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New information about UBC’s mining institute

Repost from Stop the Institute. More information about the Institute is available there.

There is a lack of public information about the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development (CIIEID, or simply “the Institute”), a new mining institute headquartered at UBC and led by UBC, Simon Fraser University (SFU), and the École Polytechnique de Montréal (EPDM). Because of its failure to respond to inquiries about its activities and structure we, as concerned students, have filed multiple Freedom of Information requests. Only one of these request was fulfilled, and even then incomplete and long past the date required by law. Conspicuously missing from the documents received were the letters from Goldcorp and World Vision (listed as partners/supporters on the Institute website), as well as several others. We obtained these in a follow-up request.

We requested the letters of support by the “strategic partners” of the CIIEID, a network of corporations, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and industry associations which support the Institute’s activities. We received 157 pages of letters, mostly from August 2012. We are releasing this information because we believe that the public, and especially communities who may be affected by the Institute’s activities, have a right to know the nature of these partnerships, and the value of the partners’ cash and in-kind contributions to the Institute.

The full files can be downloaded here and here.


The letters mention various projects that the Institute is planning to carry out. Since the letters are from 2012 and the composition of the Institute has changed since then, some of these projects may have been cancelled. Confirmed projects can be seen at the Institute website.

The letters include many references to projects in Uganda and other African countries.


African Minerals Limited confirmed its “support” and “participation as a project partner” to the Institute’s Sustainable Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (SASM) Project in Karamoja, Uganda. African Minerals’ mining operations in Sierra Leone have been associated with serious human rights abuses according to Human Rights Watch, and it is also mining in Uganda. The details of this project are not available, although mentions of CIIEID “improvement” of the ASM sector is supported in letters from Audeamus International Resources, Makerere University, Salama Shield Foundation, and the Embassy of Ireland in Kampala.

Audeamus International Resources, a “physical commodity brokering house” based in Uganda, also confirmed itself as a partner to the SASM project, as well as to the Support of Reforms of Mining Legislation in Uganda. This project is mentioned in the context of recent OECD requirements which “have debilitated the mineral trade in the region, impacting hundreds of thousands [of] artisanal miners and their families” and that “are soon to be enshrined in Ugandan law”. While these requirements are not explicitly named, this may be a reference to the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Region (RINR).

Another project, mentioned both in the Audeamus and Environmental Women in Action for Development (EWAD) letters, is the Extending Fair trade & Fair-mined Gold to Africa Project (EFFGAP), a partnership between the Fair Trade Foundation and EWAD, with the help of a “skilled team from CIIEID”. This project is taking place in the Busia and Abim districts of Uganda.

African Mining Vision

The letter of intent jointly signed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the CIIEID “concerning the implementation of the African Mining Vision under the aegis of the African Minerals Development Centre” is also available. This collaboration was announced in February of 2014, but it is not clear what the extent of CIIEID’s involvement will be. Although the African Mining Vision (AMV), according to Paula Butler and Evans Rubara, “appears to represent the ‘best offer’ to date that the international community has been willing to accommodate with regard to the distribution of benefits from mining”, they add the caveat that “[o]verall it remains unclear as to whether the AMV will[…] operate on terms set by African citizens and governments as opposed to terms set, whether directly or indirectly, by outside interests.”

Canadian mining companies have massive investments in Africa ($23 billion as of 2010), and the CIIEID is a Canadian institute with close links to the mining industry. To have it be a key player in the implementation of the AMV will not likely result in its operating “on terms set by African citizens and governments”.


It has previously been known that the strategic partners had committed some amount of in-kind and cash contributions to the Institute, but the specific amounts from each partner were not known until now. In addition to the cash contribution of $24.6 million put up by the federal government to found the institute, the $3.39 million direct and $3.3 million in-kind aid put up by UBC, $4.15 million by SFU, and $1.4 million by EPDM, an additional $9 million is sourced from the following universities, foundations, institutes, NGOs, and corporations.

Organization In-kind Cash
Canadian International Council $320,880
Carleton University $555,000
Ernst & Young $328,000
Universidade de São Paulo $329,183
Fasken Martineau $81,000
Instituto Nacional de Investigación Geológico Minero Metalúrgico (INIGEMM) $3,981,100
Lundin Foundation $120,000 $1,000,000
Institute for the Study of International Development (ISID) $174,000
Monkey Forest Social Development Consulting $30,000 per year $15,000
New Gold Inc. $250,000
On Common Ground $30,000 per year for up to five years
Saint Paul University $18,500
University of Guelph $678,264
World Wild Fund for Nature $728,256
Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta $133,200



The letters provide only a glimpse of the partners’ motivations for supporting the CIIEID. The support from companies associated with mining (both mining companies and law firms such as Fasken Martineau and Ernst & Young) and from industry associations suggest that these partners are expecting the CIIEID to be beneficial for business.

Keegan Resources, now known as Asanko Gold, expounds in its letter the need to address “environmental and social sustainability issues in their exploration and development activities”, presumably facilitated through the CIIEID, since

JMT’s [junior mining companies and mid-tier producers] are responsible for exploration and are often the first to enter areas that are often economically and socially fragile, the initial contact with the local community is crucial and often sets the tone for further developments, which often entails senior producers buying the right to develop the mine further.

Fasken Martineau, a law firm which has represented mining companies (for example, it represented the Canadian company Hudbay against a Guatemalan community alleging shootings and and rapes by Hudbay’s security forces) offers itself to “provide developing countries with valuable advice on how to transform their regulatory and policy environment to encourage responsible mining investment and development”.

Monkey Forest Social Development Consulting, an expert in “social performance management” (in other words, in managing community resistance to resource extraction projects),

would also like to specifically support the Institute’s activities in the areas of social risk and impact management with a focus on community, governmental and corporate relations, building both corporate and other practitioners’ capacity to raise the level of performance.

Additionally, several of the non-governmental partners have clear links to mining. For example, the Lundin Foundation and Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta are NGOs set up by mining companies. World Vision and World Wild Fund for Nature are members of the Devonshire Initiative, a program of the Canadian International Development Agency which sets up collaborations between mining companies and NGOs.