What do the mining watchdogs see? – by Guy Dixon (Globe and Mail – February 23, 2018)


First, some perspective. There are thousands of Canadian mining companies and thousands of Canadian-affiliated exploration projects in different stages of development around the globe. In Canada alone, there are roughly 150 to 200 mines in operation.

Then there is MiningWatch Canada, which provided the numbers above. It is a watchdog organization in Canada devoted to covering these thousands of Canadian mining interests domestically and worldwide. It has a staff of five.

So, for investors trying to weigh the ethical, environmental and social risks and potential controversies surrounding certain mines, “it’s a real challenge. Even for groups like ours, even for the government for that matter, to really keep track of that many players, it’s a constant challenge,” said Ugo Lapointe, Canadian program co-ordinator at MiningWatch Canada in Ottawa.

This limited oversight means that the biggest mining controversies get the most attention, as one would expect. What pushes controversies into becoming major ones – and a major disincentive for ethically minded investors – is when a situation grabs headlines as a human-rights violation. This includes the human right to a clean and healthy environment.

“When I do work across Canada, I will respond to calls coming from municipalities, from First Nations that are affected by some of these controversial projects. These are the projects that we are working on [as the industry watchdog],” Mr. Lapointe noted.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/what-do-the-mining-watchdogs-see/article38126732/