The Community of Interest (COI) Advisory Panel (“the Panel”) is an independent multi-interest group that monitors the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative’s progress and serves as an external source of knowledge and experience. For the first time since its inception, the Panel conducted its fall meeting virtually as a result of the ongoing global pandemic (see a photo of the virtual meeting in Figure 1). This executive summary provides a brief account of the virtual fall meeting held on October 5th, 6th, and 7th, 2020. The meeting was divided into six sessions of 1.5 hours to 2 hours in length each morning and afternoon.
During the ensuing discussion with the Panel, the following key points were raised:
- Community consultation is taking place virtually (with some challenges) and continues to be an important activity.
- Like several other remote mines, Vale made the decision to shut down its mine site immediately and send workers home with continued wages, despite the impacts to its business, because it aligned with its values.
- Having independent Indigenous monitors allows continuous collection of monitoring data and Indigenous engagement through the year (regardless of COVID-19).
- MAC members are sharing information and collaborating on COVID-19 challenges and responses and a similar approach is being used in Quebec, where they are closely coordinating with the government. This information sharing and collaboration has been viewed positively by participating mining companies.