Conference Program

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Session Overview - All times EDT

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5.3.1: Global Minerals Local Communities in Canada and the Philippines
Friday, 04/June/2021:
2:30pm - 4:00pm

Session Chair: John Edison Ubaldo
Technical chair: Kate Grantham
Location: Room 1


5.3.1: Global Minerals Local Communities in Canada and the Philippines

Chair(s): Angela Mariz Asuncion (University of Guelph, Canada)

The mining sector is both resilient and vulnerable; evolving in many instances at the nexus of large corporations operating at the local scale with communities that are impacted both positively and negatively by the industry. Our panel explores the many issues and opportunities that arise within these complex relationships. On the one hand, our work builds upon the premise that mining companies are multi- faceted actors, not monolithic entities that behave uniformly. Host communities', on the other, have diverse and complex development goals, interests and needs as they engage with corporate actors.

Experience over the last five decades suggests that mining contributions to economic development varies greatly across countries. In some it has been a major engine of development. In others disputes have erupted over land use, property rights, environmental damage, and revenue sharing. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs implemented through health, economic development, education and training projects, are increasingly relied upon to manage company-community relations. Yet conflicts persist in many settings, with significant costs for companies and communities. The challenge -- and it is a globally important one -- is to identify the best means of enabling socially and environmentally sensitive non-renewable resource development in a time when outside forces, including national governments, corporate interests, and environmental activism, constrain the ability of local populations to make regionally appropriate decisions and take action.


Presentations of the Symposium


Digging for Accountability: Structural Power Inequalities in Global Mining Discourse

Angela Mariz Asuncion1, Nicolas D. Brunet1, Dominique Caouette2
1University of Guelph, 2University of Montreal

In recent decades the Canadian mining industry has been increasingly scrutinized for being directly and indirectly involved in environmental devastation, forced displacement, systematic rape, slavery and billions in tax evasion, amongst other forms of corporate abuse. Discourse and power have played a fundamental role in the dominance of corporate social responsibility practice regulating the mining industry as opposed to legally binding legislation. Researchers have challenged global mining discourses, stating its origins are founded in modernization theory, white supremacy, and racist representations of Global South governance. By challenging dominant mining discourses and gaining a deeper understanding of the power it exercises (and resists), we create opportunities to transform the narrative into one that strengthens local agency and self-determination. This paper will provide an up-to-date review and critical examination of global mining discourse and its impacts on community agency, using Canadian mining operations in the Philippines as a case study for analysis.


After The Mine Has Left: The Case Of Maricalum Mining In Negros Island, Philippines

John Edison Ubaldo1, Kellyane Levac2, Dominique Caouette2
1University of the Philippines, 2University of Montreal

The municipality of Sipalay in Southern Negros Island, Philippines is copper deposit haven. Interest in the copper deposits came as early as the 1930s but nothing materialized until a mining company started operating in the 1950s. Residents who lived to witness the glorious days of the mines would recall how “wealthy” their community was as household income would meet more than their daily needs. Economic activities skyrocketed as the mining operations required more workers to answer the demand for expansion. The population of the municipality, later promoted to a city due to the income generated from the mines, increased exponentially over a short period of time with electric and water services provided to the local communities by the mine. A school and other infrastructural projects, funded by the mining company, were also built to aid the LGU and the community. While CSR was not in use at the time, it looked like Maricalum Mining Industrial Corp. (MMIC) was doing well by providing social services and taking care of their impacted local communities. However, by the time it closed in the early 1990s, after five decades of operation, the municipality had also suffered from the damages of numerous disasters including mining spills. And although the school continues to provide accessible education to the community, the electric and water services were cut off. Maricalum Mining operations left the municipality with a deformed topography that brings about danger to the community, millions of pesos in unpaid taxes, and hundreds of unemployed and retrenched workers who remain uncompensated to this day. This paper examines the paradoxes and contradictions of the mines’ achievements and downfall from the narratives of locals interviewed highlighting the double-edged nature of CSR efforts.


IAMGOLD Corporation: A look at the Toronto-based mining company’s responses to gender issues

Julie Guernier
University of Montreal

Usually known as a damaging industry for their social, economic and environmental impacts, in recent years mining companies have invested more attention and funds in sustainable development as well as corporate social responsibility. However, aren’t ʻsustainabilityʼ and ‘mining’ two magnets opposing each other in a way that would never make them compatible? Holder of three Towards Sustainable Mining Excellence awards as well as a total of four Towards Sustainable Mining Leadership awards, the mining company IAMGOLD Corporation is recognized as one of the Canadian mining companies most involved in sustainable and CSR business. Therefore, thanks to a content analysis of IAMGOLD’s health, safety and sustainability reports, this paper will explore the ways and extent to which gender issues are understood, measured and portrayed in the IAMGOLD’s sustainability reports. In doing so, this paper will attempt to identify IAMGOLD’s perceptions, approaches and interests related to gender concerns using an ecofeminist perspective.


The Canadian Talk: A documentary about development and mining

Erika Ranke-Farro
University of Montreal

Is development a positive thing? Half of the world's mining and exploration companies are Canadian. Most of these companies are located in Canada, but they also have significant overseas operations. Large Canadian mining companies are drawn to tax exemptions and regulatory control policies that are almost absent in countries of the South where corruption, neglect of human rights and destruction of the environment rules. This mixture can be described as explosive because it is characterized by the coexistence between huge Canadian mining companies that invest millions of dollars to massively extract precious metals and local communities. The objective of this documentary is to deconstruct and make accessible discourse on the social and environmental responsibility of mining companies by addressing through a series of interviews with specialists, activists, politicians and local communities the impact of mining companies on local communities.