The newly appointed Pope, Francis I, has called on miners to ensure they fulfill their environmental responsibilities and treat workers fairly.
It was the first time that a number of senior global mining executives from companies such as Anglo American and Rio Tinto gathered together with the Pope to discuss the mining industry.
Speaking to a number of mining representatives earlier this month during the Day of Reflection the Pope called on them to “reflect on the importance of their human and environmental responsibilities.
“In other words, they wish to make a serious examination of conscience on what must be done so that their industry may offer a constant positive contribution to integral human development.”
He stated that “mining, like many other industrial activities, has ecological and social consequences which go well beyond national borders and pass from one generation to the next.,”adding that the industry can not repeat the errors of the past.
“Decisions today cannot be taken solely from geological perspectives or the possible economic benefits for investors and for the states in which the companies are based,” he said.
“A new and more profound decision-making process is indispensable and inescapable, one which takes into consideration the complexity of the problems involved, in a context of solidarity. Such a context requires, first of all, that workers be assured of all their economic and social rights, in full accordance with the norms and recommendations of the International Labour Organization.
“Likewise it requires the assurance that extraction activities respect international standards for the protection of the environment. The great challenge of business leaders is to create a harmony of interests, involving investors, managers, workers, their families,the future of their children, the preservation of the environment on both a regional and international scale, and a contribution to world peace.”