Over the past 15 years, Canadian mining companies have sometimes been accused of a litany of crimes, ranging from corruption charges to gruesome rapes and murders.
One of the first cases of a Canadian mining company committing crimes was in 2004. Anvil Mining's operations at Dikulishi mine in the Congo led to a local rebellion. UN observers would later say more than 100 people were killed by soldiers sent to shut down the rebellion. Soldiers reportedly pillaged the area, and tortured and raped locals. Anvil Mining's Congo operations were later accused of having helped the troops during the crackdown.
South America has its own horror stories as well. Vancouver-based Skye Resources and Toronto-based HudBay Minerals allegedly presided over mining efforts in Guatemala connected to the rape of multiple women by police, military, and hired security. HudBay has also been connected to the murder of community leader Adolpho Ich and the shooting of another man. Criminal charges have been filed in Guatemala, and lawsuits relating to the incident have been filed in Canada.
Canadian mining companies are still shrouded with controversy, globally. A 2014 report showing the most controversial mining projects on Earth reveal that three of ten projects listed are run by Canadian companies, more than any other country on the list. (18) Two of the mines listed, the Mount Polley mine and the Obed Mountain mine, are in Canada.
Few news outlets have covered these incidents, and almost no mainstream outlets have covered the subject. Considering these stories affect Canada on several different levels, that is disturbing. These stories will hurt Canada's reputation around the world, may damage the Canadian economy, and – in the case of Mount Polley and Obed Mountain – may have long-lasting effects on Canadians at home.
Barrington-Bush, Liam and Wilton, Jen. "The Tyee – TIMELINE: Canada's Mining Controveries." The Tyee. Accessed February 26, 2015. http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/09/30/Mining-Controversies/.
"Choc v. HudBay Minerals Inc. & Caal v. HudBay Minerals Inc." Choc versus HudBay. Accessed February 22, 2015. http://www.chocversushudbay.com/.
Gray, Jeff. "Not responsible for killing at Guatemalan mine, HudBay says." Globe and Mail. Accessed February 22, 2015. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/not-responsible-for-killing-at-guatemalan-mine-hudbay-says/article9318696.
McGee, Theresa. "Canadian Mining on Trial." Briarpatch. Accessed February 22, 2015. http://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/canadian-mining-on-trial.
Maldonado, Melinda. "Mining for the Truth in Guatemala." Maclean’s. Accessed February 22, 2015. http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/mining-for-the-truth-in-guatemala/.
Mining Watch Canada, “Anvil Mining and the Kilwa Massacre, D.R. Congo: Canadian Company Implicated?” Mines and Communities. Accessed February 23, 2015. http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=4241.
RepRisk AG, "RepRisk Releases Report on Most Controversial Mining Projects." RepRisk. Accessed February 22, 2015. http://www.reprisk.com/reprisk-releases-report-on-most-controversial-mining-projects/.
Student researcher: Eric Westerhaver (University of Regina)
Faculty advisor: Patricia Elliott (University of Regina)