Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Toronto is the political and corporate wing of global extractive violence

Canada Toronto finance business transnational corporations accountability corruption politics violence

It is well known within the mining sector that if you want to start a mining company, you do so in Canada, thanks to nearly endless layers of governmental support including exploration subsidies, extensive tax breaks, a free-entry tenure system, and international diplomatic assistance. That’s why the city of Toronto is, in many regards, the engine of the global mining sector.

The Toronto Stock Exchange and Venture Exchange host 50 per cent of the world’s mining companies and raised $6.5 billion dollars of capital for the industry in 2018 alone. Bay Street is aflush with legal teams, financiers, and traders working tirelessly to facilitate the next big mining project. Of Canada’s more than 1,300 publicly listed mining companies, 699 held foreign mining assets worth $168.7 billion. Many of these companies are headquartered in Toronto’s financial district.

The city, as a space of finance, capitalization and networking, is vitally important to the function and expansion of the global mining sector. To help maintain its status as a mining juggernaut and to facilitate further project development, Toronto hosts the annual convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC).

Each March, the halls of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre are transformed into a hotbed of extractive business activity. In 2019, the 87th meeting of PDAC hosted over 1,000 trade-show exhibitors and more than 500 investor booths, where junior mining companies put their latest mining frontier narratives on display, hoping to catch the eye of willing investors. With over 25,000 attendees, nearly 30 per cent of whom arrived from outside of Canada, the convention itself has become an indicator of the global mining sector’s health.

But the spectacle that is PDAC conceals the intense destruction wrought by the mining sector. At the convention, there is little talk of the consequences of the extraction and processing of metals and minerals, which accounts for 26 per cent of global carbon emissions and more than 60 percent of the 100 billion tonnes of materials consumed annually by humans.

For their part, Canadian mining companies are implicated in extreme cases of violence around the world. In Latin America alone, conflicts with Canadian companies resulted in more than 400 injuries and 44 deaths reported between 2000 and 2015. Five UN bodies and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have called on Canada to keep its corporate actors accountable.  (more...)

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