Sustainability, sustainable development, sustainable mining. Just what do these words mean? We all have our own ideas and they can vary widely depending on what roles we have in the minerals or petroleum industries.
One thing is certain: the use of our natural resources is an essential and integral part of society (always has been and always will be). It is also my belief that the well-being of any country is directly related to how effectively and responsibly they utilize their natural resources.
Another certainty is that eventually any mine will close or an oil well will run dry.We should never mislead any of our stakeholders in this regard. So the real question becomes one of how do we sustain our industries in such a way that we as individuals, or as companies (or collectively), balance economic wealth and socio-economic benefits while mitigating environmental impacts. This also includes understanding the use of products during their life cycle.
Through CIM we have an obligation to promote the science and the understanding of sustainability as an ongoing process. We are committed to finding answers and I believe the answers will come from within, as well as from our partnerships and relationships outside our industries.
To assist in meeting this objective, Syncrude Canada has sponsored an annual award that would recognize groups or individuals who come up with innovative ways that assist all of the resource industries in developing better sustainable processes. The 2007 Syncrude Award for Excellence in Sustainable Development was the Grizzly Bear Research Program as part of the Foothills Model Forest project in Alberta. You will read more about it in this issue on page 42.
I congratulate Syncrude for their leadership in this area and I would ask all members to keep an eye open to the efforts of the communities, institutions, companies, and academics who are working to our common goal and help us to recognize success!
Jim Popowich, CIM President