Kgotla with Stakeholders (Botswana)
Orapa Mine, Botswana, Saturday, May 18, 2013
Thank you for your warm welcome. I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this kgotla.
As you know, the Kerowe Diamond Mine, which I have just visited, is owned by a Canadian company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. In Canada, meanwhile, the Botswana government is part-owner of two large diamond mines operating in the Northwest Territories and in Northern Ontario.
Without a doubt, the well-being of Canadians and Batswana is closely linked when it comes to mining.
That is why I am so pleased to speak with you today and to hear your views on the impact of mining on your lives and communities.
Canadians have a great deal of expertise and experience in the mining sector, and we are also committed to respecting human rights, promoting democracy and strengthening the rule of law.
The people of Canada expect our mining companies to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible way, both at home and around the world. And we expect the same of foreign companies and governments operating in our own country.
That much is only fair, and Canada and Botswana are both fair countries.
I have a great deal of optimism for our potential as nations, communities and good corporate citizens to work together for our mutual prosperity and success. Mining can play an important role in building our economies and supporting our local communities.
To achieve our goals, we must commit to continuous dialogue and co-operation. We must work together in good faith to develop solutions that serve all stakeholders.
The well-being of local communities such as yours is non-negotiable. As the authors of the African Mining Vision—the pathway for sustainable, long-term development agreed to by African nations—have stated, we must ensure mining contributes to local development by making sure workers and communities see real benefits from industrial mining and that their environment is protected.
Canadian mining companies hear this message and are committed to working with communities in a socially responsible manner. The key words are respect, dialogue, co-operation and innovation.
Together, I am certain we can achieve lasting and mutual benefits for Batswana and Canadians.
I look forward to hearing your views and insights on this important matter.