Current Projects

Ecuador: Towards a New Mining Era “Perspectives and Challenges”

SDSG is one of the organizers of the conference Ecuador: Towards a New Mining Era
“Perspectives and Challenges” 
coming up on the 14th of November in Quito. Luke Danielson will be presenting on Artisanal and Small-scale Mining.



Caterpillar Advisory Board

Luke Danielson serves on the advisory board of Caterpillar, providing annual feedback on the company’s sustainability report.

Intergovernmental Forum Mining Policy Framework Assessments

SDSG is working with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to develop and implement a methodology for national level assessments under the Intergovernmental Forum Mining Policy Framework (MPF). The MPF is a set of “best practices” developed by the 49 national governments that are members of the Intergovernmental Forum.  The assessments have been conducted in Uganda, the Dominican Republic and Madagascar and focus on the six major themes of the MPF: legal and policy environment, financial benefit optimization, socio-economic benefit optimization, environmental management, post-mining transition and artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). Comprehensive reviews of country reports, law and policy frameworks and literature, as well as field visits to interview government officials and other stakeholders are key to these assessments. Capacity building workshops with government leadership follow delivery of a final assessment report. 

International Bar Association Model Mine Development Agreement

At its 2009 Annual Meeting, the International Bar Association (IBA) Mining Law Committee established a project to prepare a Model Mine Development Agreement (MMDA) that can be used by mining companies and host governments when negotiating mine development agreements. SDSG served as the “secretariat” for this project, coordinating several rounds of multi-stakeholder outreach, leading development and maintenance of the MMDA Project website, and aiding in development of the text of “MMDA 1.0,” available at  SDSG continues to manage the project website and to administer remaining IBA MMDA funds.

The MMDA is now freely available to the public in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese at

 In September 2014, Luke Danielson spoke about the MMDA at the IBA Conference Mining in Africa: Opportunities and Legal Challenges.  Read more about the meeting at  

International Senior Lawyers Project – Mongolia

Mongolia hosts one of the largest copper-gold projects in the world, Oyu Tolgoi, in its South Gobi desert region, also home to nomadic herder communities that are working to protect their traditional culture and livelihoods while responding to the impacts and benefits of mining.  The country’s government seeks to expand development of its mineral resources and is working to advance a model mine development agreement and model community development agreement, with support from the World Bank.  The International Senior Lawyers Project invited SDSG to provide pro bono services, at the request of the Mongolian Government and in partnership with Ulaanbaatar-based Sustainable Development Consulting (SDC), to better inform stakeholders regarding good practice in community development agreements related to mining projects.  This project comes at an important stage in Mongolia’s development.

Luke Danielson and Kristi Disney spent a little over a week in Mongolia in November 2014 to conduct field work for this project.  They conducted a two-day multi-stakeholder workshop on community development agreements, and several other meetings and workshops in urban and rural regions on this topic. They also provided a short presentation on Environmental Impact Assessment and Mine Closure for the Ministry of Environment and Green Energy.  The project was a very rewarding effort that contributed to greater stakeholder awareness of community development agreements and introduced us to SDC, a Mongolian entity that has much in common with SDSG (see

One Earth Future-SDSG Research

 SDSG partnered with One Earth Future (OEF, see to organize and conduct a research workshop in Denver focused on resource development, communities and conflict, with the objectives of defining and conducting a research project on this topic.

The half-day research workshop was held on February 24, 2015 at Bryan Cave HRO.  The workshop was well attended by professionals from a range of disciples, including academics and practitioners.  SDSG completed this work on a pro bono basis and is exploring possible collaboration with OEF on a practical research project.

Upper Gunnison Basin Natural Resources Library

The objective of this project is to make data pertaining to natural resources and sustainability in the Gunnison Basin available online for research and educational purposes.  The library can be viewed at

World Bank Training Program on the Negotiation of Mine Development Agreements

SDSG is collaborating with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to develop and utilize curricula for training government officials to negotiate more beneficial and sustainable mine development agreements.  This project, funded by the World Bank and IISD, will make course materials available in English and French through regional training programs and partnerships.