Beware the ‘Zombie’ Mining Companies – by Christopher Pollon (The Tyee – October 10, 2023)

Vancouver is home to many sketchy outfits hiding among legit global operators. It’s one more mining mess to clean up. Excerpted from ‘Pitfall.’

In a relatively short time, Canada has morphed from backwater resource colony to global mining colonizer. We are the inventors of the modern junior mining company — a small, nimble corporate vehicle designed to raise high-risk capital. At its best, Canadians scour every corner of the earth, drilling exploratory holes in the ground on a quest for minerals the world needs; at its worst, zombie companies loot investors and feed popular cynicism about the mining business.

There is something incongruous, at first glance, about the emergence of Canada — a nation of about 40 million known more for being over-apologetic than for a cutthroat approach to resource capitalism — as a global mining power.

For more than 60 years, Canadian-flagged mining companies have found success hiding behind the image of the peacekeeper and honest broker to become the vanguard of a global mining exploration industry. Today Canadian companies dominate mining in Latin America, while controlling immense mineral resources across Africa, North America and Asia, with mining assets in about 100 countries globally.

Canada is also one of three global centres for raising mining capital, in addition to Australia and England. And Canadians have claimed a near monopoly over precious metals in Latin America that continues to this day. By 2007, Canadian mining corporations were leading over 1,500 projects across Latin America, almost all of them for gold and silver.

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