In May 1998, a company truck spilt a load of sodium cyanide, a chemical used to extract gold, into the Barskoun River, raising the cyanide concentration in the water to 50,000 times the permissible level. In the days following the spill, hundreds, possibly thousands of local residents sought medical attention and several deaths were reported. Thousands were evacuated from the spill area. A study published by Natural Resources Canada  concluded that few, if any, significant environmental impacts were generated by the spill - conclusions that were questioned by an independent hydrogeologist.
For thirty years Inco enjoyed a cozy relationship with the repressive and corrupt Suharto regime.
Members of the Karonsi’e Dongi and Sorowako indigenous communities lost their most productive agricultural land when the PT Inco mine was built, and they received paltry compensation in return. Mining activity has degraded land and water resources, and initial monitoring suggests that smelter emissions affect air quality in neighbouring communities. Despite apparent efforts by Inco to resolve community claims in recent years, protesting residents report being threatened and intimidated by the Indonesian military and police.
CPP: $256 million
Thousands of tribal and low-caste people living in Kashipur, India prefer to die rather than abandon their lands to make way for Alcan’s proposed mine and refinery. Local residents have organized massive mobilizations against the project. Opponents describe a climate of fear and hostility, and claim that they routinely meet with police repression. In 2000, three protesters were killed and several others injured. Alcan suspended operations after the incident until it was satisfied that local authorities would responsibly enforce the law and keep order. The villagers have found an important ally in Canada. Alcan workers in British Columbia, represented by the Canadian Auto Workers union, have vowed that they will not smelt any alumina originating from Kashipur.
Glamis Gold Ltd.
IFC: US$45 million loan
CPP: $63 million
Marlin, which became operational in 2005, is the first major mining investment in Guatemala in 20 years and is an important test case. In January 2005, the break-up of a 40-day protest by the army resulted in one death. Later that year, indigenous Sipacapan communities affected by the mine overwhelmingly rejected mineral development in a popular referendum. In response to a community complaint, the World Bank’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) investigated the project. While the CAO found that some community concerns, particularly those involving impacts to local water supplies, were unwarranted, the CAO identified some serious shortcomings with project assessment and management. For example, the CAO described the lack of a clear policy on human rights as a “significant oversight” on the part of both Glamis and the IFC.
Conquistador Mines Ltd.
The town of Simiti, in northern Colombia, is the site of a gold mine whose ownership is a matter of dispute. The mine is claimed by both the Higuera-Palacios family and the 35,000 poor miners who have worked the deposit for 30 years. In 1997, at roughly the same time that Conquistador, through its subsidiary Corona Goldfields, expressed interest in the Simiti mine, paramilitaries began to appear in the area. They killed at least 19 people in towns around Simiti, beheaded one miner, and tortured and killed the Vice-President of a local miners association. Fearing for their lives, thousands of people fled the area. According to Francisco Ramirez, President of the Colombian Mine Workers Union, the death squads’ purpose was to displace small-scale miners in order to make way for foreign capital. Conquistador has since abandoned the project.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Brutal conflict, fuelled by the country’s extraordinary mineral wealth, officially ended in 2003 with the establishment of a transitional government. While a fragile peace has held since then, tensions remain high and the government lacks control over large tracts of the country. The Dikulushi mine began production in 2002. Two years later, Anvil provided logistical support to the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) to suppress a rebel uprising. The company supplied the FARDC with planes, vehicles, personnel and food. According to a UN mission, the FARDC utilized these resources to carry out a number of human rights abuses, including alleged summary executions.
The Aucaner (or N’djuka) Maroon community of Nieuw Koffiekamp is located in the heart of the Gross Rosebel mining concession. Relocated in the 1960s to make way for a hydroelectric dam, Nieuw Koffiekamp now faces a second relocation which, according to a human rights expert, “would be tantamount to [its] cultural and social death.” Maroon authorities were not consulted about the project, and groups within the community vociferously oppose relocation. Suriname lacks legislation that requires mine proponents to undertake environmental impact assessments and is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that does not recognize the rights of indigenous or tribal populations. Critics argue that the country’s draft Mining Act discriminates against these populations and a UN human rights body has called on the Government of Suriname to rectify this problem.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT) tabled, in June 2005, a landmark report on Mining in Developing Countries and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The report recommended that the Canadian government move away from its current voluntary approach to CSR. It called for policies that condition public assistance for Canadian companies on compliance with international human rights and environmental standards, including core labour rights. The report also identified the need for legislation to hold companies accountable for their actions overseas.
The Government failed to adopt the majority of SCFAIT’s recommendations, but it did commit to hosting a series of national roundtables. These Roundtables were to identify ways for Canadian extractive companies to meet or exceed international CSR standards and best practices.
PDF of Full Report available here
Nous regrettons qu'en 2006, l'initiative d'Halifax n'a pas produit de version Francaise.
Report Card on the Canadian Department of Finance “2005 Report on Operations Under Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act”
Every year at the end of March, the Department of Finance tables its report on the operations of the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI)  before Parliament and details activities at these institutions in relation to Canadian priorities, commitments and interests. The reports provide some good background information on the institutions themselves, on emerging issues and challenges within the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and some brief details on Canadian priorities and financial participation at these institutions.
PDF versions are available in the below links.
Issue brief on IFC and MIGA: "Private Sector and Lending and the World Bank Group."
Issue brief on IFC Performance Standards: "The International Finance Corporation's Performance Standards - the new 'gold standard' or 'fool's gold'?"
Policy brief on EDC: "Export Development Canada and Human Rights - Risk or Rights?"