1. At least 75% of the world’s mining companies are traded on Canadian stock exchanges and have their headquarters in Canada. This means that 75% of companies worldwide fly the Canadian flag, so to speak, while they operate globally.
2. The mining and energy industries are the most powerful and influential lobbying powers in Ottawa.
3. Canadian taxpayers’ dollars are heavily invested in the mining sector on several levels: The Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) invests millions of dollars into the mining industry, even companies that are known to have practices that would be considered illegal if they were operating in Canada.
4. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) negotiates Free Trade Agreements or Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements in mineral rich countries such as Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mongolia, Madagascar, Tanzania and Indonesia – all these countries have deals in various stages of negotiation.
5. Export Development Canada (EDC) gives just under a third of its financing to extractive resource companies.
6. The Canadian government finances feasibility studies, geological mineral mapping of the provinces and the north, impact assessments, gives tax breaks, and cleans up abandoned mine sites for the industry on a very frequent basis. Canadian taxpayers make this multi billion dollar profit industry possible, receiving very little corporate tax input in return.
7. Human rights abuses are common at controversial mining and exploration sites. Companies hire private security forces, governments deploy the military to mining zones, and in many cases communities themselves become divided over the issue. Often community leaders in resistance to mining projects are issued death threats, are kidnapped, tortured, and even assassinated. In many cases there are proven links between employees of the mining company and the crimes committed. The current Canadian legal system has no laws to hold corporations accountable for their actions abroad, even when they violate human rights.
8. 80% of land that is mined for gold is on the land of Indigenous peoples and rural communities. Often these communities are forcefully evicted from their lands even when the communities unanimously reject mining projects. This is made possible by mining codes that put the company’s potential profits before the rights of communities and make it difficult for State Governments to regulate foreign companies – often made possible by the influence of Canadian “experts” provided by the Canadians International Development Agency (CIDA) – such is the case in Colombia, Peru, Honduras, and of course, in Canada.
9. Nearly 70% of all gold that is mined is used to make jewellery – a luxury commodity. The price of gold is valued at about $1600 an ounce. One ounce of gold produces 7 tonnes of toxic chemical waste that is left sitting around in tailings ponds long after mines are closed down.
10. In some cases communities have consented to profit sharing agreements with the company, but they will never reap the full rewards of the profits gained by mining. Mining itself is an unsustainable practice that has a expiration date for the amount of product that can be extracted. What is left behind for generations is the toxic waste, making usual activity in the area difficult to restart, or in many cases impossible.
Canadians For Mining Awareness Peterborough focuses on researching these issues, building solidarity with affected communities, networking with ally groups across Canada, promoting public education and awareness, and participating in direct actions against injustices. To learn more or become involved please contact us at: [email protected] You can also join us on facebook and follow our blog