Huge initiative for mining to alleviate poverty in Latin America

Last week former US President Bill Clinton announced his foundation is launching a new sustainable development initiative in Latin America, the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI), thanks to the major financial commitment of two prominent philanthropists, Frank Giustra and Carlos Slim Helú. Giustra, a Canadian businessman, has pledged a minimum of $100 million to the effort, as well as one half of all of his future earnings from his work in the natural resources sector. He has also been the driving force to bring together a coalition of mining industry and non-industry actors that will make CGSGI possible. Carlos Slim Helú, the Chairman of Grupo Carso, has already answered Giustra’s call for financial commitments to CGSGI and committed at least $100 million to CGSGI’s work in Latin America.

Mining companies around the world are joining in, and are widening the scope of this initiative into Africa.

“Collective action is the best strategy to address the economic, educational and health hurdles that confront millions in the developing world,” said Clinton. “I’m proud of the coalition in the natural resources industry that has come together to invest in sustainable growth in emerging economies, and humbled by the enormous financial commitment to this work by Frank Giustra and Carlos Slim. This initiative will focus on improving living conditions in Latin American countries and other nations, in partnership with the mining industry and other sectors. Ultimately, our goal is to bridge the gap between the rich and poor, and give all people a shot at a better life.”

CGSGI will focus on alleviating poverty in the developing world and build on the Clinton Foundation’s successful record of implementing and scaling-up development initiatives in other countries. The Clinton Foundation will act as the implementing partner, bringing together key stakeholders from the natural resources sector as well as the business community in the developing world. Participating companies from the mining industry will have a key role in CGSGI. To date, over 20 resource, resource finance and supporting companies have endorsed or signed on as partners to the initiative.

“I am honoured to join President Clinton in launching the Clinton-Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative,” said Giustra. “I firmly believe that this innovative partnership between the Clinton Foundation and the business community – and the mining industry in particular – will have a profound and positive effect on the lives of countless people in the developing world during the months and years ahead.”

The new initiative will focus its efforts in Latin America and other parts of the developing world, and will identify opportunities to assist local leaders in addressing social, economic, and environmental issues in a cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable way, consistent with the Foundation’s proven track record on health and development elsewhere in the developing world. CGSGI will engage other partner organizations, NGOs, and national governments as necessary to develop programmes at costs that can be borne by local communities.

“Latin America faces major challenges related to poverty and education, and these needs go beyond any single country, industry, or donor,” said Slim. “CGSGI is an innovative partnership that’s similarly far-reaching. CGSGI will play a critical role in shaping the future of the region.”

There are over 2,000 listed mining companies around the world with a combined estimated market capitalization in excess of $1 trillion. CGSGI will work with participating companies that are working in the developing world to implement sustainable systems that serve the community long after a mine in that country has been closed. A number of major resource, resource finance and supporting companies have agreed to partner with or support this new initiative.

“The Clinton Foundation has been making headlines for several years now by taking a fresh look at problems that seem intractable – and then crafting bold and highly effective solutions,” said Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Moreno. “While Latin America has made great progress in recent years – particularly when it comes to political and economic stability – there are still pockets of critical need, such as access to clean water and better education, which cry out for new approaches. So I am thrilled that CGSGI will work with governments, business leaders, and NGOs to find innovative and scalable solutions to critical issues in Latin America and elsewhere. At the Inter-American Development Bank, we are convinced that the public-private partnerships so effectively leveraged by the Clinton Foundation offer the best hope for addressing Latin America’s problems.”

“Canaccord Capital and GMP Securities, as two of the leading underwriters in the mining industry, have agreed to support this initiative and will work with its corporate mining clients to allocate some portion of the underwriting proceeds in this sector to the CGSGI.” said Gene McBurney, Chairman, GMP Securities and Paul Reynolds, President, Canaccord Capital.

Paul Stein, Co-Chair, Cassels Brock’s Mining Group: “We jumped at the opportunity to participate in the initiative. We are honoured to participate in this natural resources industry initiative to alleviate poverty in developing countries. As part of Cassels Brock’s Dare to Care program, the firm endeavours to extend its commitment to client service beyond the legal environment and into its shared communities. In addition to its financial contribution, Cassels Brock will be providing legal services to the initiative on a pro bono basis.”

Serafino Iacono, CEO, CoalCorp said: “Our CoalCorp mining operations in Colombia give us a unique perspective on the importance of developing and fostering a sustainable economy. For us, and many other mining firms like ours, the opportunity to be a part of the CGSGI is a practical opportunity to further demonstrate our long-term commitment to this country, its economy and the people who are working with us. As a result, CoalCorp has confirmed its support and commitment to help fund the CGSGI.”

Ronald Pantin, CEO, CSX: “The initiative represents an international opportunity for CSX and other firms to combine their resources and networks in support of worthwhile projects that help build sustainable local economies. We appreciate the chance to support and help fund this unique and timely global initiative. We’re looking forward to being a part of the effort, particularly in Colombia, which is home to our resource operations.”

Glenn Ives, North American Mining Leader, Deloitte & Touche (Canada): “[We] will be supporting it by providing structuring advice and project evaluations.” While Neil Woodyer, CEO, Endeavour Financial noted: “We’re particularly pleased to support the important work of this international effort by covering its staff and administrative costs, as well as providing additional ongoing financial support. For some time now, we’ve watched with tremendous interest as the President and Frank worked to take this remarkable opportunity off the drawing board and turn it into a reality. Consequently, while Frank has stepped down as our Chairman, we are pleased and proud that he will remain as a key consultant and important part of Endeavour’s work in the years ahead. Finally, like so many others in the world’s mining industry, we’re eager to get on with the work of the CGSGI.”

