September 10, 2007
Ms. Karyn Keenan and Mr. Denis Tougas
c/o The Halifax Initiative
153 Chapel Street
Dear Ms. Keenan and Mr. Tougas:
Thank you for your recent letter, dated June 8, which was faxed to us and posted on the Halifax Initiative Web site.
Your letter covers a number of issues to which I will respond. Let me begin by saying that I was delighted that the Halifax Initiative, Entraide missionaire, and other non-governmental organizations were able to participate in the workshop that was co-sponsored by Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) on socially responsible practices in the mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The participation of NGOs, particularly those with in-country experience, in a multi-stakeholder dialogue greatly helps to enrich the debate and to find a way forward in a challenging situation such as mining in the DRC.
As you are aware, EDC actively participated as part of the Steering Committee in the National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries. We read The Advisory Group's Report on the National Roundtables with interest, particularly those recommendations pertaining specifically to EDC. At this point, it is premature for EDC to comment on The Advisory Group Report prior to the release of the Government of Canada's reaction to those recommendations.
With regard to the Tenke Fungurume Copper/Cobalt Project in the DRC, when evaluating any similar undertaking, EDC follows a rigourous due diligence process, which includes an evaluation of the potential environmental and social impacts. Specific areas of due diligence for this project would include legacy issues of the Congolese mining sector; host government capacity; rule of law; and security concerns. We believe that the results of exercises like the workshop referred to earlier enhance our assessment of these issues. Moreover, we are reviewing this project against the relevant World Bank environmental guidelines and policies.
Your letter refers to the ongoing review process in DRC with respect to mining contracts. EDC along with all parties involved in the discussions of financing for the Tenke Fungurume project will continue to monitor closely developments related to this review.
In accordance with EDC's CSR commitments, we have posted the Tenke Fungurume project on the D3. Environmental & Social Reporting page of our website. This posting, includes project contact details and a link to environmental assessment information that has been made publicly available by the project sponsors. In this manner, we are able to fulfill our commitment to transparency about projects that have potentially significant environmental and social impacts.
If there are specific questions that you have about our processes or evaluation of the Tenke project, EDC officials would be pleased to meet with you.
I hope that we are able to continue to exchange views on these matters of mutual interest.