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Mining and the common good 

Exploring how everyone can flourish

We need mining. But we can do better to ensure mining benefits everyone. Mining should enable everyone affected to flourish. This perspective is not only shared by the churches but by some leading mining companies too. A few years ago, they approached the Catholic Church in the Vatican, the Methodist Church of Great Britain, and the Church of England to explore how the churches could convene conversations about how mining could be better. And so the Mining and Faith Reflections Initiative (MFRI) was born, bringing together global mining CEOs and senior executives with church leaders from around the world.

I was approached because I had led Methodist Church engagement with Anglo American prior to and after an investment was made, and I have helped the effort since on behalf of the Methodist Church. The churches have convened regular Days of Reflection, during which mining CEOs have been challenged about their approach and have been able to explore issues with churches. I am inspired by these conversations because they take place in a spirit of mutual respect and with a commitment to thinking together about different ways of 'doing' mining. It is possible to listen, and to talk, without having to change one's position on a subject but progress is made if participants are open to understanding different perspectives and re-examining their own ideas in that light.

The churches' view on mining was well expressed by Pope Francis, addressing a meeting of church and mining leaders at the Vatican in 2019, which I was honoured to attend. Pope Francis said that ““We need to ensure that mining activities lead to the integral human development of each and every person and of the entire community.” An account of that meeting, including a photo of those of us who attended, can be found here. Pope Francis's address can be read here.

MFRI participants work on the following basis:

Those involved in the MFRI share a vision for mining to serve the common good better, by enabling those engaged and affected by its activities to lead lives that are fulfilled, just and reflect human dignity and respect. They do so with regard for both current and future generations.

The MFRI aims to:

  • enable and support a dialogue and relationship between the churches and mining companies
  • be a catalyst for meaningful conversations in ways that encourage openness, honesty and the sharing of different perspectives on mining
  • encourage genuine and sustainable change in mining and its contribution to outcomes, building on successful work and noting that mining needs to keep pace with social and environmental challenges
  • incorporate perspectives from church leaders, church organisations and church investors, mining executives and companies, industry associations, communities and development NGOs
  • encourage an increased knowledge of mining, its impacts and contributions to the common good, through global dialogues and local site visits
  • act as a catalyst to bring together local faith and mine leaders.

Our values

  • As we pursue these objectives, there are three values that underpin the work of the MFRI:
  • Accountability: towards each other and our constituents, at the international and national level;
  • Respect: for the roles, independence, and perspectives of participants;
  • Openness: when considering different perspectives.