UBC, SFU win funding for $25 million mining institute

The Harper government announced today that it has awarded BC universities, Simon Fraser University and University of British Columbia, a $25 million grant to establish the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development.

The aims of the institute are to help ". . . developing countries benefit from their natural resources in environmentally and socially responsible ways."

The institute hopes that mining companies will share their knowledge and expertise.

Here is the full press release from UBC.

UBC, SFU to further global sustainable mining practices through $25M Institute

The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University will lead an international coalition to help developing countries benefit from their natural resources in environmentally and socially responsible ways.

The establishment of the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development (CIIEID), funded by a $25-million grant from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), was announced last October with an aim to sharing Canadian expertise in extractive industries. The selection of UBC and SFU to operate the Institute was announced today by the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation.

In 2008 alone, exports of oil and minerals from Africa, Asia, and Central America were valued at $1-trillion. Canadian companies, many headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., dominate the world’s mineral exploration and Canada relies heavily on its resource industries.

UBC’s research and education in the extractive sector spans nearly a century, with a strong emphasis over the past decade placed on sustainable development and corporate social responsibility through its Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering. SFU’s Beedie School of Business offers Canada’s longest-standing Executive MBA program for sustainable mining, and houses the Responsible Minerals Sector Initiative, fostering global dialogue for the extractive sector.

Building on the respective strengths at UBC and SFU and in partnership with Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, the CIIEID will offer developing countries best practice knowledge in extractive technology, public policy and regulations, and health and education outreach in order to empower industry, governments and non-governmental organizations to reduce poverty while protecting the environment.

Among the first tasks of the CIIEID include a strategic analysis of the sector, delivering of educational courses in Canada and overseas, and two conferences. The initial activities will focus on countries in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

BACKGROUND | Extractive Industries


Stephen Toope, President, the University of British Columbia

“Universities have – and must continue to play – an integral role in bringing forth new knowledge. UBC and SFU are uniquely positioned to lead in sharing and applying research and best practices in extractive industries to make indelible impacts.”

Andrew Petter, President, Simon Fraser University

“Today’s announcement highlights Simon Fraser University’s commitment to enhancing the social, economic and environmental well-being of communities both locally and around the globe. Drawing upon our strengths in international governance, dialogue and management, this new Institute will support the development of extractive resource governance processes that advance sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries.”

Bern Klein, Head, UBC Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering

“Through CIIEID, we will be able to share UBC’s extensive experience in outreach efforts in developing countries, such as the Global Mercury Project, which has already helped improve the health of artisanal miners in Latin America.”

Daniel Shapiro, Dean, SFU Beedie School of Business

“The issue of resource governance in emerging markets is a considerable challenge. With our colleagues at UBC, our extensive networks of collaborators, and our strengths in governance, sustainability and emerging markets, we at SFU are excited to take on this challenge.”

The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation

“The new institute will build on Canadian leadership in the management of natural resources in developing countries, which is critically important for sustainable economic growth. The University of British Columbia, leading the coalition, will now establish and operate a world-class institute that will deliver knowledge on proven regulation and oversight to help resource-rich developing countries create jobs and economic growth.”

Sharing extractive industry knowledge

The CIIED will share knowledge and best practices in extractive industries through new and existing research and education programs. For example:

Global Mercury Project

In small mining towns in Colombia, artisanal gold miners are using mercury and cyanide to extract minute quantities of gold. In the process, toxic chemicals are released into the environment and contaminating local food sources as well as bananas and shrimp that are exported globally. The Global Mercury Project (GMP), partially funded by the UN and led by UBC Mining Engineering Prof. Marcello Veiga, is working with mining communities around the world to address technical issues that will both increase production and improve the health and working conditions of miners. www.globalmercuryproject.org. For a video of artisanal mining research in Ugandan salt mines, visit youtu.be/7c088qqasB0.

GEMM 2020 Dialogue

At SFU, engaging leaders from communities, industry, NGOs and government is paramount to developing responsive research and best practices around mining leadership and governance. Through its Responsible Minerals Sector Initiative (RMSI), SFU’s Beedie School of Business hosts the annual Global Exploration, Mining and Minerals (GEMM) 2020 dialogue – a two-day event held in Vancouver, attracting diverse participants internationally to work towards sustainable economic and societal outcomes. For details about RMSI and GEMM 2020, visit: beedie.sfu.ca/rmsi/.

Aerial view of University of British Columbia by justiceatlast