Oxfam commends new mining industry social commitments, urges further action on water protection

By Oxfam

New framework from Anglo American and Kellogg Innovation Network endorses disclosure and consent, takes limited steps towards protection of water bodies 

New York – International relief and development organization Oxfam America commends a new framework endorsed by mining companies to improve their impact on communities and role in development, and urges deeper commitments protecting water. The “Development Partner Framework” was developed in a dialogue process involving Anglo American, Vale, AngloGold Ashanti and the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN), and launched today.

The framework endorses many of the principles that Oxfam America has been advocating for, including full payment and contract disclosure and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). An earlier version also called for avoiding mining in areas that will require the destruction of existing natural bodies of water and the permanent treatment of water pollution caused by mining. 

“This framework is progress for the mining industry in addressing its role in local development,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. “We look forward to engaging with affected communities, the industry, governments and civil society to discuss how the principles set out in the document can be implemented in practice. We are particularly eager for companies to implement full project-level payment disclosure and FPIC, and fully commit to protecting water resources from permanent pollution and destruction.”

The Development Partner Framework’s goal is to shift the mining industry from its current business model towards becoming an integrated and proactive partner in sustainable, responsible development. The Framework recognizes that the impacts of mining on local food security should be taken into account and that the long-term cumulative impacts of multiple mines operating in proximity to each other must be taken into account as well. Very importantly, it states that mining should not be taken as a given, that there are situations in which mining is not appropriate. The Framework includes a more limited commitment to avoiding permanent impact on water and the destruction of water resources.

Oxfam supports the right of communities to determine whether and how mining takes place. Oxfam staff frequently engages with companies to help support communities and ensure that mining revenues go to pro-development spending reduce poverty and inequality. Oxfam also emphasizes the importance of active citizenship and accountable government institutions to protect communities’ right to know and decide.

“Companies realize that if they are going to achieve a social license to operate from the communities in which they work, they have to change the way they operate,” said Offenheiser. “Given ongoing and serious human rights and environmental issues, companies must quickly move to action and consistency across the industry.”

Oxfam will use the framework in dialogue processes with mining companies and in support of legal and policy reform around the world. Next year, Oxfam will launch the latest edition of its Community Consent Index, which documents oil and mining companies’ policies on community engagement, including FPIC.

The Development Partner Framework is available here: http://www.kinglobal.org/catalyst.php

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