Evidence of meeting #29 for Foreign Affairs and International Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was mining.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Sabine Luning  Professor, Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University , As an Individual

4:25 p.m.

Professor, Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University , As an Individual

Dr. Sabine Luning

Thank you very much.

This is an important question. What I have indeed stressed very strongly today is that perhaps CIDA should first of all cater to contingencies around the mining site.

I'm very strongly insisting on that. The reason is that mining has effects on livelihoods, because it's a form of land use that may be conflicting or competing with other forms of land use that already exist.

In that sense, I want to come back to one of the comments made earlier about settlers and the way extraction has been important in Canada. I do think we have to be careful when we make these analogies, because in Burkina Faso and other west African countries, the land is full of people and the land is being used. It's not a frontier where mining enters into an empty land; it's already occupied. In that sense today, I really stress that CSR should first all cater to a proper way of dealing with these land use issues.

Of course, in addition to that, I think it would be very important to try to see if, in a more structural way, mining can contribute to wider economic growth. I think that on the issue we were talking about—Dutch disease—and spinoff into other sectors, I can see that mining companies could work towards initiatives.

I think some of them are already doing that, working towards job creation. In particular, procurement is very important in that respect. We have to see that the spinoffs from mining itself enter into other economic sectors and activities that would benefit nationals in the country.

That's why I think those are two issues CSR should focus on for the companies.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

For some time, the committee has been investigating the role of the private sector in achieving Canadian international development interests.

Professor Luning, you discussed in some of your research projects that African societies have been completely dependent on technology that has affected all forms of daily life. This technology is essentially foreign in origin, and this technology that mining countries use for the extraction of their desired resources has come to shape many forms of social interactions in the various communities.

Can you please elaborate on how societies that rely on mining companies and their technologies are negatively affected by these technologies that are meant to guide them?

Thank you.

4:30 p.m.

Professor, Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University , As an Individual

Dr. Sabine Luning

I have been involved in research, but I didn't want to suggest that technology always comes from elsewhere. On the contrary, we've been working on a research project in which we've seen the inventiveness of technologies within Africa and by Africans.

In the field of mining, it is interesting that some of the technologies used in large-scale and middle-scale operations can be not just competitive but can also complement one another, and that is an issue that we should all think more about.

That is a field that I've been doing my own research on. Sometimes these forms of mining are seen as completely contradictory. I would argue that since livelihoods are at stake, we should pay much more attention to assigning ore bodies and deciding what ways of mining are best suited for particular parts of the ore bodies. We should also take into account that large-scale mining can take place in certain areas of the ore bodies, whereas additional mining or mid-scale mining can take place in others. I think there are complementarities to look for that would also open up room for more forms of livelihood from additional small-scale mining.

Burkina Faso is a country that could help us, because Burkina Faso has a regulation that is making it possible for artisanal mining to be legal. There is a lot of work to be done, but large-scale mining, or Canadian mining, does not necessarily have to drive out other forms of mining; it can be performed next to it or in addition to it.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dean Allison

I think Madam Groghué has one quick question before we—

March 28th, 2012 / 4:30 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon, Ms. Luning, and thank you. You stressed the importance of maintaining public bilateral agreements with respect to development in general, and specifically in Burkina Faso since this is a sector that you are very familiar with. You also stated that private projects must be regulated and you emphasized the importance of regulation. Do you have a legal framework that you could propose to this committee? How could that legal framework be set up?

4:30 p.m.

Professor, Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University , As an Individual

Dr. Sabine Luning

I referred to the 2002 MMSD report, in which there are good examples of frameworks. It was put together through many years of effort. We see 10 years later that some of these elements are still there—I'm thinking in particular of this issue of regulating compensation for land use in a better way—and are still not being picked up. I'd refer you to that particular report.

As well, something we could all do is make better use of the knowledge that is currently being produced—not use it as paperwork, but translate it into action.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dean Allison

Thank you very much, Doctor. We appreciate your staying up late at home to talk to us. With that, we're going to adjourn the meeting for a time.

Thanks, Doctor.

[Proceedings continue in camera]