“Along with many other stakeholders in the resource industry, Gold Fields recognizes the significant challenge, but also opportunity, that many developing countries face, leveraging their mineral wealth to create sustainable economic growth, which can benefit the people of that country. Similarly, at a local community level, the priority of using mining activity to develop alternative enterprises to sustain development post mining continues to be a significant, but largely unrealized, opportunity in many of the environments in which we operate. As such Gold Fields is pleased with the establishment of this exciting initiative and we look forward to engaging the CGSGI in the countries in which we operate,” said Ian Cockrill, CEO, Gold Fields.

“Lundin for Africa (LFA), the charitable foundation supported by the Lundin Group of companies, has expressed a desire to work in partnership with CGSGI to pursue development initiatives in Africa. LFA is presently participating in numerous poverty alleviation projects throughout the continent. The Lundin Group has developmental and operating mineral projects in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. Lundin for Africa and CGSGI will work together to source, fund and implement an array of development programs across Sub-Saharan Africa,” explained Paul K. Conibear, Director, LFA

“With offices in 14 major cities around the world and 1,500 lawyers, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw is one of the world’s largest law firms with a truly integrated global mining capability,” explained Ian Coles, Senior Partner. “As a result, our firm is very enthusiastic in its support of the CGSGI. Together, President Clinton and Frank Giustra, have reminded all of us in the international mining community that we have the capacity and resources to build strong local economies that offer hope and opportunities to individuals and families in the countries where we do business. By working with industry, local governments and other leading international organizations and stakeholders, the CGSGI is building a uniquely credible network of support that is committed to delivering sustainable results.”

Gordon Peeling, President and CEO said that The Mining Association of Canada was proud to endorse “the ground-breaking CGSGI, which will bring necessary attention to the challenges of resource development in the developing world and help optimize the significant benefits that can and should come from this activity. By partnering with the CGSGI, the global mining industry has an opportunity to demonstrate to the world the critical role it can play in poverty alleviation, one of the key millennium development goals.”

Wayne Murdy, CEO, noted Newmont’s role as a founding member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM). “Newmont is committed to contributing to long-term economic development and poverty reduction in the communities were we operate. We are excited about the initiative that President Clinton and Frank Giustra are launching through the CGSGI to promote sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty. We look forward to collaborating with CGSGI and others on identifying practical ways that industry, governments and civil society can work together to enhance positive socio-economic outcomes from mining projects in developing countries such as Peru, where Newmont has operations”

Robert Cross, Chairman, Northern Orion Resources said he was “proud to commit a portion of my future profits to this innovative program, and I look forward to working together and to considering an expansion of my commitment over time.”

“At Pacific Stratus,” said Jose Francisco Arata, CEO, “we understand the power of partnerships, one of the key reasons we have committed to support and help fund the CGSGI. President Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra have given industry, government and international and local organizations the chance to work together with the aim of alleviating poverty and building solid economies. It’s a big job but it demonstrates that we really do live in a small world. We’re looking forward to having our team in Colombia work with them on the ground, providing a us with the opportunity to make a positive difference in many, many lives.”

“Together with our 7,000 members across the country, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, is pleased to support and endorse the initiative,” said Patricia Dillon, President. “We look forward to sharing the details with our member organizations and finding practical ways in which we can help now, and in the months and years to come.”

“Teck Cominco supports the initiative to alleviate poverty and advance sustainable development,” said David Parker, Director, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability. “We look forward to working with CGSGI, host governments, and other stakeholders to develop strategies to maximize the contribution of mining and metals production to sustainability in developing countries like Peru, where Teck Cominco has operations.”

Stock exchanges too are involved – the two most important in mining anyway. Martin Graham, Director of Markets and Head of AIM, London Stock Exchange said: “We believe that resource companies have the ability to be a force for good in the markets in which they operate. We support this initiative in its aim to promote best practice across the sector.” And from the TSX, Richard Nesbitt, CEO, commented that “mining is recognized around the world for its economic potential, a key factor in the ongoing success of the initiative. By putting the industry’s talent, resources and global connections to work on behalf of sustainable economic development, this unique initiative will have the capacity to deliver powerful and positive results. Consequently, the Toronto Stock Exchange is proud to endorse and support the work which is about to get underway.”

“UniCredit Group is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in Europe,” Philipp Reimnitz, head of mining and metals, explained. “At HVB its investment banking activities are bundled. HVB is one of the leading global mining finance houses with a 20 year track record and a global reach. Few other industries in the world can match the international perspective of the mining and metals production sectors. UniCredit/HVB shares that important perspective and, as a result, we are very pleased to lend our support and contribute to President Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra as they work with the world’s mining industry. Alleviating poverty, while building strong local economies, is, by any measure, a considerable undertaking. Nevertheless, we believe that the international mining community has the connections, resources and talent to produce impressive results.”

“Success has always come with certain responsibilities and opportunities to make a difference,” said Frank Holmes, CEO, U.S. Global Investors. “In today’s world, we’re all global citizens and each of us has a duty to protect the environment and enhance the economic sustainability of communities where we work and invest. Consequently, all of us at US Global are looking forward to working in partnership with the CGSGI to ensure that resource companies make a positive difference in developing countries and economies. To that end, we’ll be monitoring the companies in which we invest, and encouraging the positive role they can make in the countries where they do business. The CGSGI is certainly a big idea with an ambitious agenda. But, when you combine the talent and reach of President Clinton, Frank Giustra and the world’s mining industry, success is inevitable.”

Finally, Pierre Lassonde, Chairman of the World Gold Council, whose 23 members represent 60% of the world’s accountable gold production, offered the WGC’s endorsement “for responsible and sustainable development of natural resources as a means of reducing poverty and for the advancement of social wellbeing in the developing world”