You know, it’s no surprise that Harper’s secretive extractive industries institute was founded on the UBC and SFU campuses: close to hundreds of transnational miners in Vancouver’s downtown core, it’s ideally positioned to draw from their expertise and to serve their needs.
Headquartered in downtown Vancouver, Goldcorp Inc. (3400-666 Burrard Street) has been accused of scores of abuses where it operates outside the Canadian jurisdiction. A major supporter of CIRDI and a repeat donor to UBC and SFU, Goldcorp intends to use CIRDI as a platform to export Canadian legislation favorable to their interests.
Tahoe Resources Inc. (1500-1055 West Georgia Street), under investigation for its responsibility in directing armed aggression against locals protesting in San Rafael las Flores, Guatemala, also claims Vancouver as its corporate headquarters. Through John Bell, a CIRDI ‘strategic partner,’ and director at both Goldcorp and Tahoe Resources, CIRDI has further links to the two abusive companies.
Take a look at our new map of the mining headquarters in BC, with further resources for your own analyses and mapping, and links to other maps that spotlight conflicts generated by the mines.
In Vancouver, we’re surrounded by companies with sordid records abroad.
In his book Imperial Canada Inc., author Alain Deneault explains why 3/4 of the world’s mining companies are headquartered in Canada. Lax regulatory oversight, tax laws ridiculously favorable to mining companies, regressive libel laws, international trade agreements that restrict governments from enacting progressive environmental and social protections, and no mechanism to hold companies legally accountable for crimes committed abroad — have attracted companies to register their headquarters in Canada, if only to identify as Canadian companies as they explore and mine abroad.
We looked into the companies headquartered in the Vancouver area, to build some maps that will help us understand the link between CIRDI and its transnational mining partners.
Explore the interactive map below; click on the markers to show each company’s office address and its Q2 2015 market value.
To build this map, we accessed data from the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) on mining-sector companies traded on the TSX and its Venture Exchange (TSXV). We filtered for companies with headquarters in BC, and then searched the companies’ web pages, SEDAR.com company profiles, and Bloomberg Business company profiles for the corporate address of each company.
So far, we’ve tabulated and mapped the corporate addresses of 773 of the TSX and TSXV-traded mining companies headquartered in BC, but there are many more. The quoted market value of these companies varies between less than $100K to over $16B. According to the data we accessed at the end of Q2 2015, the combined market value of these 773 BC-registered mining companies is $86B. We’ll continue updating our records and this map, to build a comprehensive picture of mining company headquarters across Canada.
Through the self-regulated TSX and TSXV, our Canadian Pension Plan, investment plans, and savings accounts are invested in hundreds of mining companies, many of which ensure their profits by consistently transferring costs from their balance books to their employees, to the local people, and into the air, land, and water.
Executives at these companies are defiantly ignoring people and their local governments who say “No, we don’t want your mining projects in our community, or watershed, or country. We have our own ways of living, our own visions of development. Please leave us alone.”
In 2012, Tahoe Resources’ Guatemalan subsidiary requested a court injunction to block a referendum in the town of Mataquescuintla. The court rejected the request, and the community voted a resounding 98.3% against metal mining in their territory. It was recognized as binding by the state, and votes in other municipalities in the area are recording similar opposition. Neither Tahoe Resources nor Gunpoint Exploration (201-1512 Yew Street) recognize this as no local consent for their projects, and continue to publish their plans to expand.
In many cases, where the people say NO, those leading the resistance are intimidated, raped, and murdered by the companies’ private security and their agents. For exactly these crimes, Canada-based mining companies are now facing high profile civil suits in Canadian courts.
In Vancouver, we live surrounded by many of the worst offenders. The downtown business district hosts hundreds of these companies and the shadow of their misbehavior extends far beyond the city.
In light of the current cases against Tahoe Resources and Nevsun Resources (760-669 Howe Street), we have to ask: how closely do Vancouver-based executives direct the actions of their subsidiaries in hidden valleys beyond our sight? And what’s our responsibility to hold them accountable? Do these companies’ executives interpret our silence as approval of their unethical behavior? And do SFU and UBC partnerships with these companies through CIRDI give tacit approval for their crimes?
Out of sight, out of mind: maybe we forget to hold our universities and these companies accountable. And maybe they need a reminder that their deplorable behavior won’t be tolerated. The Mining Justice Alliance has organized Toxic Tours of Vancouver’s downtown core, pointing out the headquarters of the biggest abusers. So they’re reminded they’re on the radar, perhaps they could use a visit.