MAC/20: Mines and Communities

FEATURE ARTICLE: "Mining in Canada."

Published by MAC on 2004-11-04

FEATURE ARTICLE: "Mining in Canada."

Prensa Libre (Guatemalan Newspaper)

November 4, 2004.

Like Guatemala, Canada is recognized throughout the world for its rich natural resources. by James Lambert, Canadian Ambassador to Guatemala

Is it possible for a country to be recognized as one of the most socially and environomentally responsible countries in the world, near the top of the list in the Environment Sustainability Index and at the same time, be a major mining country, with a mining industry that contributes 41.1 billion dollars to its economy?

This is indeed possible, and it is true of Canada. I have been following the national debate in Guatemala on the impact of mining, and as several Canadian companies have been implicated in this debate, I think it would be useful to examine the Canadian mining experience.

Like Guatemala, Canada is recognized throughout the world for the richness of its natural resources. We have been able to exploit these resources through our tourist industry, but at the same time, we have developed one of the most productive and technically advanced industries of the Canadian economy, through exploitation of our forests, water, metals and minerals.

The importance of natural resources in the economic development of a country cannot be denied.

However, if the tremendous potential for growth through the natural resources industry is to be maximized, attention must be paid to the manner in which social, economic and environmental issues are impacted, and the interests of all sectors effected must be accounted for.

This principle is also central to the concept of sustainability and can be seen in the motto of our Ministry of Natural Resources "Canada's Natural Resources, Now and for the Future".

In Canada, mining exploration and exploitation is carried out in all provinces and territories, creating economic and social opportunities for many communities, including some 200 indigenous communities.

Through sustainable development of our mining resources, these communities are creating the economic, cultural and social infrastructure necessary to secure their future and the future of their children.

From its earliest history, Canada has been, and continues to be essentially a mining country. Throughout our long history of nearly 150 years of mining production, our country has become one of the most "intelligent" administrators, promoters, users and exporters of natural resources in the world.

Today, Canadian businesses are on the vanguard of high technology, environmental protection and social responsibility. This is why they are leaders of many of the most successful mining operations in the world.

We invite you to visit our web page: http://www.guatemala.gc.ca

Ambassador of Canada to Guatemala (gtmla@international.gc.ca)

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