Welcoming Professor Sara Ghebremusse, Cassels Chair in Mining Law and Finance

June 05, 2023

Professor Sara GhebremusseWestern Law is pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Ghebremusse, PhD, as assistant professor and Cassels Chair in Mining Law and Finance.
Ghebremusse has been an assistant professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada since July 2018. She has degrees from the University of Alberta, Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, and York University.
She writes, researches, and teaches in the areas of mining law and governance, law and development, transnational law, and human rights. She has published in all these fields and has presented her research at conferences around the world.
Ghebremusse is the principal investigator of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council-funded project examining how Canadian mining conflicts in Tanzania and Zambia have contributed to institutional transformation in the two countries. She has also supported the development of the Allard School of Law’s first ever Executive Learning Program in Mining Law and Sustainability.
“We're delighted to welcome Sara to Western Law as the holder of the Cassels Chair in Mining Law and Finance,” said Christopher Nicholls, acting dean and professor at Western Law. “Sara is both an outstanding scholar and an excellent teacher, and I know she will be a wonderful addition to Western Law's scholarly community."
Professor Ghebremusse’s interest in mining law was sparked while completing her juris doctor at the University of Ottawa where she worked on two research projects related to mining in Africa. Soon after, two notable developments in mining — Choc v Hudbay Minerals Inc in Ontario, and Araya v Nevsun Resources Ltd in British Columbia — cemented her decision to pursue an academic career with mining as a key research interest.
“These exciting developments in mining had made it evident that this area of law — domestically, internationally, and transnationally — is contested and ripe for additional voices to add to the scholarship and advocacy that has already been undertaken by numerous scholars and activists,” said Ghebremusse.
“Since mining impacts the environment, human rights, and the economies of countries across the world, it’s critical that mining law especially accounts for the disparate effects on Indigenous peoples, local communities, and other vulnerable populations.”
Ghebremusse is currently engaged in a research project that examines two conflicts involving Canadian mining companies in southern Africa: Barrick Gold Corporation in Tanzania, and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. in Zambia.
Her project explores how these multi-faceted disputes have produced conflicting outcomes, from the resolution of the tax disagreements and creation of the first company-driven dispute settlement mechanism in Africa, to ongoing community grievances in both jurisdictions. She will consider how these different, intersecting elements have transformed state institutions and mining governance in Tanzania and Zambia.
“The environmental and human rights impacts [of mining] should not be overlooked during this rush for the critical minerals needed in the transformation to a greener economy,” said Ghebremusse. “I am excited that Western Law is not shying away from these much-needed conversations by recruiting a chair in Mining Law and Finance at this time.”