May 2014

Editor's letter

Open to discussion

By Ryan Bergen

Ryan Bergen Based on the marketing material collected on my desk, the apparent trend in the mining sector is for total solutions, but with this issue of CIM Magazine we offer unanswered questions. This is inevitable when trying to scope out the distance between where the industry is and where many aspire for it to be. How can the uranium industry help people appreciate the incredible potential the mineral has to supply the world’s growing energy needs? What will it take to introduce more diverse leadership into the upper strata of mining company management and boards of directors? How can Canada’s indigenous people take a more active role in mineral development and redefine their status in this country?

Eavan Moore explores that last theme in our cover story, “On the land”. Moore, a long-time contributor to the magazine, reached out to a number of proponents of indigenous ownership of exploration and mining projects to investigate the existing and potential models for this, and the hurdles that will have to be overcome to make such approaches to resource development happen.

One apparent obstacle took shape as this feature story was circulating among the editorial team. In mid-April, the federal government revealed that a number of bands audited under the First Nations Financial Transparency Act had misspent federal funds. The random audits of band finances are intended to inspire more transparency and accountability among First Nation governments, all of which will soon be required to publish their annual financial statements.

Because politics are politics, the motives for a policy that has the effect of embarrassing First Nations leaders are likely not completely pure, but transparency is good. The public always benefits from knowing where its money has been spent or misspent, whether by senators or by band councils.

Ideally, the increased scrutiny will result in the recognition of leaders who have good governance practices, and give them more leverage as they work to improve their lot. First Nations want to play an active role in generating wealth from the natural resources they have a claim to, and all sides would benefit if that ambition were shared. So, how do we get to that point?

I hope the questions raised in this article will provide fuel for discussion at the upcoming CIM Convention in Vancouver, and for those of you who will not be able to make it, we would love to hear your thoughts. Send us a note.

Each year at this time, CIM’s National Office hits its top gear as we organize the countless meetings, complete the extra publications, polish the many awards, and tackle the IT and logistical challenges that CIM’s flagship event presents. Beyond these walls, there is an army of volunteers that is also working to make this conference and expo the best they can be. Thanks to you all for the work you have done and congratulations on the event you have created.

See you in Vancouver.

Ryan Bergen

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