Gaining a Voice: Collaborative Planning through Impact Benefit Agreements

By Debra Jenkins

Over the past 25 years, exploration of mineral and petroleum resources grew steadily and primarily on Aboriginal lands. The impact of the mining on treasured lands, cultural traditions, and communities became a serious concern of Aboriginal and Northern communities. In addition, the benefits of mining the lands were often not shared fairly, leaving communities poverty stricken while natural resources were depleted or destroyed.

In response, Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs) were initiated to ensure Aboriginal interests in the land and resources are recognized before, during and after mining projects. Though IBAs are specific to Aboriginals, they advance the principles of social license, or gaining community support for projects, and corporate social responsibility during land-use planning processes.

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