Case story

  • Canada

Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor - Request for review involving First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

Project in Mauritania

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Status: This request has been closed.

The request proceeded to Step 4 in the process, “informal mediation.” Activities that take place under this stage include desk research, interviews, information-gathering, discussions with the parties, discussions with other relevant parties, information exchanges, etc. It took some time to clarify the request and to ensure that elements of the request met the mandate of the Office. Some of the issues raised in the original request could not be accommodated and extensive discussions were required in order to proceed. In light of significant levels of exchange, dialogue and information sharing, at least in part what lay at the root of the request was incomplete information. The initial place to begin a resolution was through a closer-to-the-ground process.

During the informal mediation stage, it became clear that some of the information the requesters had was not complete. In subsequent information exchange, the Office was able to share some new information with the requesters that would both serve to address some of their existing concerns and provide a potential constructive and easy-to-access path forward for the requesters.

The Office of the CSR Counsellor is not a first resort mechanism. We encourage, as is best practice, the use of closer-to-the site grievance mechanisms in the first instance. In this case, an operational level mechanism does exist and we have encouraged the requesters to access that first.

Although outreach efforts have already been undertaken in a variety of forms and forums, the company will additionally consider hiring an independent local convener with knowledge of locally appropriate methodologies, to further raise awareness of the site level grievance process. This would be carried out with a view to ensuring that any difficult to reach groups are identified, prioritized and accommodated in outreach. The company has further committed to support the Canadian mining industry's collective re-evaluation of best practices for dispute resolution processes in light of the newly established UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The main issues of concern falling within the Counsellor’s mandate were ultimately identified as follows:

1. Environmental issues, including: a. Use of chemicals/hazardous materials b. Emissions/pollution prevention and control c. Groundwater contamination and conservation

2. Labour issues directly involving the company

3. Stakeholder engagement and consultation

Steps in the review process - file #2011-02-MAU

August 14, 2011 Step 1: A complete request for review was submitted to the Office.

August 14, 2011 Step 2: The Office acknowledged the request and forwarded a copy of the request to the company.

August 19, 2011 Step 3: The request passed the Office’s intake screening and the parties were advised accordingly. This screening determined eligibility of the request for the mandate of the Office; it did not endorse or validate any of the matters raised in the request.

August–January 2012 Step 4: The CSR Counsellor worked with the parties in informal mediation/trust-building. February 21, 2012 Request was closed.


Closing Report


Contributor(s): This article was modified by Csr-counsellor (4).