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The GNMR Network is a Global Ignatian Advocacy Network that aims to ensure that issues of equity and sustainability are addressed in mining activity throughout the world.

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GNMR Update

Panguna Mine in Bougainville, an autonomous region in the east of Papua New Guinea: the viability of reopening the controversial copper mine is being considered by Bougainville Copper Ltd and politicians, but many locals are protesting over the possibility. See www.jubileeaustralia.org (community advocacy) and http://www.bcl.com.pg/ (company perspective).

Network News

Over the past few months the Core Group leading the Governance of Natural and Mineral Resources has reached out to colleagues across the world to join the Network. There are now around 30 individuals in 18 countries who, as representatives of their organisations, will promote collaboration across Conferences on GNMR issues. A full list of Network members can be accessed here. If you know of others who should be included on this list, please contact Carolyn.ryan@jss.org.au.
 

(Above image: African Business Review – Conflict Minerals in Eastern DRC: the good, the bad and the necessary.  http://theafricanbusinessreview.com/conflict-minerals-in-the-easter-drc-the-good-the-bad-and-the-necessary/)


GNMR-Europe and Canadian Jesuits International collaborate on Conflict Minerals
The following report is contributed by GNMR Network member George Gelber, following a recent gathering in Canada.


Fulfilling a long standing commitment, GNMR-Europe (Brussels-based Jesuit European Social Centre - JESC; ALBOAN, the Jesuit development agency in Bilbao; and Jesuit Missions in London - JM) met with Canadian Jesuits International in Toronto on 20th and 21st October.  Emmanuelle Devuyst (JESC), Nacho Eguizabal (ALBOAN) and George Gelber (JM) were joined by Dr Fernando Serrano, who works on environmental policy at the St Louis University and is engaged in research on the environmental and social impacts of mining in Latin America, most recently Honduras.  Our hosts, Jenny Cafiso and Kirsti Tasala, organised a programme of visits to Canadian civil society organisations working on mining.

Why make the journey to Canada? North America is home to some of the biggest and most aggressive mining companies in the world and the Toronto stock exchange is home to more mining companies than any other financial centre in the world.  NGOs in both Europe and North America are lobbying and campaigning for tougher regulation of mining, so that at the very least it does not fuel conflict.  We have much to learn from each other.  Partners and communities in three continents are also seeking to retain control over their lands and livelihoods – and are looking to us for support – as mining companies seek to open new mines, or expand old ones, to satisfy the world’s hunger for minerals that provide metals for the gadgets and machines which we buy.  The mobile phones that we all carry in our pockets or purses are a key example.  Why?  Because they cannot function without the so-called ‘conflict metals’ – tin, tungsten and tantalum, the three Ts, and gold.

Our central concern was ‘conflict minerals’ and the steps being taken to regulate them in the US and Europe. 
 
Conflict minerals in the United States and Europe
While the United States now has the Dodd Frank Act with its mandatory provisions requiring companies to ensure the traceability of ‘conflict minerals’ sourced from DRC, the European Union does not yet have comparable legislation.  Earlier this year the European Commission published draft legislation, now submitted to the European Parliament, proposing a voluntary system of due diligence which will apply only to minerals imported directly into the European Union, and – in contrast to the Dodd Frank act – not  to metals incorporated in finished products.  Only eight of the 182 smelters of tantalum, tin and tungsten listed by the OECD[1] are in the European Union which indicates that only a tiny proportion of the ores are imported directly to Europe.  Although as many as 880,000 companies in Europe use the three Ts and gold, the EU Commission estimates that altogether only 400 European companies would be affected by the proposed legislation.[2] GNMR-Europe supports the coalition of European NGOs calling for mandatory legislation.
 
GNMR and European civil society organisations believe that the European legislation as drafted will be ineffectual.  The one positive aspect of the European  proposal is that its scope includes minerals sourced from any conflict-affected or high risk area, not just DRC and its neighbouring countries, so, for example, it could include Afghanistan, Burma and Colombia.
 
Seventy-two Catholic bishops from four continents have issued a statement calling on the European Union to set up a mandatory system of due diligence and for the inclusion, where appropriate, of all potential ‘conflict minerals’, not just tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold.  They welcome the broadening of the scope of the European to any conflict-affected or high risk area.[3]  At the same time financial institutions, representing more than €855 billion in assets under management, are calling for the European proposal to be “amended to ensure an important level of harmonisation between the European proposal and currently operational US federal rules on corporate conflict minerals due diligence and reporting.”[4]
 
No European Union member state has yet come out in favour of mandatory regulation so the battle to secure better legislation now shifts to the European Parliament where the Committee on International Trade will discuss the proposal.   After hearings, discussions and amendments, a final vote will be taken in February or March 2015.  MEPs in favour of tougher regulation are demanding that the Development and Foreign Affairs committees share responsibility for the proposed legislation with the International Trade committee which is likely to take a narrow economic ‘what-is-good-for-European-business’ approach rather than a wider ‘what-is-good-for-development’ perspective.
 
