate Social Responsibility program, “Towards Sustainable Mining” (TSM).  TSM incorporates many key attributes including formal consultations with external stakeholders,  public reporting of performance results and third party verification.  Member companies follow guiding principles and report on indicators that measure their performance for specific mining activities such as tailings management, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions management, external outreach and crisis management.   Four frameworks are in development: Safety and Health, Mining and Aboriginal Peoples, Biodiversity and Mine Closure. MAC is currently considering the issue of the international application of TSM.

The Mining Association of Canada is a national organization of the Canadian mining industry.  Its members are companies engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication.

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