Avina seeks to promote forums for dialogue among diverse sectors that will
lead to the creation and spread of novel approaches to extractive activities.

W ith few exceptions, Latin America's current model of economic development is based on exporting primary goods, hydrocarbons and minerals. A variety of problems are linked to extractive industries: they create relatively few jobs relative to capital investments, they are energy-intensive, they concentrate income, and they are vulnerable to the volatility of international markets.  Furthermore, they generate negative impacts for the environment and for the communities and native peoples nearby. As investment in extractive industries grows in Latin America, the challenge is to find opportunities to increase its benefits to society and reduce its detrimental aspects.

 

What Avina Does for Extractive Industries

A vina has been supporting national initiatives related to mining for several years, mainly in Colombia, Chile and Peru.  In 2012, Avina’s planning process identified extractive industries, including mining, as a key challenge for Latin America over the next decade, due to the increasing pressure on regional non-renewable resources to meet spiking global demand.


Avina focuses on dialog, building trust between sectors as a way to reduce destructive activities and maximize positive impact for the environment, human welfare and quality of life.


Avina promotes the production, compilation and spread of knowledge about extractive activities, including how to prevent and manage the resulting environmental and social conflicts. These forums also provide guidance regarding the regulations necessary to encourage good governance, appropriate extractive technologies, voluntary initiatives for prevention, protection, security and reparations. The goal is to improve the extractive sector and create a new narrative based on its benefits.

 

These are some of the encouraging results related to Extractive Industries in 2012:

 

Mining, Democracy and Sustainable Development

In 2012, the Grupo de Diálogo Latinoamericano (Latin American Dialogue Group, GDLA) “Mining, Democracy and Sustainable Development” was created jointly by CARE Peru, Fundación Avina, Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (Latin American Future Foundation of Ecuador) and Fundación Cambio Democrático (Democratic Change Foundation of Argentina). This regional platform for exchange and collaboration consists of groups and initiatives focused on mining in different Latin American countries. Its current membership includes Colombia’s Permanent Dialogue Committee, the Mining Dialogue Initiative of Ecuador, Argentina’s Mining, Democracy and Sustainability Dialogue, the Group for Mining Dialogue and Sustainable Development of Peru and two new dialogue start-up processes in Chile and Brazil. These initiatives promote democratic and equitable dialogue about mining activity between leaders from government institutions, mining companies, civil society organizations, local communities, indigenous populations and universities. In addition to the direct contribution of its members, this forum has already received co-financing from the European Union. Avina has participated both as a member and as representative of the Mesa de Diálogo Permanente de Colombia (Permanent Dialogue Committee of Colombia), and will continue supporting the group as a strategic partner.

 

Permanent Dialogue Committee

In 2012, the Permanent Dialogue Committee of Colombia consolidated its position as a cross-sector forum where mining companies and civic organizations can debate openly and publicly about issues related to mining, the environment and human rights.


The Permanent Dialogue Committee was created in early 2011 with the goal of developing trust between the mining sector and civic organizations to create a new mining model based on responsible use of natural resources, human dignity and economic development that benefits society.  Since 2011, the forum has gained strength and is now widely recognized by all sectors in Colombia. The Committee includes participants from the main mining companies―Anglo American, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Cerrejon, Rio Tinto, Eco Oro, CCX, and Prodeco (Glencore), mining unions―Large Scale Mining Sector Association (SMGE), the Colombian Mining Chamber and Asomineros ANDI—and civic organizations ―Fundación Ideas para la Paz (Ideas for Peace Foundation), Conservación Internacional (Conservation International), Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris (New Rainbow Corporation), Fundación Natura (Natura Foundation), Foro Nacional por Colombia (National Forum for Colombia), World Wildlife Fund, Colombian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CECODES), Amazon Conservation Team, Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES), Transparencia por Colombia (Transparency for Colombia), Red de Jóvenes (Youth Network), Tropenbos International, Instituto de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Paz, or Indepaz (Institute for Studies for Development and Peace), Pax Christi, Epopeya Colombia, ­ Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente, or AIDA (Association for Environmental Defense), Lawyers Without Borders, Centro Internacional de Toledo para la Paz, orCITpax (Toledo International Center for Peace), the U.S. Department of the Interior, Gestión Ambiental Estratégica (Strategic Environmental Management), Razón Pública (Public Reason Foundation) and Fundación Avina.


Avina promotes this forum for dialogue in alliance with Gestión Ambiental Estratégica and Razón Pública.

 

Closing Down Former Mining Sites in Chile

 

Watch Fundación Avina’s video about the Chilean Mine Closure Law.

Chile, the quintessential mining country, is saddled with environmental liabilities from decades of mining operations, all told more than 500 tailing deposits and abandoned mining sites. Until last year, there were no laws requiring companies to shut down mining projects once they were no longer productive, or to remedy the environmental impacts caused by the mines.


As a response, in 2012 Avina supported the Chile Sustentable (Sustainable Chile) organization to create technical working groups, advice on legislation and advocate for a bill that would require new mining operations to assume responsibilities and financing for closing down the mines when production ends.

 

In November of 2012, the Chilean Mine Closure Act became law.  Its first objective is to “safeguard the life, health and safety of people”, in addition to managing “the physical and chemical stability” of tailing deposits and abandoned mines. Environmental restoration is an obligatory component of every mine closure plan, and design of the plan is linked to conditions stated in an Environmental Impact Assessment conducted before and after operations. Financial provisions required by the law assure resources are set aside for implementing the projected remediation projects.

 

Our main allies and co-
investors for this Opportunity in Development in 2012 were:
  • Gestión Estratégica Ambiental (Strategic Environmental Management): A private consultant and Avina's ally in facilitating the Permanent Dialogue Committee in Colombia.
  • Razón Pública (Public Reason foundation): Avina’s ally in facilitating the Permanent Dialogue Committee through its virtual magazine, Razón Pública.
  • CARE Peru: The main facilitator of the Group for Mining Dialogue and Sustainable Development in Peru and one of the main catalysts for the Latin American Dialogue Group.
  • Chile Sustentable (Sustainable Chile): An organization responsible for legislative tracking and support to various sustainable development bills in Chile.
  • Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (Latin American Future Foundation): An organization in charge of coordinating Ecuador’s mining dialogue group.
  • Fundación Cambio Democrático (Democratic Change Foundation): In charge of coordinating dialogue in Argentina.
  • Agenda Pública (Public Agenda: A catalyst of the incipient dialogue initiative in Brazil.
  • Fundación Casa de la Paz(Peace House Foundation): A facilitator of the recent dialogue initiative in Chile.