Luke J. Danielson CV


President, Sustainable Development Strategies Group

116 N. Taylor St.

Gunnison, Colo., USA



Mr. Danielson is an attorney, professor, researcher and consultant on minerals policy, national development strategies, and environmental and social performance in the mining and oil and gas industries. He is known for his work both on international and national levels on minerals policies, and has worked with over a dozen governments, including Mozambique, Chile, Peru, and the Peoples Republic of China. He was a 2015 inductee into the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame for his contributions to Environmental Management and Stewardship.


Mr. Danielson was, Executive Director of the path breaking global Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development Project, a multi-million, multi-year project at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, where he managed a network of international staff and consultants across several continents, involving hundreds of stakeholders, forums, conferences, and reports. See The findings of the MMSD Project established the first work plan and agenda for the International Council on Mining and Metals.


He was also the founding Director of the Mining Policy Research Initiative, a project of the International Development Research Centre, which entailed supporting and conducting research on the social, economic and environmental impacts of mining investment in the 23 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.


He was a member of the International Bar Association committee that developed the Model Mining Development Agreement,, a tool for governments and investors to develop more stable and equitable mineral development agreements with improved development outcomes.


In the 1990s, Mr. Danielson was one of the three members of a commission established by the President of the World Bank Group to evaluate the environmental and social performance of the International Finance Corporation in the controversial Pangue Hydroelectric Project in Chile. The work of this panel, under the leadership of Dr. Jay Hair, led to the first binding version of the IFC Performance Standards and the creation of the Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman, IFC’s independent accountability mechanism.


Mr. Danielson is president and a co-founder of Sustainable Development Strategies Group (SDSG), a Colorado non-profit organization. Its mission is to promote research, teaching and application of the principles of sustainable development in the field of natural resource development. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Dundee Centre for Energy Petroleum and Minerals Law and Policy, and several other universities. Professor Danielson is developing a class for the University of Arizona School of Law on international standards in the minerals industries.


Mr. Danielson has played a leading role in the following recent SDSG projects:



The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining Minerals Metals and Sustainable Development, an association with over forty member governments, has developed a Model Framework for national minerals policies and laws, and offers the opportunity to member governments to have their legal and policy regimes assessed against this framework. Mr. Danielson is a member of the team currently conducting an assessment for Mongolia.


Mr. Danielson is leading a study of the steps that will need to be taken to ensure proper resettlement and reestablishment of the rights of villagers dispossessed by construction of a natural gas terminal and associated pipeline project in Rivers State of Nigeria.

U.S. – Coal Policy Review

Mr. Danielson led a research effort on the future of coal in the American West, for input into the current United States Department of Interior review of federal coal policy.


Professor Danielson presented a paper at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Special Institute on Human Rights and Extractive Industries in Panama City, “From Coercion to Consent, The Continuing Evolution of Stakeholder Processes in the Era of Human Rights


Professor Danielson chaired a joint panel of the Society for Applied Anthropology and International Network on Displacement and Resettlement on improved management of displacement of populations by mining projects.


Keynote speaker at national conference on issues of conflict between large scale development projects and local communities.

Central Asia – Variety of Policy Issues for Governments of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgystan

Mr. Danielson led three national workshops sponsored by GIZ, the German cooperation agency, on a variety of mineral policy issues of concern to these three governments.

World Bank – Curriculum for Negotiation of Improved Mine Development Agreements

SDSG was contracted by the World Bank to develop curriculum aimed to assist governments of developing countries in understanding principal issues involved in mine development agreements, and to negotiate improved mine development agreements. The curriculum has been prepared in English and French, and the one week program on which it is based has now been offered to some 22 governments, principally in Africa

Uganda and Dominican Republic --Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development

This government to government organization has developed a proposed framework for mining policy and legislation; it has assessed the legal and policy frameworks of three countries against that model, Madagascar, Dominican Republic and Uganda. Mr. Danielson participated as a principal in delivering the follow up workshops in Uganda and Dominican Republic.

Mongolia -- International Senior Lawyers Project

Mr. Danielson prepared and delivered a three day workshop on local rights and expectations in community development agreements for local government and other stakeholders in the South Gobi region of Mongolia.

