Ecumenical Day of Reflection on Mining

The Archbishopof Canterbury and the President of the Methodist Conference todayhosted an Ecumenical Day of Reflection on Mining withrepresentatives of leading mining companies, as well asrepresentatives from non-governmental and other faith-basedorganisations at Lambeth Palace.

Work towardsthis day began late last year, when senior representatives of agroup of mining companies contacted first the Methodist Church andthen the Church of England to ask for Christian ethical input totheir conversations about the future of their industry. For miningcompanies, this is an on-going process, starting from therecognition that there needs to be a change in the way miningcompanies see themselves and how they operate, and that such atransformation can only happen with communities taking an activerole in the process.

Those involvedin this Day of Reflection hold diverse views regarding thecontribution of mining to society. The day provided an opportunityto explore those different perspectives, find common ground andbuild a shared understanding of what mining's role could and shouldbe.

In September2013, the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace hosted a Day ofReflection at the Vatican, attended by senior mining companyexecutives, led by the CEO of Anglo American, along with church andreligious civil society representatives. The 2014 Day of Reflectionon Mining will build a further strand in that conversation andseeks in particular to consider how mining can contribute to theCommon Good in the years to come. In preparation for this day,theologians and representatives of the Methodist Church, the Churchof England, and their investing bodies have made visits to mines inAustralia, Brazil, Chile, Ghana and South Africa.

The ReverendKenneth Howcroft, President of the Methodist Conference of GreatBritain, challenged participants, saying: "We are looking for newinsights, and a new vision, and something that we can take into thefuture."

The MostReverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, raised thedifficulties of understanding why "the natural resources curseundermines even responsible companies' best efforts, even in highlydeveloped countries," and why the "large majority of resource-richregions have not benefited from those resources in the long term".

    Mark Cutifani,CEO of Anglo American, said: "The mining industry is about peopleand relationships. This Second Day of Reflection in mining has beena time for introspection and sharing ideas in which we deliberatedwhat we as an industry contribute, and what we could contribute ifcreate real partnerships were created. If we do not reach out andcollaborate our industry is not sustainable."