Concerns about Mining Projects in the Global South


A statement of support for the WGMP ‘Philippines: Mining or Food’ report launch from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Date of publication: 
5 February 2009

The issue of mining projects in the Global South is among those urgent questions that remind us how all economic activity is to be conducted with respect for human rights and the environment. It is for this reason that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has already intervened on this vital concern on a number of previous occasions.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has also been closely monitoring the activities of Canadian mining companies around the world. In 2007, as the official international development agency of the Catholic Church in Canada, Development and Peace joined with Mine Alerts Canada and the then Canadian Member of Parliament Alexa McDonough in inviting the Government of Canada to respond to and implement recommendations that had been made by National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility.

As stated in a Development and Peace news release, dated 19 September 2007 (http://www.devp. org/devpme/ eng/pressroom/ 2007/comm2007- 09-19-eng. html):

“Since industry and civil society representatives signed off on the Roundtable Report, we have gone through another summer of discontent with Canadian mining companies involved in serious conflicts with communities in Romania, Turkey, Ecuador, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea…. Canadians have already made it very clear that they want our government to become an active participant in addressing these conflicts by putting in place standards and an effective complaints mechanism.”

During 2007, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops itself was involved in several interventions critical of the activities of Canadian mining companies. These initiatives included a letter to the Government of Canada from the then Chairman of the Conference’s Commission for Social Affairs about mining developments in Honduras (http://www.cccb. ca/site/content/ view/2584/ 1116/lang, eng/), and joining with other Canadian Church leaders in calling on the Government of Canada to adopt strict standards for Canadian resource companies operating overseas (http://www.cccb. ca/site/content/ view/2477/ 1062/lang, eng/). That same year, a letter of support was also sent to Most Reverend Jose R. Maguiran, Bishop of Dipolog, Philippines, from the then President of the Canadian Conference, Most Reverend André Gaumond, Archbishop of Sherbrooke, in which he noted how disturbing it was to see “that a Canadian resource extraction company is engaged in practices that most certainly would not be permitted on Canadian soil.”

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops remains very much concerned about the moral and ethical questions involved in the operations of Canadian mining companies in the Global South. The Catholic Bishops of Canada continue to encourage their episcopal confreres in the Philippines, and all those who collaborate with them, in their important and timely efforts to protect our planet as a gift from God.

Msgr. Mario Paquette, P.H.
General Secretary