Green, low carbon future main focus in PDAC 2020
Shady Salah – Media in Toronto
A low carbon future is one of the main topics that the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) 2020 Convention sheds light on this year.
Acknowledging the importance of this topic, the organisers announced the “Sustainability Program” (formerly known as the Corporate Social Responsibility Program or CSR Event Series), which is aiming to facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue and peer-learning on key issues related to responsible exploration and mining.
The Sustainability Program features presentations and dialogue that examine the innovative ways in which mineral exploration and mining companies are working to improve their sustainability performance, presenting challenges and successes, as well as lessons learned.
The programme held several seminars and sessions talking about the green future and how to improve behaviors in mining sector in general. One of the sessions that was held on Sunday raised a low of questions, including: how can mining projects and small-scale miners co-exist?
How do companies navigate the security, environmental and social challenges that come with working with or near small-scale mining projects? What do companies have to change in order to ‘make it work’ with small-scale miners and what are the risks if they do not change. The session explored these difficult questions head-on, with dynamic presentations from two leading experts that represent different
perspectives on the issue. Suzette McFaul, CEO of Clean Gold Community Solutions will walk through a case study that highlights some of their firm’s successes and challenges in implementing a practical solution for working with small-scale miners and communities. Charles Dumbrille, President of the Mining Security Working Group, will present the key findings from a white paper developed by subject matter experts and security practitioners within the extractive industry on the lessons learned from companies in working with (or against) small-scale miners.
The other session talked about the implications and the opportunities in the mining sector, mainly the risks facing the sector from the child labor. The panelists underlined that there are an estimated 152 million
children engaged in child labour, and up to 26 per cent of these children could work within global supply chains. In addition, 16 million people are subjected to forced labour in the private sector. Some industries have proactively responded by introducing mandatory external verification on company efforts to prevent child and forced labour. Some governments have gone further by introducing legislation. This ranges from one-off reporting requirements on human trafficking to ongoing due diligence obligations on all material human rights. Some mining companies actively support the development of such laws, while many others now comply with existing requirements. The Government of Canada is currently considering possible legislation.