Letter to EDC President - May 29, 2002

May 29, 2002

Mr. Ian Gillespie
President and Chief Executive Officer
Export Development Canada
151 O’Connor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1K3

Dear Mr. Gillespie:

I am writing you today on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Export Development Canada to ask if Export Development Canada (EDC) is considering supporting the following projects:

1.   Alumysa aluminum smelter in southern Chile (Noranda)

2.   Tambo Grande gold mine in Peru (Manhattan Minerals)

3.   Rosia Montana Gold Corporation gold mine in Romania (80% owned by Gabriel Resources Canada)

In recent requests to EDC about its consideration of specific projects, we have been referred to its website.  However, projects are posted on the website only after it has taken the decision to support a specific project.  Only too often, this means that it is too late for affected communities to provide their input into the process.

Although EDC’s Environmental Review Directive states that it “expects that for each Category A project public consultations with affected parties, if any, will be held in the host countries”, leaving the onus on the project sponsor to conduct these consultations has systematically meant that these consultations will not happen.  This point is especially true if the project sponsor is “expected” rather “required” to conduct community consultations.  In a recent meeting with some members of your staff (May 15, 2002), we were assured in earnest that community input is very important to EDC.

If community input is indeed important to EDC, a different mechanism needs to be put in place.  Communities need to know when EDC is considering supporting a project so that they are provided the opportunity to give EDC their perspective, thereby allowing EDC to make a more informed decision.  It is for this reason that it is imperative that communities in southern Chile, Peru, and Romania know about EDC consideration of Alumysa, Tambo Grande, and Rosia Montana Gold Corporation.

I look forward to hearing your response at your earliest convenience regarding EDC’s consideration of the three abovementioned projects.  If indeed EDC is considering supporting any of these projects, we would like to know what kinds of steps have been put in place for community consultation.

Sincerely yours,

Melanie Quevillon
NGO Working Group on Export Development Canada
A Working Group of the Halifax Initiative Coalition

Cc:      Sheila Fraser, Auditor General of Canada

The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew, Minister for International Trade