Mozambique – Capacity Building for MIREM

SDSG has had a long term relationship with MIREM, the natural resource ministry of Mozambique to provide a broad range of services to build the capacity of government to manage its natural resource wealth for sustainable development. Mr. Danielson has been a key participant in several of the specific activities in this project, including review of the proposed Mozambican mining law, and the workshop on negotiating improved minerals agreements with foreign investors.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Mr. Danielson and SDSG assisted in facilitating a discussion between James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and his staff, and representatives of the global mining industry at the University of Arizona, focused on the problems of mineral development that affects traditional indigenous lands and resources.

Model Mine Development Agreement

Sustainable Development Strategies Group has worked to support the efforts of the Mining Law Committee of the International Bar Association to develop a Model Mining Development Agreement, which can serve as a basis for more transparent and equitable negotiation of agreements between mining companies and host countries. The intention of the Mining Law Committee is to support agreements which are commercially attractive while promoting sustainable development of host countries and communities. The MMDA website is

Kazakhstan – Transparency in Management of Resource Revenues

Mr. Danielson made a lead presentation on the links between the Model Mining Development Agreement, EITI and the movement for greater transparency in the management of resource revenues in a conference sponsored by Soros Foundation – Kazakhstan and Revenue Watch.

Guinea – Capacity Building for Communities Impacted by Mining

In collaboration with a Guinean NGO, CECIDE, and Global Rights, Mr. Danielson and SDSG conducted a three day capacity building workshop where community advocates and NGO leaders from seven West African countries shared experience and increased their understanding of international best practice in mineral development.

Ecuador – Ministry of Non Renewable Natural Resources

Ecuadorian mining legislation requires that the Ministry of Nonrenewable Natural Resources develop a model contract as the basis for mining agreements with foreign investors. SDSG has supported the Ministry’s work to develop the model contract by supplying perspectives from foreign law and experience.

Sierra Leone – Mining Contracts

SDSG has at the request of the World Bank Group prepared an analysis of certain mining agreements in Sierra Leone to compare these agreements both to current legislation and international best practice.

Chile – Future Issues in the Mining Sector

SDSG prepared an analysis of future issues affecting the mining sector in Chile for submission to GTZ, the German aid agency.


International Institute for Environment and Development London, England
2000- 2002
Director, Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development Project, April 2000 – September 2002.

Developed, organized and managed the largest research project every undertaken on the social, environmental, and economic influence of mining worldwide. MMSD was a two year global program of research and public consultation designed to examine the role of the world minerals industries in sustainable development in advance of the Johannesburg summit. Responsibilities included establishment of project office and recruitment and hiring of all London staff; development of regional centers in Australia, South America, Southern Africa, North America and national programs in a number of countries; establishment of 24 member global Project Assurance Group which supervises the activities of the work team; development of research program and research contracting system; establishing global communications program; management of budget now approaching $10 million; preparation and publication of final project report and many subsidiary publications See


International Development Research Centre
Montevideo, Uruguay
Director, Mining Policy Research Initiative, 1998-2000

Established and organized a program of interdisciplinary research, research funding, and public dialogue on environmental, social, and economic development impacts of mining investment in the 23 nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, centered in Montevideo at the IDRC regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean. The program emphasizes development of partnerships with research institutions within the region. Responsibilities included defining principal policy areas of concern, development of program objectives and policies, developing network of partnerships with various regional organizations, establishing and recruiting advisory council, fund raising, staff recruitment, and management of budget.


University of Chile, Faculty of Law
Santiago, Chile
Visiting Professor – 1996-1998

Mr. Danielson moved to Chile as a Fulbright Fellow to develop the program in environmental law at one of Chile’s leading law schools. Responsibilities included curriculum development, development of course materials, teaching courses at undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. levels, acting as thesis advisor to masters and doctoral candidates, research and publication. Organized the First International Congress of Environmental Law at the University of Chile in January 1998, and supervised the publication of proceedings as Derecho del Medio Ambiente, Congreso Internacional, (I.S.B.N. 956-238-175-7). Classes included survey of Chilean domestic, comparative, and international environmental law, The Law of Environmental Impact Assessment, and the doctoral level course on Environmental Law and the Mining Industry. Also conducted several independent consulting and study processes as described below.


Pendleton, Friedberg, Wilson, & Hennessey, P.C.
Denver, Colo.
Of Counsel – 1996-1998

While teaching at the University of Chile continued some practice of law as Of Counsel to this U.S. law firm.


