GLOBAL MINING SUPERPOWER
With 1,300 projects across the globe, Canadian mining firms dominate mineral extraction in dozens of countries. With 0.5% of the world’s population, between half and three quarters of the world’s mining companies are based in Canada or listed on Canadian stock exchanges. and as much as 80 percent of global mining equity financing takes place in Canada.
The industry has grown rapidly over the past two decade. Most of this growth was in Latin America, Asia and Africa where corporations operate under limited oversight. As a result there have been an astounding number of conflicts at Canadian-run mines.
Canadian mining corporations operate thousands of projects outside this country and many of these mines have displaced communities, destroyed ecosystems and provoked violence. Pick almost any country in the Global South — from Papua New Guinea to Ghana, Ecuador and the Philippines — and you will find a Canadian-run mine that has caused environmental devastation or been the scene of violent confrontations. There have been so many conflicts that even the industry associations effectively admit the problem. A leaked report commissioned by the Toronto-based Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada found that Canadian companies were responsible for a third of 171 high-profile Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) violations surveyed by mining companies between 1999 and 2009. The report concluded: “Canadian companies have been the most significant group involved in unfortunate incidents in the developing world. Canadian companies have played a much more major role than their peers from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Canadian companies are more likely to be engaged in community conflict, environmental and unethical behaviour.”