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Understanding corporate–Aboriginal agreements on mineral development: A conceptual framework

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Negotiation of legally binding agreements between mining companies and Aboriginal groups represents a critical aspect of CSR in resource-rich industrialised countries such as Australia and Canada and, increasingly, in developing countries (Banks and Ballard 1997: Appendix 1; Brew 1998; ICME 1999; IIED and WBCSD 2002; Langton et al. 2004; O'Faircheallaigh 2006a; O'Reilly and Eacott 1999; Sosa and Keenan 2001). The negotiation of agreements is generally regarded as a positive sign of a new willingness by mining companies to engage with Aboriginal groups in a serious and sustained manner, to share with them the wealth generated by mining on Aboriginal lands, and to allow them a say in the manner in which mines are developed and operated (Environmental Law Institute 2004: 11, 13–14; ICME 1999: vii; Keon-Cohen 2001; Meyers 1996; Miranda et al. 2005: 69–70; Senior 1998). Typical of this view is the statement by the CEO of Falconbridge Ltd on the signing of an agreement between his company and the Nunavik Inuit for the development of the Raglan nickel mine in Northern Quebec: ‘With its commitment to the people of Nunavik, the Raglan Agreement stands as a landmark in Canadian mining history and in the development of the Canadian North. Raglan marks the beginning of a new era in mining’ (cited in ICME 1999: 30).
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Keywords: agreements; conceptual; corporate–Aboriginal; development; framework; mineral

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 12 November 2008

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