Gersh & Danielson, Attorneys at Law
Boulder and Denver, Colo.
Partner – 1985-1996

Co-founder and one of two principal partners of this Colorado law firm. Practice concentrated in energy, environmental and natural resources law and litigation. Successfully handled litigation in areas as diverse as National Forest policy, protection of national parks, wetland management, radiation control, toxic torts, wildlife and land use law.


Danielson & Euser, Attorneys at Law
(Predecessor to Gersh & Danielson), Denver, Colo.
Colorado Partner – 1982-1985


National Wildlife Federation
University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder
Counsel/Assistant Professor – 1979-1981


Solar Energy Research Institute, Golden, Colo. 
Editor in Chief, Solar Law Reporter – 1978-1979


Holland & Hart, Attorneys at Law, Denver, Colo.
Colorado Associate – 1975-1978
Colorado Rural Legal Services/Colorado Migrant Council Investigator – 1972




University of Arizona School of Law


Mr. Danielson is developing an online class entitled The Emerging International Framework for Development of Natural Resources


Centre for Energy Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy – University of Dundee


Professor Danielson teaches an annual short course on natural resource development and the tensions it generates with local communities, Community Rights and Expectations in Natural Resource Development, next offered in April or May 2017.


Sustainable Development of Natural Resources – Course Series

SDSG has developed and taught a three course series at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law entitled Sustainable Development of Natural Resources. See


These three courses deal respectively with:

  1. Community Expectations in Sustainable Development
  2. National Legislation and Policies; and
  3. The Emerging International Framework.

Each of these three courses was taught each year over a seven years period. Mr. Danielson was co-professor in each of them, together with SDSG Co-Founder Cecilia Dalupan and various distinguished co-teachers.

Simon Fraser University, Executive MBA Program

Sustainable Development in the Mining Industry (2006 --- )


Western Colorado University

Masters of Environmental Management Program

Natural Resource Conflicts
Global Sustainable Development
(2014- present)

Mining Land Management


Globalization and Global Institutions

(Spring 2006)


University of Chile, Faculty of Law

Environmental Law
Environmental Impact Assessment and Other Instruments of Environmental Management Environmental Issues in the Mining Industry - 1996 to 1998

University of Colorado, School of Law

International Mineral Development - 1994
Public Land Law - 1984
Natural Resource Litigation & Energy Law - 1979 to 1982

University of Denver, University College

Natural Resources Management - 1994 & 1995

University of Denver, College of Law

Pretrial procedure - 1987
Energy Law - 1985
Civil Procedure - 1978


University of California School of Law (Boalt Hall), J.D. 1975 Managing Editor, Ecology Law Quarterly


Antioch College (Economics), B.A. 1971

Member, College Budget Council


Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico, Certificate 1965 Toluca, Mexico


Boulder High School, 1966

Boulder, Colo.




Global Public Policy Institute

Berlin, 2006
Paper and workshop on public dialogue in the mining sector’; history of the MMSD project,


National Agency for Mineral Resources

Romania, 2006
Monitoring and management of abandoned mine sites for the government of Romania


Ministry of Energy and Mining

Lima Peru, 2005
Consulted with Ministry on development of rules and administrative framework for mine closure planning and abandoned mines programs


First Red Lady Forum: Mining and Water: Past, Present and Future Crested Butte, Colo. 2005

Organizer and moderator of mining policy forum


APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation)

Antofagasta, Chile, 2005
Keynote speaker at first meeting of APEC Mines Ministers


MEMS (Mineral Economics and Management Society)

Washington, D.C., 2004
Keynote speaker at MEMS annual meeting






Moscow, 2004
In the wake of formation of the TNK BP relationship, retained by BP senior management for presentation to senior management of TNK on issues of sustainable development and functioning and application of the Equator Principles


Duke Energy

Charlotte, NC 2003
Corporate briefings on sustainable development issues


World Bank Group

Jakarta, Indonesia 2002-3
Consultant to Dr. Emil Salim, in charge of World Bank Extractive Industries Review


CITMA, Ministry of Science Technology and Environment Havana, Cuba 1998-99

Led workshops that developed Cuban environmental legislation including coastal zone management law and environmental impact assessment regulations.


