Monday, February 4, 2008

Gold mining is one of the dirtiest industries in the world – yet, the University of Guelph joins Kinross Gold on environmental protection initiatives?

TORONTO, ONTARIO, Jan 31, 2008 The University of Guelph and Kinross Gold Corporation today announced the creation of a new education and research network between Canada and Brazil to develop environmental initiatives focused on the use and remediation of land and water.

(Kinross Gold is so concerned about the environment, that it partnered with Barrick Gold (Cerro Casale) in Chile? See: Barrick Gold Mine Transforms Pacific Island )

Kinross is providing approximately $1 million in funding and in-kind logistical support over a three-year period to help establish the Kinross Canada-Brazil Network for Advanced Education and Research in Natural Resource Management (and Exploitation).

Co-ordinated by the University of Guelph, the network will involve university, government and private-sector partners in Canada and Brazil and provide opportunities for international collaboration and multidisciplinary research activities.

The network's major focus will be working with resource extraction industries on resource management initiatives, with the goal of minimizing environmental impacts, using natural resources more effectively and developing comprehensive strategies for rehabilitating disturbed lands.

Example of Disturbed Land

The network will explore novel methods to improve soil quality, such as processing mine wastes to use as fertilizer or soil conditioner. Researchers will also investigate ways to adapt (sounds quite natural) vegetation to grow on disturbed lands in order to improve soil and water quality and potentially provide biofuel feedstock (which will put the pollutants in the atmosphere).

"Both Brazil and Canada are nations whose culture, economy and political development are influenced significantly by their natural resources," said Kinross president and CEO (and former Barrick Gold executive) Tye Burt . "It makes sense that on issues of sustainable land and water use, Canadian and Brazilian institutions collaborate in a meaningful way."

(Leaving out that Brazil and other disadvantaged countries don't have near the environmental regulations that Canada does: "Chile is the best mining jurisdiction in the world... Canada is not a jurisdiction where I would like to develop a mine." says Centenario Copper CEO )

"We hope this network will prove a new partnership model for expanded co-operation between the private sector and outstanding educational and research institutions like the University of Guelph, as well as government (it cooperates already) and other partners," Mr. Burt added. "Our vision is to create a platform for exponential growth that will keep expanding to involve more partners and projects, building our collective knowledge base on how to manage resources responsibly."

(Before their greed destroys the planet: Radioactive Water, the Price of Gold in South Africa - no natural water in the whole area that was safe for use by humans, animals or plants. )

Richard Heck, a University of Guelph land resource science professor who helped create and will oversee the network, said students will be provided with valuable teaching and learning experiences. "Students want the opportunity to solve real-world problems - to actually help make a difference with the environment and with people's health and well-being."

Does this help the environment or people's well being?

Can't see it? Try here: Kinross Gold Mine Blasting

Alastair Summerlee, the University of Guelph's president and vice-chancellor, added that the network is a natural fit for the University, which is recognized globally for its environmental research and education programs and its stewardship.

(Alastair Summerlee ought to take a lesson from Al Gore: Al Gore Dumps Barrick Gold Sponsorship for Chile Visit - Mining sponsorship risked "contaminating" and making a mockery of Gore's campaign. )

"Kinross is an industry leader in sustainable resource management and is committed to corporate social responsibility," Summerlee said. "And our university has a reputation for its innovative approaches to protecting water, air and land. Working together, we can develop projects that can serve as models of sustainable development and be replicated by other corporations and in other regions."

(Very socially responsible: South Africa Disaster in a Gold Mine - Kinross Gold Corporation Mine Kills 177 in South Africa in 1986.)

Here is the full article.

Lets hope the students of the
University of Guelph have a real environmental conscience and take this up with their administration.

Update: Apparently some at the University are questioning the relationship and the decision of the administration to involve itself with Kinross Gold.