The Social Dimension of Sustainable Development and the Mining Industry

CIM Vancouver 2002
David Pasho,
Abstract The settlement and development of Canada is inextricably linked to the discovery and exploitation of natural resources. Beginning with fish and fur, and continuing with minerals, petroleum, forests and other resources, Canada's social history is closely tied to natural resources. Even today, with a diverse economy and technological base, Canada continues to struggle with an international image as a resource driven economy.

Natural resources development, which was long characterized by an attitude of harvest and then move on to another region, is now facing the imperatives of sustainable development. As our understanding and implementation of sustainable development has evolved, it has become evident that more work has been placed on the economic and environmental dimensions than on the social dimensions. This is in part due to the difficulties inherent in conceptualizing the social dimensions of sustainable development.

The minerals and metals industry has a role in delivering the sustainable development agenda. Through a focus on sustainable development, the industry can contribute to continuous learning leading to innovation, to increasing the health of people and the environment, and to developing vigorous diverse communities. The industry has done much on the economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and has the potential to enhance its social contribution and its influence on the Canadian social fabric.

The goal of the presentation is to promote discussion of social issues of minerals and metals development. It will deal with themes such as the history of the social impact of mining in Canada; the concepts related to the social dimension of sustainable development as it applies to minerals and metals development; the Catalogue of Social Practices by Canadian Minerals and Metals Companies; and the risks and opportunities, related to the social dimension of sustainable development, faced by industry and by governments.

Keywords: social issues, people, opportunities, Risks, Sustainable development, communities, social fabric, social practices
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