Challenging Change - The right of a resource community to self-governance


Ms Regan Schafer-Frentz, Dr Tim Joseph

In 2016, Dr. Joseph challenged the United Nations IGF intergovernmental forum on mining, minerals, metals and sustainable development, though a workshop focusing on sustainable closure with communities in mind. This challenge emphasized the lack of responsibility to community and the environment afforded by the current UN collective regulatory governmental legislation and globally used resource development instruments such as NI 43-101 and JORC. Such regulatory tools effectively give all but lip service to prevalent issues as the overwhelming volumetric issue of mine waste in sustainable closure and reclamation, not to mention future downstream impacts on community sustainability beyond mining. In the same address, Dr. Joseph emphasized the lack of leadership by nations in setting a stage for success via industry, community and government working together to develop resources responsibly with sustainability beyond mining. A lack of inclusivity often leads to resource development, despite all good intention, deferring closure and sustainability considerations to the back burner, such that by the point of detailing beyond initial consultation, it is often all but too late for sustainable closure to be realized within economic constraints. In Canada, the leverage opportunity of bond recovery to fund early reclamation and post mine use provides an incentive not yet realizable in developing countries; yet this too is in many cases untapped and unrealized in our own back yard. This paper outlines a very visual framework for collaboration; with challenges and benefits through a tri-partite relationship between mining industry, community and government, highlighting the drivers, benefits and challenges to create such a relationship for all parties. It is suggested that such a framework should be included in instruments such as NI 43-101 and JORC, alongside a more detailed reporting requirement for mine waste and its tangible future use as a potential community resource for the future. The paper includes conceptual case studies outlining the opportunities for mine waste as a sustainable community resource beyond mining, generating new regional entrepreneurship, industrial opportunity and community independence. In the core of the paper, the ideology of a community’s right to self-governance is evident.