In February 2019, CIRDI’s Learning program delivered training workshops on mine closure policy and environmental impact assessment for government personnel in Santa Cruz Province and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The workshop series had been requested by the Government of Argentina’s Ministry of Production, Secretariat of Mining, with whom CIRDI has been working with on the development of a national mine closure policy since 2016.
The training workshops provided a complete overview of mine closure planning beginning with conceptual planning at the feasibility stage. Using a blended learning approach, the training workshops built the capacity of participants to implement leading international and Canadian mine closure practices—adapted to the Argentinian context. This blended approach included presentations, case studies, breakout sessions, and peer-to-peer learning. Breakout groups included participants from a variety of ministries and regions as well as a diversity of gender and backgrounds. Peer-to-peer learning between members of the federal and provincial governments, civil society, and community representatives enabled stakeholders to cooperatively identify and think through suitable implementation approaches for the development of Argentina’s mining closure policy.
CIRIDI’s three cross-cutting themes of gender, environmental sustainability, and governance were all integrated into the Argentina workshop series. In addition to encouraging balanced participant gender representation, the workshops covered relevant social impact assessment topics. Environmental sustainability was a primary theme of the workshop series, which built the capacity within government to implement environmental policies and to assess the environmental aspects of mine closure. Lastly, the workshops addressed governance by directly building capacity within government to effectively develop and implement mine closure regulations and policies.
The February 2019 Argentina mine closure training workshop series was very positively received. Participants found that their knowledge of international closure policies, leading practices and environmental and social impact assessment was significantly deepened during the workshop. The workshop series received coverage from Diario Once, La Opinión, Agencia de Noticias Mineras Santa Cruz, and Conciencia Minera.
Leading Practices in Mine Closure and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment – Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz
On February 18, 19 and 20, CIRDI’s learning program and the Ministry of Production, Secretariat of Mining delivered the first of its February 2019 training workshops in Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz. This workshop covered leading practices in mine closure and environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA), and was attended by members of the Argentinian mining authority, other provincial agencies, the private sector, and universities.
The ESIA component of the workshop aimed to build its participants’ ability to undertake environmental and social impact assessments for mining projects and to align these projects with international best practices. Topics of interest in the ESIA process included biodiversity and habitats, ecosystems services, human rights, cumulative impacts, cultural heritage, community health and safety, indigenous peoples, labour and working conditions, and social inclusion. The ESIA component of the workshop also covered assessment methodologies, monitoring programs, and disclosure and participatory processes.
The mine closure component of the workshop featured a summary of international leading practices in mine closure, with a focus on examples from the Canadian context. Special attention was paid to the importance of early planning, given the number of mine closures planned in the short term in Argentina. Specific examples from local Argentinian projects were discussed as well.
The participant gender demographics for the three days of training workshops in Río Gallegos was 63% women and 37% men.
Policy Seminar on Leading Practices in Environmental and Social Impact Assessment – Buenos Aires
On February 22, CIRDI’s learning program and the Ministry of Production, Secretariat of Mining also conducted a half-day expert panel policy seminar on environmental and social impact assessment in Buenos Aires focusing on mine closure policy for ministerial staff. The seminar aimed to: facilitate discussion between government authorities, the private sector, and civil society; and strengthen participants’ abilities with respect to ESIA for mining projects and to align these projects with international best practices.
The participant gender demographics for the Buenos Aries policy seminar was 66% women and 34% men.