Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 7, 2005
KAIROS wants stronger checks on Canadian mining companies operating abroad
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
"Voluntary codes of conduct don't work."
- Ian Thomson
The federal government agreed to help Canadian mining companies have "the necessary knowledge, support and incentives to achieve positive financial, social and environmental results." But it declined taking a tougher stand because DFAIT said no international consensus has developed on how to define or measure corporate social responsibility.
"The Canadian government has missed an opportunity to establish itself as a global leader," said Karyn Keenan, mining campaigner at Friends of the Earth Canada. "It took the easy way out, with more talk and no action."
According to DFAIT statistics, almost 60 per cent of the world's mining and exploration companies are listed in Canada, accounting for over 40 per cent of the overall investment in mining-related activities worldwide. That translates into 3,200 "mineral properties" in more than 100 countries and accounts for $50 billion in investments.
KAIROS and the other groups say that allegations against some of these companies include "forced re-settlement, contamination of lands and waters, support for repressive regimes, violations of workers' and indigenous rights, assaults and even killings by security forces."
KAIROS and the other groups pointed out the government does acknowledge that mining can have a devastating impact, but it is not holding mining companies to account by making government support conditional on compliance to human rights and environmental standards.
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