Instituto Bartolomé de las Casas

Cusco, Peru – 1999
Course on Natural Resource Development


Ministry of Mining of the Republic of Chile

Santiago, Chile – 1996-1998

–  Advising Ministry on development of national system of mine closure and reclamation legislation
– Among principal authors of comparative study undertaken for the Ministry of mine closure and reclamation legislation in approximately ten jurisdictions in Latin America and other countries
– Consulting on legal and environmental policy aspects of water scarcity in desert regions of northern Chile



CONAMA, Chilean national environment agency Santiago, Chile – 1996-1998

– Advised agency on development of regulations for implementation of system of environmental impact assessment.


Interamerican Development Bank

Sao Paulo, Brazil; Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia Gasbol Project -- 1997

One of three Independent Monitors appointed by the Interamerican Development Bank to oversee environmental impact studies and environmental management system for Gasbol, the Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline project, which was the longest pipeline in South America. The pipeline crossed six national parks, the territories of some sixty communities, many of them indigenous, and South America’s largest wetland.


Member of Independent Audit Team, World Bank Pangue Project -- 1996-1997

Served as one of three members of external review team established by President Wolfensohn of the World Bank to perform the first independent audit ever undertaken of the environmental and social performance of the International Finance Corporation, the private lending arm of the World Bank. The case audited was the Pangue hydroelectric project in Chile. The results of this effort led to creation of the first binding version of the IFC Performance Standards and the creation of the Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman, IFC’s independent accountability mechanism.


Bureau of Legislative Affairs, State Council, Peoples’ Republic of China Beijing -- 1994-1996

Worked in both China and the United States with team of Chinese government experts to develop comprehensive legislation for control of environmental problems in coal mining regions


Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Denver – 1992 - 1993

For Colorado Department of Natural Resources, conducted independent investigation of causes of failure of environmental control at the Summitville Mine. See Danielson and McNamara, The Summitville Mine: What Went Wrong? (Colorado Department of Natural Resources 1993). Also Danielson et al., The Summitville Story: A Superfund Site is Born, 24 ELR 10388 (July 1994). This work led to a stakeholder dialogue which developed remedial legislation supported by all of the principal minerals industry organizations and all of the principal mining-related environmental organizations in Colorado.




2105 Inductee to the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame for Environmental Management and Stweardship


Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation,
Trustee, 2013-2015


Mining and Metallurgical Society of America
Member, 2009 –


Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, University of Arizona Member, Board of Directors, 2009- 2014


Industry Advisory Committee

Department of Mining Engineering
Colorado School of Mines
2011- 2013


Caterpillar, Inc.

Member Sustainability Advisory Committee
2007- 2016


Independent Stakeholder Advisory Committee
2009 - 2014


International Mining Professionals Society

Chair, Codes Committee, 1996-1999

American Bar Association, Section of Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Law,
International Resources Committee
Vice Chair – 1994-1997


Colorado Mine Water Quality Task Force
Co-Chair, 1995-1996


Rocky Mountain Low-Level Radioactive Waste Board
Multistate compact for radioactive waste disposal Prosecutor – 1993-1996


Mined Land Reclamation Board, Department of Natural Resources, State of Colorado,
government agency in charge of mine reclamation and environmental protection of mined lands.
Member – 1987-1996
Chair – 1989, 1991 & 1994


American Solar Energy Society; scientific, professional and trade association Counsel – 1983-1996


National Wildlife Federation Action, Inc.; Non-profit conservation political education foundation. Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors –1992-1996


Colorado Bar Association

Member, Board of Governors – 1992-1994


University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Foundation; Non-profit foundation engaged in commercialisation of technical and scientific concepts developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Counsel – 1987-1989


EcoCycle, Inc.;

Non-profit community recycling program.
Member, Board of Directors – 1983-1986
Chair, Board of Directors – 1985-1986
1986 Recycling Volunteer of the Year


Colorado Conservation Foundation
Director – 1985-1994


Wyoming Wildlife Federation
Life member




Member Colorado Bar
Member of the Bars of the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit



Fluent written and spoken English and Spanish
Reading knowledge and limited spoken Portuguese



Publications list available on request.




President, Sustainable Development Strategies Group
116 N. Taylor St.
Gunnison, Colo., USA
Phone: 970. 641.3393
Fax: 970.641.4439