Canada have for decades now been spitting right on the face of local communities under the same old facade of “Canadian mining activities in Africa (are) a force for good.”
This statement in itself shows how misinformed the two diplomats sent to the East African countries are to the specific social, economic and environmental needs of community members where multinational investments in the mining sector from Canada are hosted in African countries.
The ‘force for good’ being talked about here does not take into consideration the containers belonging to Barrick Gold Corporation that were held for days at the Mwanza Airport – Tanzania after being found to carry illegal weapons being transported to the embattled North Mara Mines. This dies a forced death as usual and I do not fear speculating that the same tactics that have stalled the discussions on the new mining legislation in the parliament were used.
Canadian Government & Transparency
A community in Bulyanhulu where a ‘planned’ massacre was reported in 1996 where 72 souls were reported lost. To me this was going to be a landmark to the Canadian facelift on how transparent they are. The relatives of the ‘alleged’ deaths are still haggling to get justice. The calls for an independent inquiry into the matter has fell on the deaf ears and I believe that the diplomats went through a series of trainings on how to give a totally deaf ears to these pending issues that are deemed as ‘tarnishing the reputation of Canada.’
Manipulations from Canada
Early February the world’s top personalities gathered in Cape Town in South Africa for the African Mining Indaba which was followed by the high profile gathering at the Southern Cape Hotel for the ministers of Mines, Chamber of mines from different African countries and of course a few representatives from the civil society camp.
One of the most interesting this is the fact that a number of representatives from the Mines ministries in over 35 African states unanimously state that, “human rights abuses reported in the extractive industry have not received a good handling while the participation of communities around the mines and equity in general were in books only.”
The African Mining Partnership (AMP) meeting was seasoned with a mixture of people, some who were pro-mining while the majority were cautiously tackling the issues that has taken the economies of their countries in the ‘drains’ with respect to the mining sectors in their respective countries. It also came out clearly that “Canada dominates extractive activities in Africa with a reputation which does not befits a country that boasts of constructive engagement in transparency and accountability.”
When all these criticism was on the floor, a senior international Policy advisor, at Natural Resources Canada, Andre Bourassa ‘forced’ his way to address the gathering and complained bitterly of the “bad reports that has been posted on one of UN’s webpage concerning the trend of the mining/Extractive Industry.
“All reports that I have read on the UN’s webpage about mining in Africa is all negative. Mining in Africa is not all bad and these kinds of reports only make the UN to see a state of emergency and may stop its engagement in the mining sector even though in the recent past they have been gradually getting some interest.”
Bourassa went ahead to put forward a solemn plea to the minister to “produce positive reports on the progress made in the mining industry in Africa!”
This is something that threw a number of stakeholders off board and many asked, “if there is no good coming from the mining industry in Africa where are we going to get the good to write?”
This is the overbearing attitude which must stop. There has been far too much interference with all the interventions that African governments have introduced to make the most out of the natural wealth within individual countries’ borders.
New strategies announced
- Review the corporate social responsibility practices of Canadian extractive sector companies operating outside Canada; and
- Advice stakeholders on the implementation of endorsed CSR performance guidelines.