August 27, 2015

ABA ROLI Publishes a Practical Toolkit for Mining Communities

August 2015

In June 2015, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) published a practical toolkit on mining, human rights and community development. The resource is designed to empower Guinean civil society organizations (CSOs), government authorities and citizens alike as they strive to make sure the exploitation of natural resources improves local residents’ lives.


The toolkit addresses several industrial mining-related issues, such as the impacts of industrial mining and ways to assess and minimize those impacts; the rule of law, human rights and the roles of relevant actors and stakeholders; conflict and violence prevention through negotiation, participatory planning of land use and community consultations; potential benefits of mining and community development agreements; and ways to document and monitor a mining company’s impact.


Guinea holds one-third of the world’s bauxite reserves, significant deposits of gold and diamonds, and some of the world’s most prized iron ore deposits. ABA ROLI developed the toolkit in response to local concerns identified through community consultations and with input from local stakeholders, as well as national and international experts. The toolkit provides CSOs and government officials with the knowledge and tools needed to help local communities seek legal protections and employ alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to reduce the negative impacts of industrial mining and improve benefit-sharing. The toolkit also fosters meaningful citizen involvement in making decisions about resource extraction projects and in monitoring such undertakings.

In a written statement, Hady Barry, principal advisor on land acquisition and human rights, and Etienne Lamy, principal advisor on communities and social performance, both from the mining company Rio Tinto, said the toolkit “will protect with some effectiveness the rights of local populations affected by mining projects in Guinea.” The mining company officials added that the toolkit provides well recognized mechanisms for framing impact assessments, conducting consultations and formulating complaints. The said, “The toolkit also addresses the rights of mining companies that invest in Guinea, the absolutely key role of the state, the balance that must be found and identifies the ‘grey areas’ where problems or conflicts may emerge.”

Written in a question-and-answer format, the toolkit addresses several industrial mining-related issues, such as the impacts of industrial mining and ways to assess and minimize those impacts; the rule of law, human rights and the roles of relevant actors and stakeholders; conflict and violence prevention through negotiation, participatory planning of land use and community consultations; potential benefits of mining and community development agreements; and ways to document and monitor a mining company’s impact.

The guide draws on Guinea’s mining code and related legislation, regional and international human rights laws, as well as industry best practices. It also incorporates case studies from mining-affected communities around the world. It has been well received by stakeholders, including local communities, government authorities and mining company representatives.

Moriba Sossouadounou of the Ministry of Agriculture said, “This toolkit is of the utmost importance for our country, which every day is developing its mineral potential and thus causing agricultural impacts in rural areas.” Representatives of Guinean civil society organizations agreed. “I believe, fundamentally, that this toolkit will bring qualitative changes to all parties involved in the process of the exploitation of our resources,” said Aboubacar Diallo, program coordinator for the rights of mining-affected communities with the non-governmental organization International Trade Centre for Development (locally known as CECIDE). “I remain convinced that this document will be attractive to all actors.”

You can access the toolkit at the following links: full-length toolkit in French; abridged version in French; or abridged version in English.

To learn more about our work in Guinea, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.