sharing in governance of extractive industries
“New Tech, New Deal seeks expert and community-level input to help generate pragmatic proposals for how mining can make the fullest contribution to sustainable development”.
The past weeks conversations have been quite enriching and very informative too. I have read, participated and analysed the discussions with the view to synthesise and summarise the points as discussed.
My focus area is contained in the Topic as given above:
• New Tech, New Deal…
• To generate proposals for how mining can make the fullest contribution to sustainable (societal) development….
The content of the conversations covered quite a range of topics and a broad area. All in all, there appeared to be good convergence by the participants.
The following is a summary of the themes that emerges:
1. Participants generally agree that new technologies, in all forms, do impact employment, the livelihoods of communities and the revenues of host government, largely so, in resources dependent countries. Unless managed proactively, the impacts could be mostly adverse.
2. Technologies are already embedded in the industry with most mining companies already depended largely on high tech over the years. The concern raised, is the high speed at which these technologies is being introduced which directly affect the nature and types of current jobs where workers are replaced by technologies. Robots are likely going to be introduced soon.
3. This phenomenon and its potentially negative impacts must be mitigated.
4. Areas of probable solutions require a collective/partnership approach by mining companies and their OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers), host governments and communities. These collaborations require a departure from the tradition “profit taking” approach that has historically been adopted by mining companies.
5. These collaborators must adopt a sense of “a sharing of benefits consciousness” and commit to new ways of pursuing development-based business approaches that is Inclusive, Productive, Safe and Innovative.
In the conversations also emerged possible and practical solutions.
Participant agree that for locals to benefit, there must be speed of response to the challenge of Tech. There must be reforms in many ways namely;
• Governments role must be to introduce regulations and reforms to ensure that jobs are not “exported” and to ensure that there are no erosions of revenues to the host governments. In this case other forms of taxations need to be introduced to mitigate losses caused by technologies.
• Mining companies and local governments must commit to reskill affected employees well in advance and adapt vocational training curricula in line with New Technologies. These adjustments to education and vocational training must align with some of the legitimate motivations for New Tech, being Productivity Improvements to compensate for lower grades, Safety and access to deposit in depth not feasible for humans in land and in the oceans.
I wish to add a few points that are relevant to this topic and were not directly covered:
• I believe that that communities have in many ways been disadvantaged for many years. Hence the huge trust deficits in most areas affected by mining and in many ways to areas as is the case in some countries in Latin America. The discussions about community FPIC (Free Prior and Informed Consent) remains an area of contestation.
• The question of ethical Leadership in managing transitions/ changes of this nature, Magnitudes and Impact is required. Whilst the discussions are about the “the mine of the future”, there has to be a conversation about the Mining Company “CEO of the future”. There were comments about the livelihood of investors imposing the need for “Fair Deals” among the parties. We notice increasing investor activism with regards to Sustainable Development by companies and their commitment to the SDG’s plus more and more calls for ethical leadership.
• Mining companies must urgently adopt new approaches in order to be acceptable to host communities, not just host governments and lastly,
• The impacts of electronic and social media will place pressure on companies to offer “Fair Deals” to communities.
I have deliberately drawn no conclusions in anticipation to a very interesting and mentally challenging Roundtable in Paris. Already there was mention that these discussions will continue to evolve. My call to action to all involved is that we, as influencers, must overtake and outrun the pace of change regarding New Tech and establish the appropriate foundations, systems and processes for New Tech “smooth” implementations.
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