Mining companies and communities come together to discuss sustainable local development

Supported by USAID/Brazil, the Sustainable Territories Program (STP) is promoting reflections on the relationship between mining companies and the communities and territories in which they operate. This initiative builds on the STP’s previous collaboration with Mineração Rio do Norte (MRN) and the Amazon Conservation Team (ECAM), the USAID implementing partner that recently launched the Quilombola Fund.

The workshop on “Financial Investment and Resource Transfer in Mining Territories”, which took place in Belém, state of Pará, on October 29 was a first step towards building a framework for the transfer of resources or financial investments between mining companies and territories aiming to contribute to the development of impacted territories.

 t brought together representatives of the Brazilian Mining Institute (IBRAM) and major mining companies operating in the country: Vale, Anglo American, Hydro and Alcoa. Participants also included members of the Association of Remaining Quilombo Communities of the Municipality of Oriximiná (ARQMO), which supported the creation of the Quilombola Fund; and the Sustainable Juruti Institute (IJUS) – representing communities involved in the Sustainable Juruti Program promoted by Alcoa in the municipality of Juruti. ECAM and USAID, which play an active role in facilitating private sector engagement to promote sustainable development, also attended. 

Bruno Gomes, a partner at Humana, a sustainability and local development consultancy firm involved in the project, has been working with ECAM on models and solutions that could be replicated across the sector. According to him, the key objective is to agree on the essential elements for implementing financial mechanism arrangements in communities that should be present in models to be replicated in the future. “Participation, planning, transparency, institutional capacity building and community autonomy were among the key topics discussed. USAID has a great deal of experience in such processes. Companies invest resources in local development, with direct transfer to communities, which entails a series of challenges.” 

“Experiences that are running efficiently need to be increasingly shared to impact more people and regions. In addition, it is gratifying to be able to share our experience and lessons from the Sustainable Juruti Program” said Barbara Spínola, IJUS Executive Secretary.

The idea is to come up with a reference document – based on concrete experience – that can serve as a benchmark, including the essential requirements and generic tools that would enable other sectors to use it in the future. IBRAM has offered a slot at the 2020 ExposIbram (considered the Brazilian biggest mining event) in which to present this experience.