Did you know that Canada is the home of 75 percent of the planet’s mining companies? That’s right! At least, according to the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada.
After all, it’s Canada that is keeping the mining industry “glued” together, hosting almost 1,300 mining companies that are investing hundreds of billions of dollars in more than 100 countries around the planet.
But what makes Canada so attractive in this industry? “There is a concentration of expertise in mining finance and mining law, it does have a historical basis” that includes gold rushes and other events, but also “very favourable conditions”, according to Jamie Kneen, research coordinator at the MiningWatch Canada, who talked to the website Vice.
“The listing requirements for the TSX are pretty lax, the disclosure requirements are pretty lax, you don’t have to have Canadian directories or Canadian shareholders to be a Canadian company… And the Canadian government doesn’t ask too many questions about whether you’re paying your taxes in other jurisdictions (i.e. foreign countries where the mines are operating)”, explains the researcher at the nonprofit organization.
And then there’s the fact that “there are really only two Canadian laws that apply internationally to mining practices, and one is against having sex with children”, so there’s no Canadian oversight overseas. The other law is against bribery and corruption, so there’s no way to control other fields of the mining industry outside Canada. However, not even this type of law has prevented some big busts related to bribery or mining abuses. Check some below:
1. Griffiths Energy
The company Griffiths Energy got booked offering a $2 million bribe to the government of Chad, in January of 2013, on a resource deal.
2. Barrick Gold Corporation
Barrick Gold Corporation is a name related to a lot of cases. Based in Toronto, the company has a gold mine in Papua New Guinea, which has been the site of horrible happenings like fatal shootings, rapes and beatings of indigenous women by the mine’s security forces. The firm knows about the problems and has tried to offer compensations to the victims, on the agreement they sign away their rights to ever legally sue.
3. Anvil Mining
Based in Quebec, Anvil Mining Ltd. operates in Congo, where it has allegedly provided logistical support and transportation to the Congolese military as the troops went to the port city of Kilwa and massacred hundreds of people. This happened in 2005.
And these are just some cases, the tip of the iceberg. According to Jamie Kneen, organisations like MiningWatch Canada expect Canadian companies “to respect the law of whatever country they’re operating in and the fact is they may or may not. And that’s subject to whatever the law is in that country and their ability to enforce it”. While we want to believe that most companies operate ethically, some of them clearly don’t. We can only hope this changes someday.