Canada is a global mining powerhouse. It is both a home and host country for the mining industry, and it is a hub for mining finance. As such, Canada can lead in the implementation of processes that are transparent, and that allow for full accountability.
This research by Transparency International Canada assesses how mine closure plans are approved in the Province of Ontario. Looking at the corruption risks in this process, it found two critical issues: the risk that negotiations with Indigenous Peoples could be manipulated, and a risk stemming from the fact that certain steps in the process are hidden from the public.
The risk of manipulation of negotiations with Indigenous Peoples is not specific or unique to the mine closure plans process. It is a much larger component of the relationship between Indigenous Peoples, provincial and federal governments, and the mining industry. Intermingled with other licenses and contracts, such as the Environmental Impact Assessments and Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs), the duty to consult is at the heart of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, government relations with Indigenous Peoples, and the survival of the mining industry. The correlated risks with unregulated negotiations with Indigenous Peoples are that the risk of corrupt behaviour can flow in many directions, and within each of the institutions of the principal actors. Recommendations in this report highlight the need to approach this risk in a holistic manner.
The lack of transparency of certain parts of the mine closure plans may be mitigated through various actions, such as amending mining regulations and other existing statutes to require transparency.
Mine closure plans approval processes are only one step within a myriad of complex processes throughout the mine development cycle. From the research undertaken it is clear that there is space for improvement.