ALBOAN
ALBOAN is about to launch a campaign on conflict minerals focusing on conflict minerals which are vital components of mobile phones.  Its attention-grabbing headline is “What is your mobile hiding? – Discover your mobile’s links with conflict in Congo.”  It is both an education and advocacy campaign which invites people to take action by signing a petition urging members of the European Parliament to vote for mandatory regulation of mining companies and to recycle their phones thereby reducing the need for freshly mined minerals. For more information, go to http://www.tecnologialibredeconflicto.org.
 
Canada
On 24th September Canadian MPs, voting along party lines, defeated a private member’s bill to create the Office of Ombudsman with oversight of Canadian extractive companies operating abroad and requiring the companies themselves to report to it on their extractive activities.  Now, in the absence of legislation to regulate companies’ activities, the only possible route for people seeking justice or remedy after the event is through Canadian courts, inevitably a long drawn out and costly procedure.  In 2013 the Ontario Superior Court agreed that a case brought by Guatemalan plaintiffs against Hudbay Minerals Inc. can be heard by a Canadian court.

The Guatemalans allege that Hudbay employed security guards who in 2007 killed a local leader, seriously wounded another local resident and gang-raped eleven women.[5] 
 
Emma, Nacho and George met with a number of Canadian civil society organisations now exploring different ways of making Canadian extractive companies accountable for their actions.  As in other countries, we found that there is a tension between NGOs that are willing to engage with mining companies and those that think that there is no spoon long enough to sup with those particular devils.  However, it is clear that initiatives like the Dodd Frank Act will not be able to fulfil their potential without independent organisations willing to help companies and governments set up systems to monitor supply chains to ensure that conflict minerals are not fraudulently labelled as ‘conflict free’.
 
Some of our meetings took place in Ottawa and were overshadowed by the killing of Nathan Cirillo, the young soldier on ceremonial duty at the national war memorial.  The drama unfolded as we were driving from Toronto to Ottawa and we heard minute by minute commentary on the news.  Canadians, who had thought that they were remote from conflicts in the Middle East, were deeply shocked.  We saw Canadians, young and old,  lining up to place floral tributes on the approach to the war memorial.

Finally, we want to thank Jenny and Kirsti for being brilliant hosts and guides in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.  We saw that they were welcomed everywhere we went and recognised as valued collaborators.  Long may they continue.
 

 
 

[1]   OECD list of tin, tantalum and tungsten smelters.  Updated October 2014
     http://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/3TsSmelterList.pdf
[2]   European Commission; Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council. Responsible sourcing of
    minerals originating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas Towards an integrated EU approach.  Brussels. 05 03 14
   http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2014/march/tradoc_152228.pdf  The Commission says these metals are used
   in the automotive, electronics, aerospace, packaging, construction, lighting, industrial machinery and tooling
   industries as well as jewellery.
 
[3]   For the full text of the bishops’ statement, go to
     http://www.cidse.org/publication/item/646-catholic-leaders-statement-on-conflict-minerals.html
[5] Melinda Maldonado; Mining for Truth in Guatemala; Macleans; 8 July 2014
  http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/mining-for-the-truth-in-guatemala/
Conflict minerals
Conflict minerals, direct descendants of conflict diamonds, are minerals which fuel conflict, enabling the militia groups and armies which control mining and trade to buy the supplies, ammunition and weapons they need to dominate and terrorise populations.  DRC, especially the mineral-rich eastern part of the country, has been wracked by conflict since 1996 which has resulted in the deaths of over 5 million people.  These shocking figures led US legislators seeking to regulate Wall Street in the aftermath of the financial crisis to include provisions in their bill requiring that companies be able to trace to their source any ‘conflict minerals’ (defined as tantalum, tin and tungsten – the three Ts - and gold, originating in DRC or any of its nine neighbouring countries) used in products imported into the United States.  Reports submitted by companies must set out the measures taken to determine the source and chain of custody of the conflict minerals to make clear whether the minerals they use are ‘conflict free’.  There are just two sections relating to extractive industries mining – 1502 and 1504 – at the end of the 848 page act, with official title of the “Dodd-Frank Act to reform Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act”. The purpose of these sections in Dodd-Frank is to cut off the flow of resources (estimated to be as much as US$185 million a year in 2008)[1] to armed groups, which have been using forced labour, including child labour, and extorting money from small scale miners in eastern DRC. 
 
Tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold are essential to the manufacture of electronic devices, including mobile phones.  For example, a 2 kilogramme laptop contains 10 grams of tin, 0.6 grams of tantalum, 0.3 grams of gold and 0.0009 grams of tungsten.  Companies have responded swiftly and are keen to show that their shiny and expensive products are ‘conflict free’.  Intel, Apple and HP have all published reports that there products are conflict free or almost conflict free.  A recent Enough Campaign investigation found that the income of armed groups derived from the three Ts had shrunk dramatically while artisanally mined gold remains problematic because gold can be refined locally with the use of mercury to an almost pure state, and is then easily smuggled out of the country whereas the extraction of tin, tungsten and tantalum from their ores is an industrial smelting process.  United Nations researchers estimate that up to 98 per cent of DRC’s gold production is smuggled out of the country.
 
 
[1] Fidel Bafilemba, Timo Mueller, Sasha Lezhnev; The Impact of Dodd-Frank and Conflict Minerals Reforms on Eastern Congo’s Conflict.  Enough Campaign.  June 2014
http://www.enoughproject.org/files/Enough%20Project%20-%20The%20Impact%20of%20Dodd-Frank%20and%20Conflict%20Minerals%20Reforms%20on%20Eastern%20Congo%E2%80%99s%20Conflict%2010June2014.pdf
 

 

Corporate Social Responsibility - a View from Africa
The following is contributed by GNMR Core Group member Ferdinand Muhigirwa

 

From 15 to 19 October 2014, the JASCNET (Jesuits Africa Social Centres Network), in collaboration with the CARF (Arrupe Centre for Research and Training), organised a seminar on "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR) in Africa.

This seminar is the second organized under the theme "Governance of Natural Resources", one of the strategic axes of the JASCNET programme. The first seminar on this theme was held in June 2013 in Lubumbashi, in the Democratic of Republic Congo (DRC). JASCNET had planned to hold the second in October 2014, again in Lubumbashi (DRC), but because of the turmoil caused by the fear of Ebola in the DRC, it was relocated, and took place in Nairobi, Kenya at the Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations (HIPSIR).

Participants at this second seminar came from the following organizations: CARF (Arrupe Centre for Research and Training, Lubumbashi, DRC) CEFOD (Centre for Study and Training for Development, Djamena, Chad), CEPAS (Centre of Study for Social Action, Kinshasa, DRC), DIA (Documentation and Information for Africa, Kinshasa, DRC) JCTR (Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, Lusaka, Zambia), JHC (Jesuit Hakimani Centre, Nairobi, Kenya) PREMICONGO (Protection of Miombo Eco-region of Congo, Lubumbashi, DRC), SARW (Southern Africa Resource Watch, Kinshasa, DRC), Silveira House (Harare, Zimbabwe). Some participants also came from Hekima College, and Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations (HIPSIR), a higher education institution of the Society of Jesus in Africa.

In his opening remarks, the Director of JASCNET reminded participants that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) appealed particularly to the five axes of the JASCNET program: human rights, leadership and governance, ecology, migration and natural resources. Participants were asked to avoid isolating CSR from other on-going research activities and other pending actions in the JASCNET network.

It is in this context that the workshop set out, among other objectives, to train participants on international standards of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to understand the importance of these standards, to provide an overview of requirements for mining and environmental legislation and to develop a strategy of action to achieve an effective advocacy for corporate social responsibility.

During the seminar, participants exchanged ideas on four themes: Corporate Social Responsibility in Africa, the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility by civil society, Corporate Social Responsibility and human rights, and Corporate Social Responsibility and the development of local communities: Case Study of Tenke Fungurume Mining (Katanga, DRC).

Each presentation paper was followed by a group discussion and a plenary session. At the end of the seminar, participants encouraged JASCNET to initiate a newsletter on the governance of natural and minerals resources. They pledged to contribute to its publication by sending articles as a way of exchanging experiences of social centres in this domain. They also identified two actions to be taken by various Jesuit social centres in Africa under the coordination of JASCNET. These are: research on corporate social responsibility themes and lobbying and advocacy actions on Corporate Social Responsibility for the benefit of local communities.

Reflections on a Just Society – Mining and Disadvantaged Communities in India: Rights, Impacts and Activism


On Wednesday 12 November 2014,  staff and friends of Jesuit Social Services attended a presentation in Melbourne reflecting on the  experiences of  a local community in India affected by coal mining activity.
 
Local activists and community members in India have long worked together to find effective ways to break free of poverty's grip, which is now being exacerbated by open cut coal mining.  In large tracts of Jharkhand, thickly populated villages sit above rich deposits of coal. India’s growing demands for energy have resulted in efforts to mine these areas, with mining undertaken by a combination of public and private companies (including multinationals and an Australian-based company).
 
Coal mining projects occur against a backdrop of existing issues of poverty, class structures and hierarchies, and violent insurrection by Maoist guerrillas. The rights of indigenous peoples are frequently brushed aside.  Tens of thousands of people are to be affected by these developments and over many years the affected people have campaigned to have their voices heard.
 
