NGO/Mining Industry Collaboration
Can international development NGOs and the mining industry find common ground and work together in the Third World? The Canadian Hunger Foundation/PARTNERS in Rural Development (CHF-PARTNERS)has, over the past forty years,implemented more that 800 rural community development projects in some 38 countries of Africa, Asia and the Americas. Working with or for the Canadian mining industry offers both opportunities and risks. We can help a mining company ensure that the workers, their families and communities share adequately in the economic and social rewards from a mining operation in their area. We can contribute to the provision of sustainable livelihoods when an operation winds down. The company's reputatition as a good corporate citizen can be enhaced. On the other hand, mining companies and NGOs have generally very different values and missions. The risk of misunderstandings from conflicting motives and work practices is correspondingly high. An NGO must state its values and expectations clearly at the start of a collaboration. It must ensure that the company has acceptable ethical standards. It must only endorse a company or its practices after careful consideration and explicit agreement. It must not directly or indirectly subsidize a private company from its charitable donations. Finally, it must maintain the highest standards of development professionalism.