Social engagement - case studies

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Author: Meghan Cartwright

The Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining

Queen's University

Created: March, 2009

This topic is part of a series of topics related to social engagement. Further information can be found on the main page for that topic.

Case Studies

Consultation protocol with First Nations: The Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Consultation Terms of Reference

In June 2007, a Terms of Reference document was created with the cooperation of the Province of Nova Scotia's government and its 13 First Nation groups. The purpose of the Terms of Reference was to provide protocols on how consultation between all First Nations in Nova Scotia and the Governments of Nova Scotia and Canada should proceed.

In the fall of 2007, the Department of Natural Resources began consultation under the newly-created Terms of Reference regarding several mining projects. Under the terms, an Assembly of Chiefs delegated one Chief to lead the consultations. The consultation groups met for the first time in 2008, and concerns regarding the state of the mining projects were discussed. After the meeting, concerns and recommendations were circulated, with the attempt to receive feedback prior to the next meeting. A follow up meeting will soon follow.

Aboriginal consultations under the ecoEnergy of Renewable Power Program

In January 2007, the Government of Canada announced a "clean energy" program. This program was to produce renewable power from sources such as wind, water, solar and geothermal. Due to the large usage of land for these projects, Natural Resources Canada (NR-Can) created an Aboriginal Consultation process to smooth negations between the governments, NR-Can and Aboriginals. The process outlined the following:

  • Aboriginal consultations are integrated with the existing environmental assessment processes.
  • All consultations are to be carried out in coordination with other provincial or federal departments and agencies, as well as the project proponent.
  • Upon receipt of an application of a renewable power program, NR-Can will notify any Aboriginal group that may have interest in the project.
  • First Nations have an obligation to clearly articulate the nature of their interests in the project.
  • Any issues identified by First Nations are addressed within the context of the environmental assessment report and any proposed mitigation measures for the project.

This process will continue to develop as consultation with First Nation groups continues.

Citizen engagement in Mongolia

In Toson Zaamar, or Mongolia, mining affects nearly everyone's life. 80% of this area's 8300 hectares have been licensed for exploration or extraction. The main river through this land (the Tuul River) affects numerous people in the region, and concerns exist regarding the potential harm the mining industry could cause to this river. Other concerns also exist, including the fact that only 60% of the local working population is employed. These concerns have been voiced, and a group of local residents has been assembled to engage with citizens, governments and mining companies, with the hope of creating a beneficial agreement between all parties.

As a result of the group's efforts, a community council was formed and an agreement signed between the three interested parties to form a working group focused on rehabilitating land, restoring watersheds, and promoting local community development.

Using previously-applied engagement tactics carried out elsewhere, the community council has been able to make significant process. One example is the creation of the greening project, which serves the purpose of reforesting local areas. This project is funded my numerous mining companies pooling money into a community development fund.

Lessons learned through case studies

  • Start early.
  • Proponents should be engaging Aboriginal peoples well ahead of any regulatory processes.
  • Agreement with First Nations on how consultation will proceed is an advantage.
  • Build a centralized coordinated approach to consultation.
  • Come prepared to discuss details of projects, and be creative in exploring solutions that will address Aboriginal concerns.
  • The involvement of other agencies that are involved with additional regulatory authorizations associated with mining has the potential to increase the relational benefits and operational efficiency.

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