A former senior member of Canada’s spy agency says the killing of Canadian citizen Kirk Woodman is a “shot fired” across the bow of other mining companies operating in West Africa – a region that could see exploration grind to a halt in the wake of his death.
Mr. Woodman was abducted on Jan. 15 by a dozen gunmen on a mining site owned by Vancouver-based Progress Minerals near the border with Niger, an area that the government says is under growing threat from armed jihadis.
A spokesman for Burkina Faso’s security ministry confirmed on Thursday that Mr. Woodman had been found dead. Andrew Ellis, former assistant director of operations for CSIS, said Mr. Woodman’s death is a wake-up call “for all the other mineral extraction companies in Canada working in the region.”
Mr. Ellis, president of Ellis Global Risk Assessment, said Mr. Woodman’s death was avoidable, saying companies have a duty of care to keep their employees safe. According to his LinkedIn page, Mr. Woodman was vice-president of exploration for the company.
Progress Minerals issued a statement on Thursday afternoon and said the company is “heartbroken” by the tragic loss of Mr. Woodman, who was kidnapped from its exploration camp in Tiabongou.
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