Never mind geologists; how sharp are your lawyers? – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – May 3, 2016)

Having a good geologist is key to the success of any mining or exploration company. But in a world of constantly evolving laws governing mineral extraction, indigenous rights and environment, having a good lawyer might be just as important.

If McCarthy Tétrault’s latest report on Mining in the Courts is any indication, Canadian mining and exploration companies might need a whole team of lawyers just to stay on top of some of the legal precedents set in 2015 and new regulations that are coming into play.

From Canada’s commitment to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to hefty new fines in place in B.C. to back up rules governing management of tailings ponds, B.C.’s mining and exploration sectors have a lot to digest if they don’t want to run afoul of the law at home or abroad.

One new law that public companies with at least $40 million in revenue will need to study closely is the new Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, which came into effect in June 2015.

The legislation, a supplement to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, requires that payments of $100,000 or more to foreign officials or entities be reported in annual financial statements. The payments, including those to First Nations, can include taxes, royalties and infrastructure improvement investments. Fines for running afoul of the new act can be as high as $250,000 per day.

Companies with a December fiscal year-end will need to make their first reports under the act at the end of May 2017.

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