May 2011

Editor's letter

Challenging boundaries

By Angela Hamlyn

Angela Hamlyn
And this is one of the major questions of our lives: how we keep boundaries, what permission we have to cross boundaries and how we do so. ~ A. B. Yehoshua

When I was young, my parents encouraged me to consult our globe whenever homework or current events brought an unfamiliar location to my attention. This exercise undoubtedly contributed to my decision to pursue political science in my undergraduate studies and made me practically “untouchable” on the geography questions in Trivial Pursuit.

Despite my early geopolitical exposure, I am embarrassed to admit that I know extremely little about either the politics or topography of Africa: something that was driven home during the editorial exploration of the continent for this issue.

Although I do not mean to say that everyone shares my blind spot, I do propose that many of us have a long way to go in our understanding of the issues and intricacies of this vast continent. And, considering the enormous potential – and potential difficulties – surrounding the development and extraction of mineral riches that lay buried there, it is certainly not something we can afford to remain in the dark about for much longer.

In this issue of CIM Magazine, we present a special focus on Africa. In our feature article, “Towards a common goal,” writer Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco looks at the opportunities and challenges of resource development in West Africa where, according to some of the sources she speaks with, there has been a trend towards reforms designed to attract foreign direct investment into the mining sector. Although the political landscape there remains far from smooth, sources share their thoughts on how early and effective engagement can help to mitigate some of the risks.

IAMGOLD’s new Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso stars as this issue’s project profile. Despite being in operation for less than a half a year, in 2010, the mine produced 122,000 ounces of gold, with another 370,000 to 390,000 forecasted for this year. Writer Dan Zlotnikov also gives an account of the company’s successful resettlement of 13,000 residents – a testament to the company’s commitment to good community relations and participation.

We are honoured that South Africa’s High Commissioner to Canada, Mohau Pheko, contributed our Voices from Industry column. She takes the opportunity to demystify some of the negative perceptions about her country and invites the Canadian mining industry to discover an abundance of opportunities in their place.

On a final note, I would like to extend my gratitude to outgoing CIM President Chris Twigge-Molecey. It has been a great pleasure working with him this past year. His global perspective and valued input have helped us to stretch CIM Magazine’s editorial boundaries.

Angela Hamlyn,

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