Melbourne-headquartered Jesuit Social Services has, through its membership of the GNMR Network, supported  some local communities in India in their advocacy efforts over the last two years.  On this occasion a representative of the communities  spoke of their  experiences of being affected by the mining, the injustices that they are suffering at the hands of big business and the grass roots advocacy that is being undertaken to support these people.

 

Have you seen us on Ecojesuit?


In keeping with its goal to raise awareness amongst Jesuits of the importance of good governance of resources, the GNMR Network is collaborating with www.ecojesuit.com. A number of GNMR-related articles will be published on the ecojes site over the coming months to highlight particular issues.
 

ADVOCATING FOR TRANSPARENCY IN MINING PAYMENTS

One of the commitments made by the GNMR Network in its Action Plan 2014-2016 was to advocate for the adoption of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in all countries where it was able to exert influence. The Network encourages all Jesuit organisations to investigate the situation in their country and consider whether they might join the EITI campaign. One of the simplest ways to do this is to sign up to the local chapter of Publish What You Pay.

Below, we provide an overview of the EITI: what it is, how it works, and which countries are currently involved. For more information see www.eiti.org and
www.publishwhatyoupay.org.


What is the EITI?
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global coalition of governments, companies and civil society working together to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from natural resources.

What is its purpose?
When poorly managed, resources extraction has been a cause of corruption and conflict. More openness around how a country manages its natural resource wealth is considered necessary to ensure that the resources benefit all citizens.

What is the EITI Standard?
The EITI Standard is a set of seven requirements that countries need to meet in order to be recognised as first an EITI Candidate and ultimately an EITI Compliant country. The Standard is overseen by the international EITI Board, with members from governments, companies and civil society.
 
Which countries are EITI Compliant?
 
Countries that have committed to EITI fall into two categories – EITI compliant countries  and EITI candidate countries (the latter have begun implementing the EITI Standard but are not yet meeting all the requirements).
 
There are currently 30 EITI Compliant countries:
Albania, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea,  Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Yemen and Zambia. (note: Central African Republic has been suspended).

And there are 17 EITI Candidate countries:
Afghanistan, Columbia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Madagascar, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago Ukraine, United Kingdom and the USA.
 
Several other countries have signalled their intention to implement the EITI and are working toward completing the sign-up steps, including France, Germany and Italy.
 
Countries that have not signed up include: Australia, Cambodia, Korea, Japan, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Canada, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, India.

Even where a country has little/no extractive industry activity within its borders, adoption of EITI has benefits because domestic companies may have interests in mining projects abroad. Enforcing the same standards will assist in consistency and transparency across borders. Also, wealthy neighbours are better equipped to assist others within their region in implementing EITI if they have experience themselves in dealing with the same requirements.
 
What must countries do to meet the EITI Standard?
There are seven EITI requirements:
 
  1. Establishment of a multi-stakeholder group to oversee the EITI requirements
  2. Timely publication of EITI reports
  3. EITI reports to include certain contextual information to make them easier for the public to understand (eg the legal framework, the extractive industries environment, production data, level of state ownership, sustainability issues etc)
  4. EITI reports must include full disclosure of government revenues, and of all material payments (taxes and otherwise) to governments by oil, mining and gas companies
  5. A credible assurance process applying international standards
  6. EITI Reports to be comprehensible, actively promoted, publicly accessible, and contribute to public debate
  7. Multi-stakeholder group to take steps to act on lessons learned and review the outcomes and impact of EITI implementation
 
How Does PWYP fit into the picture?
(Taken from PWYP website) "PWYP was instrumental to the creation of the EITI and since its inception plays a crucial role in shaping the initiative – pushing for more rigorous policies and processes to ensure the global standard (and reputation) is upheld.
National PWYP coalitions support the implementation of the initiative and act as watchdog to ensure it is being done effectively. In many countries, PWYP coalitions help with the dissemination of the information contained within EITI websites, whether by analysing the reports or going to citizens with the information. Some members also serve as civil society representatives on the national multi-stakeholder groups responsible for EITI implementation."
For example, information regarding the Australian PWYP Coalition can be found here: http://www.publishwhatyoupay.org/where/coalitions/australia
 

 

Communicating the GNMR Story
GNMR Update is designed to bring you up to date with the work of the GNMR network, and with relevant events and news concerning the governance of resources. GNMR Update will be issued 4 times a year. Contributions are welcome - please contact Carolyn Ryan at carolyn.ryan@jss.org.au.

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Feedback, Suggestions and Contributions


We would love to hear from you if you have any feedback, suggestions or contributions for the GNMR Update.
Please contact Carolyn.ryan@jss.org.au or one of the Core Group members listed elsewhere in this newsletter.
Please also share this newsletter with your colleagues and contacts with an interest in this subject.

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