MONEY IN MININGWUSC-Rio Tinto Alcan project
Total budget: $928,000 over 3 years
WUSC/Rio Tinto Alcan: $428,000
Rio Tinto net profit in 2010: $726,000,000
Plan Canada-IAMGOLD project
Total budget: $7.6 million over 5.5 years
CIDA: $5.7 million
Plan Canada: $0.9 million
IAMGOLD: $1 million
IAMGOLD gross profit in 2010: $597,000,000
World Vision-Barrick Gold project
Total budget: $1 million over 3.5 years
World Vision/Barrick Gold: $500,000
Barrick Gold net profit in 2010: $3,279,000,000
Source: Canadian International Development Agency, Sedar.com
selective aid sent to developing countries which has been shown to serve two purposes. Both to greenwash, that is to give environmental rehabilitation projects and to give cash greenbacks which serve Canadian mining companies highly invested in those countries.
Canadian International Development Agency has less money to spread around now that we are in recessionary times. Nevertheless, we cannot abdicate our humanitarian aid. To this end, the Conservative government has pledged "more transparency, timeliness and predictability" in the expenditures.
University of Ottawa professor and CIDA critic Stephen Brown terms a blatant effort to "whitewash the negative effects of their resource extraction."
Perhaps. But these projects also help highly profitable Canadian mining companies. CIDA will provide money to help Canadian companies Rio Tinto Alcan, Barrick Gold and Iamgold create corporate social responsibility projects with aid agencies near mining projects.Oda announced four CIDA projects - totalling $26.7 million - in September that will "help developing countries in Africa and South America manage their natural resources to ensure they are the source of long-term sustainable benefits to their people."
More criticism of a similar nature is found here:
“CIDA has always worked government-to-government,” said Coumans. “Now what CIDA is doing is channeling Canadian taxpayer money directly to the mine site and basically paying for (CSR) corporate social responsibility projects, and that is very bizarre.”
Companies Involved:“The Canadian government is using aid to support the expansion of Canadian mining...[and] to determine development paths inside countries according to the logic of mining companies,” Yao Graham of Third World Network Africa, a research and advocacy organization based in Ghana, told The Dominion. Graham has seen many communities in Africa ravaged by the exploitative labour practices and lax environmental practices that often accompany mining megaprojects.
Plan Canada Plan Canada will receive $5.7 million from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to fund activities relating to IAMGOLD’s mining activities in 13 communities in Burkina Faso.
Other extracting operations. The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability documented how government initiatives in Colombia and Tanzania have translated into weaker environmental and social safeguards, reduced royalties for the host countries and new tax holidays.
Last May, IAMGOLD had to close down operations at its Essakane mine in Burkina Faso due to labour unrest. See here: Pambazuka News -Pan African Voices for Freedom and Justice
The projects include one run by Plan Canada in partnership with Iamgold to provide training in Burkina Faso and another by the World University Service of Canada to provide training in Ghana, in partnership with Rio Tinto Alcan.
CIDA has set aside nearly half a million dollars for a third project - in which World Vision Canada will work with Barrick Gold in Peru to "increase the income and standard of living of 1,000 families affected by mining operations." Barrick Gold says it also contributed $500,000 to the project.
Brown calls it "scandalous" that some of the most profitable companies in Canada are, in effect, supported by foreign aid dollars to set up programs that compensate for the negative effects of mining.
In a time of shrinking foreign aid dollars, taxpayers should not be on the hook for corporate social responsibility projects. The programs might be welcome and worthwhile, but they should be paid for by the companies that are reaping the profits and getting much of the credit. CIDA's involvement in the partnerships potentially tars all Canadians, by default, for any bad corporate behaviour, or environmental damage, that results from those mining operations.
See how Mining Weekly manages to astroturf the bill.Last year the Canadian mining sector led a successful lobby effort to defeat Bill C-300, the Bill that would have seen the introduction of minor controls on the unregulated overseas activities of Canada’s mining industry.
"Canada's competitors would have used the passage of Bill C-300 as a tool to undermine the competitiveness of Canadian firms in the highly competitive global extraction industry. Frivolous or vexatious claims (like dangerous working conditions, pollution, unethical practices) would have been filed against Canadian firms by competitive interests at no cost or risk to themselves (except that the countries are poor and jobs are scarce and therefore necessary to feed their families), tying up important projects and putting well paying local jobs (that's why they are having strikes) and community development projects (paid for and subsidized by Canadian tax payers under CIDA)in developing countries at risk."