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Corruption in Canada’s mining industry is worse than in some African and Latin American countries, says a new survey from the Fraser Institute.
Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories all ranked in the survey as more corrupt than Chile and Botswana. The remaining provinces and territories ranked better than any developing country, but were still seen as more corrupt than many U.S. and Australian jurisdictions.
The study notes that Chile and Botswana have the fastest-growing resource sectors on their respective continents, suggesting a link between economic growth and lack of corruption.
The Northwest Territories ranked as the most corrupt in Canada, with fully 16 per cent of respondents saying corruption would keep them from investing in the area.
Sweden, Norway and Finland, as well as the U.S. states of Minnesota and Missouri, were ranked as the least corrupt in the survey that looked at 93 countries and sub-national areas and surveyed 802 mining companies worldwide.
Most of the developing world, and some developed countries such as Poland and Spain, ranked worse than any Canadian province.
It’s a surprising result that suggests some Canadian jurisdictions may have a way to go in ensuring confidence in their mining sectors, and it indicates that controversies surrounding Canadian mining companies may go beyond concerns about their operations abroad.
“It’s clearly a concern, though a concern amongst a minority of miners,” survey co-ordinator Fred McMahon told the Globe and Mail. “I doubt there’s big money passing hands, but it might be a favour here or a favour there. … It’s something that plagues mining companies around the world.”
The report does not cite examples of corruption in Canadian mining. But concerns have traditionally centred around Canadian companies’ activities abroad. Mining firms have often been criticized for their links to resource-fuelled wars in Africa.
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